Elite Blog Academy®: My honest review (Updated 2022)

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As of March 2022, Elite Blog Academy® has been revamped, renamed and relaunched. I no longer recommend it.

There is a key difference between the original version (Elite Blog Academy®) and the new one (EBA® Foundation): The new version no longer includes the nuts & bolts of making money

  • The original version was much more comprehensive. The goal was for students to have a profitable business generating predictable income by the end of the course.
  • The new version covers only a portion of the original. It has been repositioned as Level 1 in Ruth Soukup’s suite of products. Level 1 leads directly into Levels 2 & 3, which are sold separately.
  • As the name suggests, EBA® Foundation covers the basics of getting started. The information about making money is now in Level 2 and costs $300+ per month.
  • EBA® Foundation (Level 1) has three pricing tiers: Silver, Gold and Platinum. The lowest tier, Silver, costs $597. It does not include coaching or community, just the course material to work through alone. Coaching and community require Gold for $997 or Platinum for $1497.
  • Additionally, students should expect to pay at least several hundred dollars above the cost of the course for tools and services recommended to complete the assignments.

In short, the removal of the most valuable content (i.e. how to make money) without a significant price adjustment, plus extra costs for ”the good stuff,” makes EBA® Foundation overpriced in my opinion.

Please note, I did not go through all of the EBA® Foundation lessons. I did see the outline and lesson topics. My review comes from years in the blogging industry and years of following EBA (I bought the original in 2014). I am confident Ruth’s material is solid. She teaches what has worked well for her which is the popular strategy of:

  • Start a blog
  • Offer a lead magnet (to build your email list)
  • Add an upsell (to fund ads)
  • Create your own digital products
  • Sell repeatedly to your email list

This basic strategy is not unique to her. Many others teach it (or have taught it). She packages it nicely, adds her own twists, and excels at motivating and coaching others along the way.

I understand the way Ruth is restructuring her products. I applaud her effort to make her content more organized and digestible. Huge, all-encompassing courses aren’t as attractive as they once were, so breaking EBA® into smaller chunks makes sense. However, I think the price points should be adjusted accordingly.

One thing to note. When reading testimonials on the EBA® website, be aware of the student statuses captioned underneath. Many are years-ago graduates of the previous, more comprehensive version (“EBA® Class of 2018” or “EBA® Alum”) when the above strategy, arguably, worked much better for newbies. Some are Level 2 students (“Current ACTIVATE student”) with access to information not included in EBA® Foundation.

What do I recommend instead of EBA® Foundation?

I have three suggestions depending on your style. I’ve personally bought the first two.

1. To start a money-making blog, I recommend Project 24. It’s less “pretty” than EBA® Foundation, but the content is clearly laid out, updated often and based on data from many, many successful blogs. Unlike a leveled pricing system, all Project 24 courses are included in the library for one (lower) fee. There’s a great community attached.

2. To get traffic through social media, both paid and organic, I recommend Makers. The information is not as organized as EBA® Foundation, but Rachel Miller is an audience-building ninja. As of March 2022, her Grow Your Audience course is included as a bonus. Highly recommended. Rachel is very, very active in her community as well.

3. If DIY is more your style, my steps (more like checklists) are free and meant to help people start quickly. They are not nearly as thorough, but they do cover a decent chunk of the concepts in EBA® Foundation.


Note: Given the difference between the original Elite Blog Academy® and the new EBA® Foundation, the review below is no longer relevant. I’m keeping it here for reference only.

December 2020 Update: On December 8, 2020 Elite Blog Academy® was rolled into a new monthly membership called ACTIVATE. As an existing EBA® member, I received one month’s access to ACTIVATE in January of 2021. While I did explore, one month was not enough time for a full evaluation. I did not opt to pay for a monthly subscription going forward. As such, I can’t offer a recommendation on the content one way or the other.

I bought Elite Blog Academy® (EBA®) in 2014. It came with lifetime access so I have kept up with the revisions.

What does it teach?

How to use a blog to build an online business.

Who is it best for?

Someone willing to roll up their sleeves and dig in. The course will take months to work through. Think of it like a college course. It’s a solid framework, but there are many moving parts.

What method of making money online does it teach?

Creating and selling your own digital products, such as a course.

When is it open?

Officially, it opens once a year, in February or March.

How much does it cost?

In early 2020, it started at $1100. Future updates are included.

Are there incidental costs?

Yes. Many tools and services are recommended. Plan to spend at least a few extra hundred dollars on incidentals.

Who made it & are they qualified to teach it?

Ruth Soukup is a blogger, author and podcaster. She has built her blog into a 7-figure business. She is qualified.

Pros

Office hours. Ruth holds regular office hours on Zoom, a great place to get your questions answered. Watching replays of previous office hours is valuable too. Especially check out the extra trainings done during Spring 2020.

Community. The built-in community (Facebook Group) is 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.

Bonuses. In version 4.0, the bonuses definitely add more value. As I mentioned earlier, they provide in-depth information about specific topics.

Q&A videos. Each unit includes a video of Ruth answering questions from real students. The dialogue is helpful and informative.

Success stories. Many of Ruth’s students credit EBA® for their success. The program can, and has, worked for some.

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. EBA® organizes some of it for you.

Packaged well. It has a clean and simple interface. Getting around is easy and straightforward.

Access to any future versions. You’ll have “lifetime access for the life of the EBA® course.”

Cons

Stringent return policy. Don’t purchase EBA® with the intention of “checking it out” and getting your money back if it’s not for you. You must prove you completed the entire course before a refund will be issued.

Cost. For many, the total cost (course + incidentals) will be prohibitive. If you find yourself in that spot, please know, products like this are not a prerequisite to “making it” as a blogger.

Steady push to buy additional products. Within EBA® (in emails, during office hours, etc.) there are pushes to buy additional digital products supplemental to EBA® but not included in the price of EBA®.

Long runway. If you follow all the steps as they are presented and purchase the additional tools suggested, it will be quite a while before you start to gain traction and make your money back (12+ months is not unusual).

Limited technical help. While there is a lot of strategic help, it 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.

Overwhelm. 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.

Repeat information for some. This is a comprehensive course beginning with the basics. If you have any background in blogging or online marketing, you will likely be familiar with a good portion of the content.

Time commitment. I don’t think this can be overstated. You will not finish this course (properly at least) in a few weeks. It will take months. This is assuming working at least 5-10 hours a week. For some it has taken 8, 12, 18+ months to complete.

Outdated content. The current version of EBA® (4.0) was created in late 2018 and released in early 2019. In the blogging world, that’s quite old. While much of the information is timeless, there are parts that are no longer relevant. It’s especially difficult for newer bloggers to know the difference.

Conclusion

Elite Blog Academy® is for highly motivated individuals with a lot of drive, and who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. It shouldn’t be approached in a relaxed way. If you thrive in that type of environment, it’s worth a look.