Updated August 4, 2018
Are you a beginning or intermediate blogger but can’t seem to grow? Do you watch blogs take off and wonder how? This is an opportunity you might 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.
My relationship with EBA
I did not get EBA for free. I purchased it (version 1.0) in November 2014. It is now in its third version and has changed considerably since the beginning — a lot more information has been added. Anyone who purchases EBA gets lifetime access so I have been following its progress.
While I have read / watched most of the content in all three versions (1.0, 2.0 & 3.0), I have not personally completed all the assignments. This is mainly due to differences in my approach and my already-set blogging rhythm.
I bought this course primarily to vet it for my readers and provide my honest take.
I am an affiliate for this course. That means, if you click through one of my referral links below and purchase EBA, I may receive a commission.
Bottom line: I won’t write an all-glowing review just to make money. At the same time, I don’t want to nitpick (it’s a solid course and has changed these lives, at the very least). My goal is to provide a realistic picture of what to expect so you can make an informed decision.
What is Elite Blog Academy (EBA)?
Elite Blog Academy is a self-paced training program by blogger and author Ruth Soukup. It outlines a framework for bloggers who want to turn their blog into a sustainable business.
When will EBA open?
Enrollment typically opens once a year for 5 days only. It will open again in early 2019. Get on the waiting list, or, get a “taste” of EBA by downloading some of Ruth’s free resources listed below (click here to jump down and see them now).
How much does Elite Blog Academy cost?
The last time EBA was open, there were three tiers: $897 (Silver), $1197 (Gold) and $1997 (Platinum). The Silver level gives you access to the full course. The Gold and Platinum levels give you extra bonuses such as related, stand-alone ebooks and admission to Ruth’s annual conference.
Are there other costs associated with EBA?
Yes. Be prepared for incidental costs. Many paid-for tools and services are suggested along the way. Some of them are integral to the course, like an ESP (Email Service Provider) to set up your mailing list. Others are optional but used by Ruth and highly recommended.
It’s difficult to say what the total financial investment will be (EBA + incidentals), but I recommend leaving yourself a cushion of at least a few hundred dollars for incidentals.
What does EBA include?
The course is organized into 4 main modules. Each module is divided into units. Each unit has an email, a video (with transcript), a downloadable packet (workbook pages), a Q&A video and assignments.
Members also get:
- Access to a private Facebook Group.
- A printable course syllabus.
- Bonus items, including a PDF outlining an example social media campaign, a video about Pinterest strategy and a video about Facebook Ads.
Here’s an overview of the modules and units:
Module 1: Refine Your Message
- Unit 1: Start With Awesome
- Unit 2: Content is King
- Unit 3: Presentation is Everything
Module 2: Grow Your Traffic
- Unit 4: Grow Your Platform
- 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 Product
- 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
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 has built her blog into a seven figure business.
What does EBA not include?
The course itself will not walk you through the steps to get your blog set up and running. You can follow my simple steps to do that here.
Is Elite Blog Academy worth it?
It depends. Let me explain from my perspective.
EBA offers 3 main things:
- Information. This includes the how-tos and strategies, written or in video form.
- Intangibles. By “intangibles” I mean things like a community of other like-minded bloggers, accountability and an organized framework.
- (Implied) results. The results are implied because they are not guaranteed of course, but EBA certainly has the tools to help you see results.
So let’s take the broad question “Is EBA worth it?” and break it down:
Is EBA’s information alone worth it? In my opinion, no. If you asked me, “I’d love to see the information inside EBA, but I don’t have much time or interest in the Facebook Group. Amy, would you pay $897 for the info by itself?” No. To be clear, the information is solid, comprehensive and organized, and there is a lot of it, but much of it can be found for free or from less expensive sources.
Is EBA’s information + intangibles worth it? Maybe. You’ll have to decide. Personally, I think the community (Facebook Group) is extremely valuable, especially for newer bloggers. I blogged alone for 6 years. My blog turned a huge corner in 2010 when I finally got involved in the blogging community. Relationships are key. Also, the accountability or the organized framework might be worth the price of admission to you. Only you know how you are wired and whether the intangibles are likely to work for you.
Is EBA’s information + intangibles + (implied) results worth it? Yes. Imagine I said to you, “Pay $897 today and in 6-12 months from now, you will make $1000+ a month going forward.” Would you do it? Of course you would. That’s what happened to these EBA students. But there’s a big caveat: your results may vary. To my knowledge, the overall success rate of EBA students is not published so I can’t tell you what the likelihood is you’ll get there too. EBA definitely has the right tools, but making a specific amount of money (or any money) is not guaranteed. There are plenty of variables outside of your control that will likely affect your outcome. The question is (a) will you use EBA’s tools and (b) will things outside your control (i.e. responses from readers, social media and search engine algorithms) work in your favor?
Who is EBA best for?
EBA is best compared to a college course. It has the potential to start you on a path to a new career. However, it will require a significant amount of time (the equivalent of a semester class), money and self discipline (many hours of worksheets and follow through assignments). If you commit to those things, I think you will find EBA to be very worthwhile.
How much direct access to Ruth will I get?
Keep in mind Ruth runs a company with many employees and projects. Also keep in mind there are currently over 30,000 members in the EBA Facebook Group. Ruth pops into the discussion occasionally, but most of the interaction in the Group is between current (and some past) EBA students, as well as members of Ruth’s team. Ruth typically does a Live Q&A inside the Group for about an hour on Fridays.
Pros of EBA
Community. EBA’s built-in community (Facebook Group) is very valuable. 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.
Q&A videos. Each unit includes a video of Ruth answering questions from real students. I’m not sure if all the questions are specific to the person asking or just general FAQs, but the dialogue is helpful and informative nonetheless.
Success stories. Ruth is knowledgeable and has clearly experienced a lot of success. I’ll point out again, several 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 give you a jumpstart.
Packaged well. EBA has a clean and simple interface. Getting around is straightforward.
Lifetime enrollment. You’ll have access to current and future versions of the course.
Cons of EBA
Intense return policy. Don’t purchase EBA with the intention of “checking it out.” To be eligible for a refund, you must complete the entire course, including all the assignments, and submit them as proof. This will take months. Find a link to the full Refund Policy in the footer 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.
Overwhelming for some. 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.
Time commitment. I don’t think this can be overstated. You will not finish this course (properly at least) in a week or two. It will take months. (This is assuming working 5-10 hours a week.) I’ve heard different students say it has taken 3, 4, even 8+ months to complete.
Long runway. What I mean by that is, if you follow all the steps as they are presented, and purchase the additional tools suggested, it will be a while before you make your money back. In other words, be prepared to operate in the financial red for a time.
Limited technical help. While there is a lot of practical, hands-on, 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.
An ever-changing landscape. The blogging and social media landscape changes incredibly fast. What is true today, may not be true next month, or even next week. Anyone who writes about blogging faces this conundrum (myself included). From what I can tell, no significant updates have been made to EBA 3.0 since last year. As such, there are some minor patches of outdated content.
Consider your style
When you’re trying to decide whether or not to buy a course, consider the product’s features, but look beyond them too. Ask yourself if you share the creator’s style. If your style is similar to theirs, you’re more likely to benefit from their product.
For example, Ruth and I have very different styles. She’s generally all in. Me? I like to keep my options open. She likes to say, “Rules are for suckers!” whereas I like to say, “I’m a rules girl who hates being put in a box.” She has referred to herself as a “jump first” type. I like to do things thoughtfully out of the gate so I don’t have to go back and pay, 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, we’re two different entrepreneurs entrepreneuring in two different ways. Neither way is right nor wrong. There are advantages and disadvantages of each. What’s important is to know 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
- The Secret Blueprint for Blogging Success
- 10 Steps to Take When a Post Goes Viral
- 8 Bad Blogging Habits & How to Break Them
- 120 Awesome Blog Post Ideas
- The New Blogger’s Guide to Guest Posting
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.