I'm sharing my honest review of Elite Blog Academy, a course by Ruth Soukup that teaches bloggers how to turn their blog into a successful business.
After retiring our course for new bloggers, Building a Framework (which helped more than 11,000 people start and grow their blogs), we've become inundated with the question, "Is there a course that you recommend as a replacement?!"
We love to help bloggers-- and have a special place in our hearts for new bloggers especially-- so Donnie and I are currently in the process of looking into other "start a blog" type courses to figure out what the best blogging courses currently are.
Whenever we had Framework for sale, the course that we most heard people compare it to-- and probably the blogging course that many people have heard most about-- was Elite Blog Academy by Ruth Soukup.
So we decided to dive into Elite Blog Academy (aka EBA) for ourselves and after going through the course materials, wanted to share our honest review of the course.
My Honest Review of Elite Blog Academy 4.0
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
Note: I have chosen to be an affiliate for Elite Blog Academy because I think it can significantly grow the businesses of bloggers who are a great fit for the course and whose business goals align with what EBA teaches. I recommend reading through this review in its entirety before deciding whether or not EBA is a good fit for you!
What Is Elite Blog Academy?
Elite Blog Academy is a course for bloggers that sets out a proven framework for creating a profitable online business. It opens to the public for enrollment once per year. (The enrollment period is usually the first week of March each year.)
The course is made up of four modules with three units per module for a total of 12 units. Each unit contains a video, where Ruth hits on the main points of the topic at hand, and a workbook that gives additional information and provides three in-depth assignments.
Each unit also includes a Q & A session that delves deeper into the topic and a video transcript.
The modules and units for Elite Blog Academy are as follows:
- Module 1- Refine Your Message
- Unit 1- Start with the Fundamentals
- Unit 2- Conquer Your Content
- Unit 3- Presentation Is Everything
- Module 2- Grow Your Traffic
- Unit 4- Set the Stage for Growth
- 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 Products
- 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
In addition to the core modules and units in EBA, there is also a bonus section that includes supplemental courses (free for EBA students) that dive deeper into several topics.
The Elite Blog Academy 4.0 bonuses cover the following topics:
- Google Analytics
- Budgeting for your blog
- Setting up a blog
- Creating welcome videos
- Traffic growth
- Pinterest & Tailwind
- Graphic design
- Email list growth
- Working with brands
- Affiliate marketing
- Connecting with the media
There is also an FAQ section, a resource guide that lists all of the different tools mentioned in the course, and a Facebook group where EBA students can connect with one another.
First Impressions of Elite Blog Academy
My very first impression of EBA-- before I had even looked at one bit of the course for myself-- was that it was expensive.
Running at about $1100 for the base package, I immediately suspected that it was overpriced and was probably cheating people out of their money. There are a lot of high priced blogging courses out there, and in my experience, not many of them live up to the hype, and I figured that EBA probably fell into that category too.
But then I attended a mastermind weekend with some blog friends last year, and Ruth (the founder of EBA) happened to be one of the bloggers there.
All of the girls at our mastermind weekend. Or maybe more realistically... 😉
As I listened to her give input and share ideas throughout the weekend, it quickly became apparent to me that she was not only brilliant, but that our philosophy about the best way to grow an online business-- through nurturing an email list and providing helpful products-- was very similar.
After spending time with Ruth in person and developing a respect for her as a brilliant business woman, I knew that if we ever decided to retire Framework, that it would be totally worth taking a look into Elite Blog Academy because I had seen that Ruth truly had valuable wisdom to share.
The Ideal Audience for Elite Blog Academy
After going through the EBA materials myself, I wouldn't recommend the course to every single blogger out there. (I have never come across any course where that was the case!) But for a certain type of blogger, I think it could be a game changer for their business.
Is Elite Blog Academy helpful for brand new bloggers?
Although I had often heard EBA compared to our Building a Framework course, I think they were designed for somewhat different audiences. While Framework was meant for brand new bloggers looking to set up and grow their blog, I don't think EBA would be ideal for someone who has just decided to enter the blogging world for the first time.
EBA is not designed to be a technical guide to setting up every process that they talk about implementing in the course.
It does include access to the videos from "Build Your Blog Bootcamp," which Ruth runs prior to the launch of EBA, and walks through the technical aspects of setting up a blog.
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In addition, the way Ruth talks about blogging and different strategies throughout the course assumes that the student has a base knowledge of the concepts that she's diving deeper into. Having spent lots of time with brand new bloggers over the past 5 years through our own Framework course, I think the majority of them would be overwhelmed.
That being said, while EBA might not be ideal as the very first course for the type of blogger I was when I first started (not knowing ANYTHING and starting from absolute square one), I can see it working well for a newer blogger whose personality is more like my husband Donnie's.
Donnie is a major researcher and has always had a very entrepreneurial mindset. He was listening to podcasts and reading articles and books about online business waaaaaayyyy before either of us ventured into the online world ourselves. He is a very patient problem solver, so he is really great with getting the technical side of the business setup because he is willing to dive in, do the research, and take the time to figure it out.
If someone is going into blogging with a base knowledge and background information like Donnie had, I think they could jump right into EBA and find it very helpful and not overwhelming.
If they were more like me and basically woke up one day and said, "I'm going to start a blog today!" and then were going to figure it out from there, I wouldn't recommend EBA as the very first thing they start with.
For someone who struggles with the technical side of blogging or has a personality that prefers a lot of hand holding and specific step-by-step instruction, I definitely would not recommend EBA, as that is not really what it is designed to do.
The EBA approach is more, "Here is what you need to do for your business, and here are the guidelines to adhere to for doing it well. Now take that information and go implement it in your own blog and business (which will probably take some additional research to figure out the nitty gritty of how to put it into place)."
The Ideal Elite Blog Academy Student
I think the most ideal audience for EBA would be someone who has been blogging for a little while (perhaps six months to a year or so), has gotten their site set up, has started creating helpful content and is gaining some traction with traffic, has a basic understanding of social media best practices, and has started to build relationships with other bloggers in their niche.
At that point, they are probably looking for a way to turn their blog that has started to gain a little bit of momentum into a purposeful, profitable business, and I think that's where EBA would be a great fit for them.
The most important trait of the ideal EBA student would be someone who is a self starter and who will take total responsibility for growing their own blog and business.
Going through the EBA videos and reading through the workbooks is only a small part of the course. Diving head first into the assignments and committing to completing each and every one to the absolute best of their ability is what will most help students see the blog and business growth they are looking for.
Is Elite Blogging Academy helpful for experienced bloggers?
I think that depends on what the blogger's goals are. As a 7-year blogging veteran myself, there was definitely information in EBA that I knew already; however, it was really helpful for me to see how someone who had a similar business philosophy to mine worked and ran her business.
I learned new strategies for affiliate marketing, launching products, and business organization that will earn profits for my business that will far surpass the cost of EBA.
EBA could also be beneficial for bloggers who are further on in their journey, are feeling pulled in all sorts of different directions, and are looking for a proven path to solid growth. And speaking of which...
What Elite Blog Academy Does Really Well
Setting a Proven Path
What I appreciated most about EBA-- and the way I think it will most benefit my own business-- is that it helps to clear away all the noise of allllllll of the different advice that bloggers hear all over the place and basically says, "No. You don't need to do ALL the things. Here are the most important things to focus on. Stay on this path, don't get caught up in all of the vanity metrics and the latest trendy growth strategy, and you will be successful."
I may be a little biased because, as I mentioned before, Ruth and I both share a love for growing and nurturing an email list and creating our own products, but I love how she really homes in on the best ways to do those things and doesn't have time for the vanity metrics that so many people spend tons of time focusing on.
And speaking of product creation, Ruth provided a ton of quality, helpful information on this topic. Not only does she explain the purpose and the strategy behind product creation, she also provides tons of templates for launch calendars, email sequences, and even videos to use during a product launch.
(Again, the course doesn't provide technical walkthroughs of sales platforms or landing page creators-- that part will be up to the student to figure out-- but it does provide a lot of insight on what to do once you have the technical side of things figured out.)
We have launched tons of products and consider it to be one of the strengths of our business, and I still learned several new strategies that I was able to incorporate into the launch of our Impactful Habits, Organized Home course this year.
I am confident that the knowledge in this section of the course alone has made my business more in profit than the cost of the course many times over.
Business Structure and Organization
I also really appreciated that Ruth's course took the time to talk about business structure, both with setting up a team hierarchy (even if you are currently the only person on the team!) to organize how jobs should be distributed and organizing your "digital world" by creating systems for task and content management.
Both of these are weaknesses of my current business, and I love that I now have some clear guidance for how to get organized and put a better structure into place.
Where Elite Blog Academy Could Improve
For all of the opportunities that exist with Facebook these days, between running ads, building a "list" with Messenger, and taking advantage of groups, I felt like EBA was pretty silent on this topic. Ruth does recommend running Facebook ads for specific purposes, but I couldn't find anymore information on the issue within EBA other than that I am supposed to be running FB ads in some capacity.
I almost widened the net on this part of the review to include all of social media because in the course itself, there wasn't a ton of hard and fast info on social. But then I took a look at the partner bonuses, and Pinterest and Instagram are both addressed in more depth in that section, so don't skip the bonuses if you are looking for more information about social media!
Side note relating to social media: The course definitely places a lot of emphasis on the email list + products business model (which I love and is the model I follow for my own business!), but I know there are some of bloggers who follow (and have been successful with) more the "influencer" model and heavily utilize Instagram for monetization and growth.
I don't think EBA would be a great fit for someone who is looking to learn about and follow the "influencer" model, simply because that is just not a focus of this particular course.
A Few Small Bumps in the Road
There were a couple times in the course where specific advice was given that is contrary to the most recent information I have read on the topic.
For instance, one note recommends avoiding hashtags in Pinterest descriptions when, as far as I am aware, Pinterest brought back the use of hashtags for search purposes and it is now best practice to utilize a few hashtags when creating descriptions on pins.
This only occurred two times and each time was on a small, quick note, but in an honest review, I felt like it was worth mentioning. Overall and on all of the major points of the course, I found the advice given to be spot on and very helpful.
The Tech Side of Things
I have mentioned this a few times, but EBA is not a course where there is a ton of "how to" on setting up the technical side of blogs, email systems, course platforms, or other tools.
This is not necessarily a criticism of the course because I don't think the intention of EBA was to be a technical guide, and the omission of these types of tutorials seems very purposeful.
But I do think that it is important that anyone who purchases EBA goes into it with the understanding that for a lot of the technical elements, the students will have to do more research and figure it out on their own.
That being said, Ruth offers a "Build Your Blog Bootcamp" before EBA opens for enrollment that walks new bloggers through the process of getting a blog set up. The Bootcamp is then available inside the EBA portal for purchasers.
As I mentioned previously, there are also a few of the bonuses that meet the technical need in some capacity, such as the "5 Simple Ways to Start Troubleshooting WordPress" bonus by Agathon.
Tips for Working Through Elite Blog Academy
I didn't want to end my review of EBA without giving some thoughts about how to go about completing the course-- because if students are going to invest the money in it, completion is key!
There is a lot of info included in EBA. Ruth recommends spending at least a week working through each module and completing the assignments, though I would bet that it takes most students closer to six months to one year to finish everything.
I urge anyone who takes the course not so skip the assignments! I feel like the real "meat" of EBA is done via the Socratic method-- where the workbook provides a series of questions that require the student to think critically about their business in order to answer them. (As a former teacher, I love this stuff! 🙂 )
If someone would just watch the videos, read the workbooks, and scan the assignments without actually doing them, they would miss the bulk of the benefit of EBA. Doing the assignments thoroughly and to the best of your ability is key to actually experiencing the benefits that EBA promises.
I recommend that students set aside time each week to work on completing the course and assignments. Consistent, intentional growth will be much better than trying to speed through the course or just working on it here and there.
It may also be helpful to have an accountability partner to go through the course with. This could help with staying on schedule and making sure the assignments are completed with attention to detail.
Having an accountability partner would give students a sounding board for ideas and people to discuss the course material with, providing even more depth and insight.
The EBA Facebook group will provide some accountability, but I think there could be real benefits from going through the course with a partner or in a group of three.
Free Blogging Resources from Ruth Soukup
If you happen to be reading this when the Elite Blogging Academy enrollment period has closed or you just want to learn more about Ruth and her teaching style before committing to EBA, here are some helpful free resources that she offers for bloggers:
- 120 Awesome Blog Post Ideas
- 7 Surefire Ways to Boost Your Blog Income Overnight
- The Essential Blog Post Promotion Checklist
- The Beginner's Guide to Branding Your Blog
- The EBA Blog Structure Blueprint
One of the biggest hurdles I had to overcome when I was first starting my blog was feeling scared to jump in and take the leap! Ruth has a new book called Do It Scared that addresses these fears (not just with blogging, but in all of life!) and how to face them head on. You can grab some sample chapters of Do It Scared here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Elite Blog Academy worth the price?
I think that EBA is absolutely worth the price for the right blogger whose goals match up with what EBA is teaching.
I think that it is important for the student to be a self starter who takes ownership of the success of their own business and to commit working through each module and unit in its entirety to the best of their ability.
I also think it is helpful if the student is patient enough to learn new systems and technology (or has the money to hire it out) and desires to build their business through nurturing an email list and creating and selling their own products.
I would recommend having at least a basic background knowledge of blogging and online business (and the terms that go along with it) before jumping into EBA.
If a student meets the criteria that I mentioned above and completes the entire course, I think they will make back the money they invested into EBA, probably several times over, and so I would say that the course is worth the investment.
On the other hand, if a student does not meet the criteria that I mentioned above or has doubts about their ability to follow through and complete the course as it is laid out (and the assignments are challenging-- it will take time!), I would not recommend that they invest in EBA until they have the time, energy, passion, and money to really do it right.
In a phrase: Fit is everything!!!
Who is Elite Blog Academy for?
Elite Blog Academy is for bloggers who are...
- self starters
- good at follow through and can commit to completing the entire course to the best of their ability
- able to set aside some time each week to consistently work on the course
- feeling scattered and want to focus their business using a proven path to success
- excited about nurturing an email list and creating their own products (and/or being an enthusiastic affiliate for others' products!)
- looking to turn their blog into a full fledged business
- patient enough to figure out technical elements of new email systems, blog systems, course creation systems, and more (or are able to hire it out)
Who is Elite Blog Academy not for?
Elite Blog Academy is not for bloggers who...
- prefer to have someone walk them through nitty gritty details step by step
- have no patience for figuring out technical elements (Confession: This is me! I am terrible at the tech stuff and rely on Donnie SO much for this part.) and don't want to hire it out
- don't have any extra time in their schedule to work on the course
- don't have great follow through and are pretty sure they would never finish the course (I'm not trying to be harsh here! I just don't want someone to spend the money-- because it is a big investment-- if they're not going to actually do the whole course!)
- prefer to follow the "influencer" model (relying heavily on Instagram/social media as their primary method of monetization and growth), rather than growing an email list and creating their own products (I have friends who are successful at that model; it's just not what this particular course is about.)
Still not sure if EBA is right for you? You can take an assessment to figure it out here.
Does Elite Blog Academy really work?
There are several strategies that I have learned from EBA that I put in place over the past year, particularly when launching our organizing course. These strategies definitely helped to improve our overall business and help us to become more profitable.
EBA can do amazing things when the blogger is a good fit for the course and puts in the work to complete it in its entirety. You can visit the Elite Blog Academy success stories page here.
How long does it take to complete the Elite Blog Academy course?
The time it takes to complete EBA will greatly vary by student, based on where they are in their blogging journey and how much time they have to devote to the course.
Ruth recommends that students spend at least one week per unit, meaning that at a minimum, it would take 12 weeks to get through the entire course. I am guessing that it takes most people longer than that. (probably between six months to a year)
When does Elite Blog Academy open enrollment?
EBA opens to the public once per year, in March. The enrollment period for 2020 is March 2-6, 2020.
To get the most recent news about EBA and to be notified of the next registration period, you can join the waitlist here.
Are there tech trainings included in Elite Blog Academy?
Ruth offers a "Build Your Blog Bootcamp" (for free) before EBA opens for enrollment that walks people through the technical elements of how to set up a blog. The Bootcamp is also available to purchasers in the EBA portal.
Additionally, there is some technical help in in the bonus section of the course that students can use to get set up or do basic troubleshooting in WordPress.
Beyond that, students should be prepared to do some additional digging on their own when setting up technical elements related to the concepts taught in the course.
If you are reading this in a window where Build Your Blog Bootcamp and/or EBA are not currently open for enrollment but would like to set up your blog, we have a very comprehensive post about how to start a blog here.
Is there a Facebook group for Elite Blog Academy?
Yes, there is a Facebook group where EBA students can ask questions and network with one another.
As of the date of this writing, there are about 6500 members in the group (though I'm sure that number will jump up as 2020 enrollment happens).
Members are required to sign off on a set of terms and conditions before being admitted to the group.
Is there a promo code for Elite Blog Academy?
There is not a promo code or discount code for Elite Blog Academy (that I am aware of) at this time. EBA opens to the public once per year for enrollment with set pricing.
What is the Elite Blog Academy refund policy?
The EBA refund policy states that students must submit homework from all 36 assignments in the course within 180 days of purchasing to receive a refund. You can view the full refund policy here.
Whew!! If you are still reading this, you should win some sort of award or something! That was a lot of info!
I hope this was a helpful look into Elite Blog Academy! I think that when it is a good fit for the blogger, it could definitely be a catalyst for big growth in their business.
And if it's not a good fit? That's okay too! EBA won't be for everyone. What I love about blogging is that there are so many people finding success in all different ways.
If you dream of growing your own blog and online business, I can't wait to see where you go from here!
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Have other questions about Elite Blog Academy? Leave them in the comments and I will answer them as best I can!
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.