The Genius Blogger’s Toolkit: My Honest Thoughts

Updated October 4, 2019

The 2019 Genius Blogger’s Toolkit is here. My personal relationship with the Toolkit has changed, but for many beginning bloggers it is still worth considering.

Table of contents

My 2019 summary

I bought, consumed and thoroughly reviewed the first two versions in 2016 and 2017. I bought the 2018 version but have not gone through it completely. I have not purchased the 2019 version. If you want the opinion of someone who has, I recommend Crystal Paine.

This updated post is not so much a review as it is an explanation + takeaways from what I’ve learned over the last 4 years of the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit.

I am no longer an affiliate. I will not earn a commission if you click through a link in this post and purchase it. I opted out of the affiliate program on my own.

Why have I opted out? A few reasons. A big one is, I’m shifting toward helping people start minimalist online businesses. While the Toolkit is a helpful resource for some, it’s geared more toward the “traditional” way to do online business and therefore no longer a natural fit for me.

Even so, I understand not everyone wants a minimalist online business. Given my previous experience with the Toolkit, this updated post is my non-affiliate attempt to help you decide if it’s a good fit for you.

If you’ve read this post in years past, it’s largely the same. If you’re new here or want to skip the introduction-y parts, I recommend you ask yourself these 8 questions to determine whether it’s worth it for you. Or, jump straight to the pros and cons.

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What is the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit (GBTK)?

It’s a collection of ebooks, ecourses and other digital products, packaged in one large bundle and sold at a deep discount.

When is it available?

It is available for 5 days in early October every year.

Who’s behind the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit?

The Genius Blogger’s Toolkit is compiled, organized and sold by the team at Ultimate Bundles. The UB team is honest, seasoned and smart.

Each resource within the Toolkit is created by an outside blogger and can be purchased directly from its creator at other times during the year. I am familiar with only a few creators in this year’s Toolkit.

How much does it cost?

In years past, the price was $97.

What’s in it?

The 2019 version includes 26 eBooks, 55 online courses, 7 workbooks & printables, 5 templates & stock photo collections and 1 membership site. If you bought each item separately, you would pay over $7000.

The Genius Blogger’s Toolkit is different every year so if you bought the Toolkit in 2018, 2017 or 2016, they are not the same products.

It’s worth noting, the Toolkit is not a complete guide to blogging. Not all aspects of blogging will be covered, nor will the information be in sequential, step-by-step order.

What’s the catch?

If you’re like me you might be thinking, “Hmmm, $7000+ worth of products for $97 bucks? Sounds fishy.”

I can vouch for the price. You really do get all the listed resources (plus a few bonuses) for $97.

Still, there are a few things to know.

First, it is true you’d pay over $7000 if you bought each item in the Toolkit separately. However, I’m hesitant to say that number reflects true value. In my experience with past bundles, some items are not worth their individual high price tags. These prices result in an overall inflated Toolkit value, in my opinion.

Second, there are incidental and extra costs to be aware of.

What are the incidental and extra costs?

First, as a blogger, it’s assumed you are already paying for the basics, like the costs of running a blog and the cost of an email service provider for your mailing list. This is to be expected, but perhaps worth a mention for beginners.

Second, some items in the bundle will include recommendations for additional tools and services. Whether you buy them is up to you of course, but it may be tricky to apply the advice without the tool(s) suggested.

Third, when you purchase the 2019 Toolkit, you have the option to pay an additional $50 ($97 + $50 = $147) for the cheat sheets.

What are the cheat sheets?

The cheat sheets provide the main points of each resource, bullet style, making it easy to go directly to the information you want to learn. The time-saving nature of them is very helpful.

Is it worth $97?

I haven’t gone through the 2019 Toolkit, but given my experience with past Toolkits, I’m comfortable saying $97 is a good price for all the resources included.

That said, just because something is a great deal does not mean it’s always a good idea to purchase it. Here are some questions to ask yourself before you buy:

  1. Are the topics of interest to you?
  2. Do you need to know the information right now? I’m generally not a fan of buying a product like this for later (sometimes explained as “future proofing”). Why? Because by the time you get to it, there’s a high chance the information will be at least partially outdated. Things change too frequently in the online space.
  3. Is there a resource you have been eyeing already which is included in the Toolkit? If so, this is probably a good time to snag it.
  4. Is there a specific blogger with a resource in the Toolkit you would like to learn more from?
  5. Do you have the time to go through the resources that interest you? Will you realistically go through them? Be honest. It’s a lot of information. Don’t buy it and do nothing with it.
  6. Is there room in your budget? A steep discount is great, but it’s still close to $100 which is a good chunk of change. Is this the best place to spend your money at this time?
  7. Will this Toolkit keep you stuck in research mode instead of doing mode? At some point you have enough information, you just have to implement it. Don’t purchase the Toolkit if it’s going to delay you from taking action.
  8. Are you buying the Toolkit because you have fear of missing out (FOMO)? The Toolkit will not make or break your blogging career. It holds no magic bullets or secret sauces. If you don’t buy it, you won’t be left behind. Fear alone is not a good reason to buy the Toolkit (or anything). Only buy it if you have a legitimate reason to do so.

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Are the cheat sheets worth $50?

I go back and forth on this. On the one hand, they seem essential to making the most of the Toolkit. On the other hand, they’re over half the cost of the Toolkit itself.

What I would say is, if you have an extra $50 in your budget and there are many resources in the list that look interesting to you, yes, I would get the cheat sheets.

However, if you have your eye on only a few resources in the list, or if $50 is a stretch, I would pass. Spend your money on something else that will move the needle for you quicker.

$97 is a stretch for me. Can I still be successful?

Yes! Despite the impressive marketing surrounding it, the Toolkit is not the key to blogging. Almost all the information can be found elsewhere for free. Sure, it may not be packaged the same and you might have to hunt for it, but it’s available. I’ve attempted to help in this area with my checklist for starting an online business.

Read over the list of products. Does one jump out at you? Most are less than $97. You can always buy that product individually. Find it by googling the name of the creator or product.

How does it work? How do I get everything?

Once your purchase is complete, you’ll be given login information to the Dashboard. In there, you’ll see two tabs: Downloads and Bonuses. Choose either tab to see respective instructions for access.

If you bought the cheat sheets, click the “Cheat Sheet” download button next to each of the resources.

You can also get quick access to your bundle(s) by clicking the “My Bundles” list at the top of the page.

The Ultimate Bundles team does a good job of making it easy to navigate. Plus, their customer service team is always available to help.

This is a completely digital product. You’ll get access immediately. You won’t receive anything via snail mail.

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Pros of the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit

My goal is to be as upfront with you as possible. When I’m writing posts like this, I think of things I would tell my sweet mama if she asked for my honest thoughts.

These are pros for the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit in general, not for the 2019 version specifically.

Cheat Sheets. Though this is an extra $50, these make the Toolkit much more digestible.

Price. If you have good reason to purchase the Toolkit (ask yourself the questions above in the “Is it worth $97?” section), it’s a good deal. It’s unlikely you’d be able to replicate this number of resources at this price.

Some products have higher price points than the entire Toolkit. There are a number of resources in the Toolkit that cost over $100 by themselves, so even if you used just one $100+ product in the Toolkit, you’d most likely get your money’s worth.

It’s an excellent opportunity for affiliate marketers. Are there items in the Toolkit that might appeal to your audience now or in the future? If so, this is an excellent opportunity to check them out. If you find one, sign up for its individual affiliate program, promote it to your audience as a stand-alone product and you could make money going forward.

A solid library of resources. Not every product in a Toolkit is worthwhile in my opinion, but the handful of good ones in the bundle usually make it a solid library of resources. There are a number of notable creators in the 2019 Toolkit.

Generous return policy. If you’re not happy with the Toolkit, you can email customer service and ask for a refund within 30 days.

Good customer service. I have worked with many companies over the years to promote various products. The Ultimate Bundles team is definitely one of the best. They care deeply for their customers and work hard to provide timely and helpful customer service.

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Cons of the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit

These are cons for the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit in general, not for the 2019 version specifically.

Overwhelm. Simply put, there’s a lot of information in the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit. The amount of information is what makes it a good deal, but don’t try to tackle the entire thing. Pick and choose the resources that interest you most. The cheat sheets are nice, but unfortunately cost $50.

Overlap.  Because many of the Toolkit resources are similar in scope, much of the information overlaps. For example, a number of the resources may explain how to set up a Pinterest account or why you should start an email list. These are important topics, but it can feel redundant.

Outdated content. This is not only a Toolkit problem, it’s a problem that plagues all of us who write about blogging and social media. Things change incredibly fast in this world. It’s impossible to guarantee everything is always up to date by the time you get to it.

Resources that feel like teasers. Some Toolkit resources in the past seemed more like teasers than stand-alone, meaty products. It’s always a disappointment to open a resource filled with little more than affiliate links, upsells, bonuses (read: I just want to get you on my list) or pitches to buy a bigger product.

Excessive emails. Because there are so many contributors to the bundle, you’ll get a lot of emails asking you to join individual contributor email lists.

Quality varies widely. Some resources are truly excellent, but not all. It can be difficult for new or inexperienced bloggers to tell the difference.

Inexperienced creators.  Some resources are created by unseasoned bloggers without a lot of experience. These resources are more likely to include repackaged, inaccurate, incomplete or anecdotal information. Unless you already have a good handle on blogging, it can be hard to tell the good advice from the not-so-good.

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How to use it if you buy it

If you decide to by the Toolkit, here is my advice:

Get the cheat sheets if you can. They provide bullet-style notes for each resource. Huge time saver.

Cherry-pick. Choose a handful of resources that look most interesting to you and tackle those. Don’t feel obligated to consume the entire Toolkit. It’s simply not worth the time.

Take advantage of the Facebook Groups. Many Toolkit resources have a Facebook Group (or equivalent) attached to them. These are often more valuable than the resource itself, particularly if you want to network with like-minded people, get ideas and find encouragement.

Who’s the creator? In general, I find resources created by seasoned bloggers to be more reliable and original. If you find a resource you like, Google the creator’s name, check out their social media channels and poke around their website. How long have they been blogging? Do they have time-tested experience or expertise in the topic they’re teaching?

Understand vanity metrics. High traffic numbers, follower counts or subscribers alone don’t mean much. More important to know is how those numbers are converting. How much income do those numbers translate into? What’s the net profit vs. gross revenue? For example, “Here’s how I grew my monthly income by 500% and you can too!” sounds great, but does that mean income grew from $25 to $125 a month or from $2000 to $10,000 a month? Big difference.

Filter everything through your own lens. There are countless ways to “do blogging” successfully. The creators of the resources in the Toolkit explain what has worked for them. If it sounds good to you, try it! If not, pass. There’s not one right way.

Watch out for strategies that game the system. There are shortcuts in blogging but I’ve never seen any shortcuts that work long term. If someone suggests a strategy that seems like a shortcut, tread carefully.

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If you’ve followed my work at all the last 15 years online, I hope I’ve demonstrated I do not take product recommendations lightly. While this has not been a review of the 2019 Toolkit, I do hope it has given you things to think about as you consider purchasing it.

44 thoughts on “The Genius Blogger’s Toolkit: My Honest Thoughts”

  1. Thank you, Amy for your honest opinion and for reviewing the 2019 Toolkit!
    I completely agree with you about the few points you advise to consider before purchasing.
    Keep up the good work Amy!
    Best Regards,

  2. Thank you Amy for your review and honest thoughts. i really like your honest simple approach to recommendations & blogging. I agree, your level of integrity is what keeps me following you.

  3. Hi Amy!

    I love your content! I’m an aspiring life insurance blogger out in Silicon Valley. Do you have any experience with life insurance blogs? How would you monetize the site in addition to my conversion for term insurance quotes, which is the primary goal. I’m not sure about affiliate marketing as an add-on.


    Chris Acker

    1. Hi Chris,

      I don’t have any experience myself, but I would recommend finding other blogs about life insurance and noting what monetization methods they use. My guess is, on-site ads, informational products and affiliate marketing are probably the popular ones.

      1. Thanks, Amy. Appreciate the feedback. Part of the problem is that insurance is a licensed product. I’ll check out some other sites. Let me know if you ever want some insurance content! 🙂

  4. It is awesome. I appreciated it. Your blog information is very knowledgeable, and I like your style to explain your blogging skills. Your blogging toolkit information is excellent and genuine. Thank you for sharing.

  5. This post is an incredible case of why I put my trust in you and The Use letter from the recent years. I acknowledge how you separate the advantages and disadvantages and how you are constantly fair and forthright about things. I will without a doubt share this post. good health!!

    Numerous an abundance of thanks.

  6. Hi,
    I like the helpful info you provide in your Blog really explains everything in detail the Blog is very interesting and effective. Generally I never comment on blogs but your blog is so convincing that I can’t stop myself to say something about it. This is an impressive Blog Thanks!

  7. Amy, I am so grateful for you and the work God has called you to share. I am a NEWBIE, attempting to follow your instructions and dive in (it’s me, though, not you)! I have learned so much from you. I wonder what this BTK have to offer, YOU don’t already? I am early in my journey. I have followed your affiliate links to Namecheap, Bluehost, and have purchased the Genesis Infinity Pro Theme. Uploaded this, reset my permalinks, etc… For me, I am still attempting to figure all that out, going line by line between the any materials you have made public. My question is this…if you don’t mind, would you recommend a NEWBIE w/ paralysis analysis from WordPress/Bluehost info (knowing I use you as my go to reference) though trying to create my own brand, using your guidelines. I have the KB, the Newsletter, etc. All things considered, would I be missing a link to help me over this hump by not having access to a certain material such as this BTK? I am trying to figure this all out and I have made headway except for the confusion of editing in Bluehost vs. WordPress. I just need the missing link which I’ve am sure you have published somewhere! I just keep hearing about this Genius Blogger Tool kit. All of your thoughts are greatly appreciated. I look forward to reading your newsletters and for this ADD newbie to this field says everything. Thanks for any wisdom in advance. I am a dreamer not the good at implementation for myself. I have a research personality, but implementing all the tiny details is overwhelming for me. I’m doing everything I can to learn how to set up everything accurately but it could be a 2 minute install of WordPress and I’m still behind on being able to actually go live. Thanks for reading, I am resilient if nothing else!
    Jamie Richardson

    1. Hi Jamie,

      First, congrats on your new blog!

      To answer your questions, there are definitely some topics in the Toolkit covered by people with more knowledge and expertise than me. When I started blogging many years ago, there wasn’t a whole lot more to master beyond setting up your blog and writing. 🙂 Over the years, though, so many things have been added to the mix: social media, many more monetization methods, etc. There’s no way I can keep up with all of it. I rely heavily on others to teach me the things I don’t excel at.

      Having said that, I would pass on this year’s Toolkit and focus on creating content and getting established as a blogger. Remember, this Toolkit will not make or break your blogging career. Not at all. I think you would benefit most by blocking out all the noise, focusing on your content and seeking new information on a “need to know” basis. Given what you’ve described, I think the Toolkit is more likely to add to your overwhelm, not curb it.

      I hope that helps!

  8. I really enjoyed the 2017 Toolkit, using your Shortcut information. It was very informative, but it sure takes up a lot of time to go through the material. I suspect that one Toolkit will be enough to keep me learning for a few years. Also, I got to ‘know’ a lot of excellent bloggers I had never heard of before and that has been a real benefit. It was an excellent investment, but I would not have gotten as much out of it without your Shortcut.

    So, thank you for that, and thank you also for your explanation of why you are not involved this year.

    1. I’m so glad the Shortcut was helpful. This year the Ultimate Bundles team has included Cheat Sheets which provide a bullet-point list of what’s in each resource. It’s definitely a lot of information — a pro and a con. 🙂

  9. Hi, Amy Lynn.

    It is no surprise as usual that this post is awesome. What I love about you is your utter transparency. It is so refreshing!

    Tip #6 is priceless: Will this Toolkit keep you stuck in research or learning mode instead of doing mode?

    Over learning is definitely my Achilles heel! So this reminder was just what I needed. So while I did signed up for the free webinars, I am passing on the the bundle so I can focus on DOING! Thanks!

  10. This post is a great example of why I place my trust in you and The Useletter from the past couple of years. I appreciate how you break down the pros and cons and how you are always honest and upfront about things.

    Thank you for everything you do, Amy.

  11. Hey Amy,

    Wow its worth to read whole review and i need to learn lot of things as a blogger i guess this toolkit will help in that – Yeah price is little bit high but if you want to make money then you need to invest money 🙂 i will do more research and then buy it 🙂 thanks for the information and review. and i would like to follow your blog to get updated with new stuff.

    Money Media

  12. I’m planning to attend a couple of the webinars. Thanks for your honest review. I do feel like I get bogged down in learning, and not “doing” enough.

  13. I agree, your level of integrity is what keeps me following you. In a world of scams, you’re definitely one we can trust.
    You said you haven’t totally vetted the kit, but is there any product in there that caught your eye as being ‘over top quality’? I’m looking for help with traffic?
    Kate Ahl helped me a little with some Pinterest stuff, so I think anything by her is probably pretty good.
    Keep up the great work on the Useletter.

    1. Thank you Kevin. The list of titles and creators goes public when the Toolkit goes live, so if I happen to see any that really catch my eye between now and then, perhaps I’ll edit my post.

      And Kate Ahl is definitely my Pinterest go-to person. She’s carved out a fantastic niche for herself!

  14. Thank you for your honest assessment. I especially like the point you made about “Will this Toolkit keep you stuck in research or learning mode instead of doing mode? “. As a new blogger, I feel that I have gone astray many times trying to learn everything,

    1. If it makes you feel any better, I’ve been blogging a while and I *still* go astray learning. Like every day, LOL. I’d much rather learn than do. 🙂

  15. Your recommendation is something I value.I am still trying to read through allthe stuff I bought in 2017 .Its true that only people with experience give you the real deal.This made me feel better .No FOMO!

  16. Thanks for your honest thoughts! I really love how you do not promote unless you have thoroughly reviewed. It means a lot to us – your followers. Keep up the great work, Amy!

  17. Thank you for the info Amy. I love your honest straightforward approach to recommendations & blogging. I look forward to the Useletter every Sat. It’s my morning read with my coffee.

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