Updated September 24, 2020
The Genius Blogger’s Toolkit is here. My personal relationship with the Toolkit has changed, but my goal is to give you a realistic picture of what to expect so you can make an informed decision.
Table of contents
- My experience with the Toolkit
- 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 it?
- Are the cheat sheets worth it?
- The price 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 experience with the Toolkit
I bought, consumed and reviewed the first two versions in 2016 and 2017. I bought the 2018 version but did not go through it completely. I have not purchased the 2019 or 2020 versions.
This updated post is not so much a review as it is an explanation + takeaways from what I’ve learned over the years.
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.
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?
Every fall, for five days only.
Who’s behind the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit?
The Genius Blogger’s Toolkit is compiled, organized and sold by the team at Ultimate Bundles.
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?
It starts at $97.
What’s in it?
It includes various digital products such as eBooks, online courses, workbooks, printables and templates. If you bought each item separately, you would pay thousands of dollars.
The collection of resources in the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit is different every year.
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?
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 thousands of dollars 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 Toolkit, you have the option to pay an additional fee 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 helpful.
Is it worth it?
As I mentioned, I haven’t purchased this year’s Toolkit, but given my experience with past Toolkits, I’m comfortable saying the price is a good one 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. Ask yourself these questions before you buy.
Are the cheat sheets worth it?
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 the extra 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 the extra money is a stretch, I would pass. Spend your money on something else that will move the needle for you quicker.
The price 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 the price of the Toolkit. 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 links to find the downloads and bonuses.
If you bought the cheat sheets, click the “Cheat Sheet” download button next to the resources.
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 any version specifically.
A lot of products for the price. If you have good reason to purchase the Toolkit, 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.
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.
Generous return policy. If you’re not happy with the Toolkit, you can email customer service and ask for a refund within 30 days.
It’s a good 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 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.
Good customer service. The Ultimate Bundles team cares deeply for their customers and work hard to provide timely and helpful customer service.
Cheat Sheets. Though this is extra, these make the Toolkit much more digestible.
Cons of the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit
These are cons for the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit in general, not for a specific version.
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.
Overlap. Because many of the Toolkit resources are similar in scope, much of the information overlaps. It can feel redundant.
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.
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 the online space. 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 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 excellent, but not all. It can be difficult for new or inexperienced bloggers to tell the difference.
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 any 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, 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 17 years online, I hope I’ve demonstrated I do not take product recommendations lightly. While this has not been a review of this year’s Toolkit, I do hope it has given you things to think about as you consider purchasing it.