Updated February 27, 2016
Do you want to take take your blog to the next level? This is an opportunity you may want to consider. I think it’s right for some, but not all. I hope this post will help you decide if it’s right for you.
Because I paid for this course myself, this post contains my referral link.
Enrollment in Elite Blog Academy is currently closed. Sign up here if you’d like to be notified when it opens.
Bonus! In the meantime, if you add your name to the waiting list, you’ll get this short ebook with valuable tidbits called 7 Surefire Ways to Boost Your Blog Income Overnight here:
First, what is Elite Blog Academy (EBA)?
Elite Blog Academy is “a 12-unit training program that offers a methodical, step-by-step framework to bloggers and communicators who want to turn their blog into a sustainable business.”
The focus is on making income, although the first part of the course covers the basics of laying a good blogging foundation. If you don’t yet have a blog started, do that first since the course assumes you already have. Follow my simple steps to do that here.
My review: the chips & salsa version
Have you read the success stories from people who have taken EBA (scroll to the bottom)? Some are quite impressive.
I absolutely believe these stories are true, and I celebrate the growth these bloggers have experienced. The course definitely provides what it takes.
Like any product, not everyone experiences the same phenomenal results. The question I’m trying to help you figure out, is if EBA is a good idea for you.
The chips & salsa takeaway:
The quality of this course is not in question. The success stories are compelling. It is a very solid course with valuable material.
Almost any blogger on any level can benefit (I have), but in my opinion, those who benefit most from Elite Blog Academy are:
- Doers (see explanation below)
- At an advanced beginner to intermediate level in their blogging
- Who keep hearing about the possibilities of making significant income blogging, but wish they had a road map
- With a topic that lends itself well to the visual (recipes, home decor, fashion, DIY, living simply, saving money, etc.)
If that sounds like you, click here to check it out (and read the testimonials). If you’re not sure, keep reading…
Are you a thinker or a doer?
Andy Stanley made an enlightening statement once. He said, there are thinkers and there are doers. Thinkers are idea types. Doers get things done. Of course this is a broad generalization, but I’ll go with it to make my point.
- Thinkers typically like brainstorming, thinking through and researching possibilities. They like trying different things, oftentimes on a whim. Thinkers love ideas, maybe the more the better. Thinkers might tackle things from various angles instead of in a linear, step by step fashion. (I am a thinker.)
- Doers typically like goal setting and checking things off a list. The idea of S.M.A.R.T. goals totally makes sense to them. They are self-motivated and determined. Doers like to know what comes next and track their progress. Doers are good at focusing on the task at hand and sticking to the plan.
Thinkers and doers are both needed and valuable. And both thinkers and doers can, and do, make money blogging.
For some, $499 would be a very worthwhile investment. A no-brainer. On the other hand, $499 is a lot of money. To do it right, the course requires a lot of time (we’re talking several hours each week for at least 12 weeks).
My review: the whole enchilada version
Alright, so you’re either a doer or you’ve got a lot of the doer characteristics. Let’s dive deeper.
First, total transparency:
- I purchased the course (version 1.0) in November 2014. I did not get it for free. My goal is always to write an objective review from the standpoint of a paying customer.
- I watched every unit video included in the 1.0 version, start to finish. I also downloaded and read the course outline, the handouts, each of the unit outlines, the bonus materials and watched the live Q&A videos. I have not personally implemented everything suggested.
- I have not watched all the additional materials added to version 2.0. (I’m still making my way through), but the update is significant and definitely adds value.
- While I don’t know Ruth extremely well, I have met her in person and found her to be delightful. She knows her stuff and I have watched her grow her business significantly over the last few years.
Here’s what you get in EBA 2.0
EBA has a clean and simple interface and getting around is pretty easy. General course information includes a printable Welcome Kit & Course Overview, a Course Syllabus and an Outline Answer Key so you can follow along as you go:
The course is organized into 4 main modules. Each module covers one main phase of blogging: Module 1: Refine Your Message, Module 2: Grow Your Traffic, Module 3: Monetize Your Platform and Module 4: Build Your Business. Here’s a screenshot of the dashboard:
Each module has its own overview video and is then broken up into multiple units. The number of units per module varies, but here is an example of the units covered in Module 3: Show Me the Money, Profit Through Ad Networks, Profit Through Affiliate Advertising, Profit Through Private Advertising and Profit Through Selling Your Products. Here’s what I mean:
Each unit consists of video content, a transcript for easy reading and a downloadable packet that helps you work through the course as you listen. In addition, each unit contains extra material. This consists of extra thoughts / coaching from Ruth as you go through the course (i.e. A Few Thoughts On Unit _) as well as any additional handouts or bonus packs. Here’s an example from the Profit Through Selling Your Products unit in Module 3: Monetize Your Platform.
As you can see, there is quite a bit of value packed into each module.
Live Q&A Videos – These are live, 60-minute (or so) videos where Ruth answers members’ questions. There are 4 already recorded and available. Dates for upcoming ones are listed in the members’ area.
Private Forum – This is where members can interact with one another, and Ruth as well.
Other Extras – There is even more available to members including things like a list of tools & resources Ruth and her team uses, a video interview with experts, etc.
I’ve been happy to see the added content since I became a member in 2014. For Ruth and her team, this is obviously not a “set it and forget it” product. It appears she has taken a keen interest in making EBA as valuable as possible. I have no reason to believe this won’t continue.
Is the material worth the cost?
For many, I would say yes. As I mentioned, it’s hard to argue with numbers-driven testimonials. I think it really depends on where you’re at in blogging, how much time you have to devote to the course and what you hope to gain from it.
There is a 100% money-back guarantee, if you go through the whole course and complete all the assignments.
The real value (in my opinion)
As is typical with ecourses like this, much of the basic material can be found for free online…if you’re willing to hunt. A lot of people starting out don’t have the time for that, nor do they know where to start. Another common problem is knowing whether or not the information you do find is still relevant or outdated.
Here’s where the real value is:
- The organized, straightforward way the information is packaged. It saves you a lot of time searching and learning on your own.
- The expertise of the creator. Ruth is clearly very knowledgeable and successful.
- The built-in mastermind group (i.e. the private forum). Being able to build relationships with other like-minded bloggers is extremely beneficial, both as you learn, and as you move forward.
- The live Q&A videos. They give you the opportunity to get your specific questions answered directly.
- Overall, Ruth presents very solid information about blogging. For new bloggers or bloggers who are lacking in direction or fundamentals, it will give you a significant jumpstart.
- It’s an excellent blogging conference alternative. For many, attending a blogging conference is a turning point in a blogging career. It was for me. However, when you consider buying a conference ticket, travel, hotel, etc., the more popular conferences can easily cost nearly $1000 to attend (my first conference cost me $800). That’s prohibitive for many. Being part of Elite Blog Academy is not exactly the same as the face-to-face contact you’d get at a conference, but it’s a close second.
- One of the biggest benefits of the course is definitely the relationship building potential. Relationships are key in blogging and, if treated correctly, will serve you well for years to come. The EBA forum gives you a chance to ask questions, get ideas, share ideas, ask for advice, get & provide support and encouragement, promote each other and interact with other bloggers who “get” you.
- It’s well done. The signup process is relatively glitch-free and easy to walk through. The videos are well done. The material is organized and thorough.
- It’s a product born out of experience, not just theory. Ruth is an established, successful blogger with a proven record of getting things done. According to the advertising page on her main blog (Living Well Spending Less), in January 2014, she got 3 million+ pageviews and 1 million+ unique visitors. I don’t know what her updated stats are, but obviously she’s teaching what has worked for her.
- I had a few minor disagreements with some of the material presented in the course. I disagreed more with some of the information shared in the forums and chimed in when I had the time. This is a common problem in forums in general. My advice is to always do your own research and not rely on other members’ opinions, especially when it concerns legal matters (i.e. FTC guidelines, disclosure, Anti-Spam Laws, etc.).
- By her own admission, Ruth is not technical and this is certainly not anything for which I would write off the course. While there is a lot of practical, hands-on, strategic help, EBA is not so much about the technical aspects of starting and running a blog. If you’re hoping for a lot of technical help, this course might not be the place to start.
- The curse of ever-changing information. Blogging and social media change so fast, it’s hard to keep everything up to date. Ruth and her team seem to be taking steps to update info as needed. This is easy to do for things like PDFs, but a bit more complicated to do in videos. I’m impressed to see a vast overhaul of the information for 2.0.
Overall, consider EBA if:
- You’ve been blogging a while and are looking at bloggers around you taking off, wondering how they’re doing it.
- You have a get-it-done personality. There is no question, in order to make this course work, you must implement the strategies Ruth shares or it will be a huge waste of time and money.
- You have the time and tenacity to follow through. Many of the assignments require you to dig deep. It will take time and energy. You will have to work hard on it, regularly.
- You are a relationship person who really wants to get to know other bloggers or you’d like to attend a blogging conference but haven’t been able to do so or find it cost prohibitive.
- You’re a hands-on, fill-in-the-blanks type of person who likes to put pen to paper to process and get things done.
- You like to learn from a person (video), rather than reading.
- While I think many bloggers could pick up useful tidbits, I would definitely say those best served by Elite Blog Academy are bloggers in niches like DIY, frugal living, home decor, cooking, simple living, crafting, parenting, fashion, etc. Ruth is teaching mainly from her personal experience (understandably so). Although it seems her model has changed recently, on her own blog in the past, she’s seen success by pursuing high traffic and monetizing via display ads (mainly). She touches on other blogging models, but I think bloggers with this bent will glean the most.
- You have the room in your budget to pay for it. If you can’t afford the hefty price tag, consider buying her book, How to Blog for Profit: Without Selling Your Soul, first. The main chunk of the material corresponds directly to the 12 chapters in Ruth’s book. Another option would be my Knowtbook.
As is the case often with reviews, there’s not a one-size-fits-all answer. I hope I’ve provided enough information so you know if Elite Blog Academy is for you.
Click the image to learn more: