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
- What is the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit (GBTK)?
- When is it available?
- Who’s behind the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit?
- How much does it cost?
- What’s in it?
- What’s the catch?
- What are the incidental and extra costs?
- What are the cheat sheets?
- Is it worth $97?
- Are the cheat sheets worth $50?
- $97 is a stretch for me. Can I still be successful?
- How does it work? How do I get everything?
- Pros of the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit
- Cons of the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit
- How to use it if you buy it
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.
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:
- Are the topics of interest to you?
- 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.
- 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.
- Is there a specific blogger with a resource in the Toolkit you would like to learn more from?
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.