Updated March 2, 2020
Wondering if Elite Blog Academy is right for you? I bought EBA version 1.0 in 2014 and have followed its evolution through the latest version (4.0). My goal is to provide an unhyped opinion and realistic picture of what to expect so you can make an informed decision.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links through which I’m paid. No additional cost to you. More here.
Table of contents
- My personal experience with Elite Blog Academy
- What is Elite Blog Academy (EBA)?
- When is EBA open?
- Does EBA work?
- How much does Elite Blog Academy cost?
- Are there additional costs associated with EBA?
- How long will it take to recoup the cost?
- Is EBA worth it?
- Who’s the right person for EBA?
- Can you recommend cheaper alternatives?
- What does EBA include?
- What does EBA not include?
- What is the EBA success rate?
- How much direct access to Ruth will I get?
- Pros of EBA
- Cons of EBA
- Consider your style & season
- How to get a taste of EBA and Ruth’s style
My personal experience with Elite Blog Academy
I read & watched most of the content in versions 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 although I did not personally complete all the assignments. This is mainly due to differences in my approach and my already-set business rhythm.
I have not gone through all of version 4.0. The module and unit topics in 4.0 are the same as 3.0 but new information has been added, particularly to the latter units. EBA has changed considerably since version 1.0.
I bought this course primarily to vet for my readers and provide my honest take.
What is Elite Blog Academy (EBA)?
Elite Blog Academy is a training program by blogger, podcaster and author Ruth Soukup. It outlines a framework for bloggers who want to turn their blog into a sustainable business.
When is EBA open?
Does EBA work?
Keep in mind, results vary widely. The content is solid, but success in the course does not depend on content alone. EBA is not a magic bullet and does not work for everyone.
How much does Elite Blog Academy cost?
$1097 to $4997. There are 3 tiers: Silver, Gold and Platinum. Each tier has a payment plan. If you choose a payment plan, you will have limited access to the course until your final payment is received.
Are there additional costs associated with EBA?
Yes. Many paid-for tools and services are suggested throughout EBA. Some of them are integral to the course, like an email service provider (ESP) to grow your mailing list. Others are optional, but are used by Ruth and recommended by her. It’s difficult to say what the total financial investment will be (EBA + incidentals), but plan to spend at least a few hundred dollars on incidentals.
Also, if you choose the Platinum tier, expenses related to the live event (flight, hotel, etc.) will be your responsibility.
How long will it take to recoup the cost?
There are too many factors to say for sure, but I would say at least 12 months for the Silver and Gold tiers and 6+ months for the Platinum tier.
A few students may recoup the cost sooner, others will take longer, and still others may never recoup the cost.
EBA has the tools, but making a specific amount of money — or any money — is not guaranteed.
Factors that will likely impact how successful you are, and how quickly, include:
- Prior blogging experience
- Time and attention spent working on the assignments
- Quality of the content you produce
- Willingness to be creative and take risks
In addition, there are variables outside of your control that will likely affect your outcome as well, like:
- Social media algorithms
- Search engine algorithms
- Responses from your readers
Is EBA worth it?
All three tiers use the same core curriculum. The Gold tier has more content extras. Platinum has all the content plus in-person guidance.
Personally, I would probably pass on the Silver and Gold tiers. The Platinum tier may be worth it for some. Let me explain.
(If you have any questions, please feel free to email me.)
Silver and Gold
Three things make me hesitant to recommend the Silver and Gold tiers.
First, Silver and Gold are self-paced, meaning, you’ll get access to a lot of information but you have to work through it on your own. The information is solid, and the modules are in step-by-step order but for many students, the lack of guidance makes progress slow and overwhelming. To some it might feel like being handed a textbook for a college course and told to go for it.
Second, I wonder if Ruth’s high involvement in the Platinum tier may reduce her availability in the Silver and Gold tiers. Her team and other EBA members are still involved, but it’s clear many students want Ruth’s input specifically. This might not be a dealbreaker for some but may be for others.
Third, Silver and Gold cost a lot of money, especially for content created well over a year ago. Version 4.0 was released in early 2019 but created and recorded in 2018. Things change fast in blogging. Best practices in 2018 are not necessarily best practices in 2020. Granted, much of the content is timeless, but for $1100-$1500 it seems students shouldn’t have to wonder.
I actually think the Platinum tier is worth a look for a (tiny) few. Here’s why.
For the first time in EBA, Ruth will personally guide Platinum students through the course. I’ve taken both guided and self-paced courses. In my experience, guided courses return better results. Plus, because she’s interacting in real time, Ruth can immediately address any outdated content in the core curriculum.
Also, the Platinum level will be smaller (only 50 spots). The camaraderie in a small group of intensely goal-focused students is a huge benefit. It’s likely to have a mastermind group feel, as opposed to a massive group feel. (There are over 6000 members in the larger Facebook Group where Silver and Gold students hang out.)
In addition, Platinum is designed to get you through the entire course in 6 months. This is significantly faster than the self-paced version which often takes students 12-18+ months to complete. The goal is for every Platinum member to be making money by the end of six months. That’s a big goal, but if anyone is up to the task it’s Ruth.
- Weekly video meetings with Ruth
- 3 check-in points along the way when specific feedback will be given by Ruth and her team to make sure students are on track
- Personalized website audit
- One-day, in-person workshop in Florida focused on traffic and list building. (Note! Expenses related to the in-person workshop are not included in the Platinum price.)
One-on-one and small-group coaching seems to be where Ruth shines. She clearly enjoys it and from what I can tell, students with direct input from her are the ones who’ve made the most significant and sustainable progress.
Having said that, $5000 + incidentals + trip expenses is a lot of money. The decision to join should not be taken lightly (ask yourself these questions first), but it might be a good deal for a select few. Which leads me to…
Who’s the right person for EBA?
The Silver and Gold tiers have solid, comprehensive and organized information, but the overall return on investment (ROI) is a stretch for me. I think the ROI on the Platinum is better so I’ll talk about that here. But even Platinum is not right for many. Stick with me here.
I met Ruth briefly many years ago. I haven’t interacted with her in a one-on-one or small group coaching setting so mine are observations from the outside only.
Ruth teaches what she knows (obviously) so consider her style. She works full time and employs a team. Her goal is to build a large business, not a minimalist online business or side hustle.
I think it’s fair to say she’s extremely driven, focused and competitive. She isn’t afraid to tell you what she thinks, even if it’s hard to hear. She’s not mean, just direct. She’s quick to call out overanalyzing, procrastinating, limiting beliefs, timidity and general lollygagging. She’s an action-taker, get-it-doner and go-big-or-go-homer.
If you sign up for Platinum, expect an intense experience. There will be assignments with hard deadlines. She will not let you off the hook easily. Any free time you have between March and September will likely be spent on EBA. There will be high highs, low lows, and probably tears for some. She’ll expect you to be completely committed to the process.
The best candidate for EBA Platinum is someone who thrives under that kind of direction, or someone with similar personality traits and goals as Ruth but isn’t sure what to do next, or needs a firm kick in the pants.
Can you recommend cheaper alternatives?
I’ve purchased a lot of courses over the years and they all offer something different. However, if you want a start-to-finish roadmap to make blogging as passive as possible (not necessarily the EBA model), my first recommendation would be Project 24. They do not issue refunds, so keep that in mind. Read my full review of Project 24 here. My style and blogging philosophy are pretty close to theirs.
Another option is my How to Start an Online Business: A Budget-Friendly Checklist. It’s not nearly as in depth but it’s free and will get you off the ground quickly.
What does EBA include?
The core curriculum is organized into 4 modules, each with 3 units. There are a total of 36 assignments. Each unit has an email, a video (with transcript), assignments (with downloadable workbook pages) and a Q&A video.
EBA starts with the basics, so if you’ve been blogging for any length of time, or if you follow what goes on in the blogging world, much of the information will be familiar. The depth and scope of the material are what makes EBA different. That, and following the experience of Ruth who started a blog and subsequently built a seven figure business.
You can get more details and explanation here, but here’s an overview of the modules and units:
Module 1: Refine Your Message
- Unit 1: Start With The Fundamentals
- Unit 2: Conquer Your Content
- Unit 3: Presentation is Everything
Module 2: Grow Your Traffic
- Unit 4: Set The Stage For Growth
- Unit 5: Grow Your List
- Unit 6: Rock Your Social Media
Module 3: Monetize Your Platform
- Unit 7: Show Me The Money
- Unit 8: Create Your Products
- Unit 9: Master Sales & Marketing
Module 4: Build Your Business
- Unit 10: Work Smarter, Not Harder
- Unit 11: From Blog To Business
- Unit 12: Lead Your Team
Members also get:
- Access to a private Facebook Group. This is a place to share ideas, ask questions, network and find encouragement.
- A printable course syllabus.
- 20+ bonus items. There are extra interview-style videos that deep dive into specific topics like Instagram, tripwires, affiliate marketing, podcasting and more. There are also printables and products from EBA graduates and others.
What does EBA not include?
Unit 1 starts with an assessment of your current blog, so the assumption is you’ve already started a blog. If you haven’t, I have a quick (free) step-by-step guide here.
Technical help is not a main focus of EBA either.
What is the EBA success rate?
I don’t know how many of the 11,000 EBA students have been successful. By “successful” I mean have established an ongoing, profit-generating blogging business after completing the course.
I do know EBA has been a disappointment for some. I know this from emails I’ve personally received and from discussions I’ve seen online. This is not unusual though. Not everyone loves every product.
How much direct access to Ruth will I get?
As explained above, Platinum students will get the most direct access to Ruth. She will hold weekly meetings for Platinum students and will host a one-day live event.
The Silver and Gold tiers get less access. Currently, she holds office hours in the larger Facebook Group (6500+ members) about one hour every other week. Most of the interaction in the Facebook Group is between current students and members of Ruth’s team.
Pros of EBA
Community. EBA’s built-in community (Facebook Group) is valuable and probably its greatest asset. It gives you a chance to ask questions, get ideas, share ideas, ask for advice, get support, provide encouragement and interact with other bloggers who “get” you.
Bonuses. In version 4.0, the bonuses definitely add more value. As I mentioned earlier, they provide in-depth information about specific topics.
Q&A videos. Each unit includes a video of Ruth answering questions from real students. The dialogue is helpful and informative.
Success stories. Ruth is knowledgeable and has clearly experienced a lot of success. Many of her students have experienced success too. In other words, the program can, and has, worked.
Organized information. As is typical with courses like this, much of the material can be found for free online…if you’re willing to hunt. A lot of people don’t have time for that, nor do they know where to start. For new bloggers, or bloggers who are lacking in direction or fundamentals, EBA will definitely give you a jumpstart.
Packaged well. EBA has a clean and simple interface. Getting around is easy and straightforward.
Access to any future versions. You’ll have “lifetime access for the life of the EBA course.” As I mentioned, historically, new information has been added to each version making the course more and more valuable.
Cons of EBA
Stringent return policy. Don’t purchase EBA with the intention of “checking it out” and getting your money back if it’s not for you. You must prove you completed the entire course before a refund will be issued. From the EBA return policy page (emphasis mine):
If you’re expecting Elite Blog Academy, or anything else to magically solve your problems, grow your blog, or make you money the moment you register, please do NOT sign up…
In order to be eligible for a refund for our full course, Elite Blog Academy 4.0, you must submit your completed homework for all 36 assignments by 365 days from your purchase date…
Read the return policy in full by clicking the FAQ link at the top of this page.
Cost. For many, the total cost (course + incidentals) will be prohibitive. If you find yourself in that spot, please know, products like EBA are not a prerequisite to “making it” as a blogger. You might be interested in my post 8 Questions to Ask Before Buying an Online Course.
Long runway. If you follow all the steps as they are presented and purchase the additional tools suggested, it will be quite a while (12+ months is not unusual) before you start to gain traction and make your money back.
Overwhelm. I’ve heard people say they bought EBA but didn’t finish it. They either weren’t expecting the amount of work involved, had a backlog of other courses they were trying to get through or got bogged down somewhere in the process. If you’re worried about this, it might be better to find smaller courses on specific topics you need.
Repeat information for some. This is a comprehensive course beginning with the basics. If you have any background in blogging or online marketing, you will likely be familiar with a good portion of the content.
Time commitment. I don’t think this can be overstated. You will not finish this course (properly at least) in a few weeks. It will take months. This is assuming working at least 5-10 hours a week. I’ve heard students say it has taken 8, 12, 18+ months to complete.
Limited technical help. While there is a lot of strategic help, EBA doesn’t cover many of the technical aspects of blogging. If you’re hoping for a lot of technical help, this course might not be the place to start.
Outdated content. The current version of EBA (4.0) was created in late 2018 and released in early 2019. For blogging and online business information, that’s quite old. While much of the information in EBA is timeless, there are parts that are no longer relevant. It’s especially difficult for newer bloggers to know the difference.
Consider your style & season
When you’re trying to decide whether or not to buy a course, consider the product’s features, but look beyond them too.
Do you share the creator’s style? Are you in a similar life season? Do you want to spend your days the way they spend theirs? If so, you’re more likely to benefit from their product.
For example, Ruth and I have very different styles & seasons:
- She’s generally all in. Me? I like to keep my options open and pivot quickly.
- She runs her business full time and her husband stays home full time. My current situation is the opposite.
- She likes to say, “Rules are for suckers!” whereas I like to say, “Follow the rules but think outside the box.”
- Her kids go to school full time. My kids go to school two days a week and are home the rest.
- She’s comfortable with incurring debt to get your business off the ground. Building debt free is more my style.
- She has elementary- and middle school-aged kids. My oldest is in college and my youngest is in middle school.
- She has referred to herself as a “jump first” type. I prefer to do things thoughtfully out of the gate so I don’t have to go back and pay for, or redo, things later.
- She’s building a corporation with a big team, huge numbers and a lot of moving parts. I prefer a lightweight team, big numbers and a streamlined setup.
The point is, our circumstances are quite different. We’re two different women living and entrepreneuring in two different ways. Neither way is right nor wrong. Both have advantages and disadvantages.
What’s important is knowing what floats your boat.
How to get a taste of EBA and Ruth’s style
Ruth has created several resources that will give you a taste of her style. All of them are free in exchange for your email address:
- 7 Surefire Ways to Boost Your Blog Income Overnight
- 120 Awesome Blog Post Ideas
- The Blog Structure Blueprint
There are countless ways to build a blog into an online business. That’s what I love about it! It means we all have an equal shot. There is no one “right” way.
If the description of EBA (or perhaps the description of Ruth) sounds like your style, read more about Elite Blog Academy here.