Why You Shouldn’t Buy That Blogging Course
This blogger seems cool. You devour their income reports. You're on their list. You've attended their webinars. So when they announce that—surprise!—they're launching a blogging course that'll show you the EXACT strategies they used to grow their six-figure blog … it's hard to resist, right?
Fellow blogger, you're probably searching for the best blogging courses because you believe that the key—if you could only find it!—to making money with your blog is to find the right online course.
And that's exactly what online course creators want you to think. Let me explain.
Who am I to talk about the best blogging courses?
- I've been blogging since 2008.
- I scaled a travel blog to 100,000 pageviews and more than $5,000 of income a MONTH.
- I sold a blog for enough money to live off of for an entire year.
- I now own and operate three blogs.
- Since 2015, I've taken 10 blogging courses.
- I used to work as a digital marketing consultant, AND I almost sold my own online course, so I know the inner workings of marketing and sales (and how they can dupe you).
Here is a running list of ALL the blogging courses I have taken (Updated January 2021)
Below, I will continue adding all the blogging courses I've ever taken, and I will tell you which ones I think are worth it. I do NOT necessarily recommend all of the courses listed below. The ones that are bolded and linked are the ones I actually recommend.
- Instagram with Intention – I paid $97 for it.
- Pinfinite Growth – I bought it for $347
- Pinterest Traffic Avalanche – I bought it for $97
- Pinteresting Strategies – I bought it for $32
- Pajama Affiliates Affiliate Marketing and SEO Courses – I can't remember how much I bought it for, but it was under $100.
- Genius Bloggers Toolkit – I bought it for $97
- Pinterest Strategy Guide by The Busy Budgeter – I can't remember how much I bought it for, but pretty sure it was under $100.
- Six-Figure Bloggers by Create and Go – This course was given to me for free. I'm still working through this course, and it's REALLY good so far, but I can't give an honest recommendation until I complete it and implement the strategy. 🙂
- Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing – I bought it for $172
- Stupid Simple SEO – I bought it for $247.
- Niche Site Academy – I bought it for $297. I believe Niche Site Academy only opens for enrollment once per year in November.
- Perfecting Pinterest – I bought it for $101.90 (Sophia Lee ran a sale for it in January 2021).
- SEO Blueprint for Bloggers by Create and Go – It came included with their Pro Blogger Bundle (which they gifted to me a couple years ago).
In total, I've spent about $1,400 on blogging courses.
Why Blogging Courses Can Feel Like a Scam
I've seen blogging courses described as an MLM scheme. And while that's not entirely true, I can see how people arrive at that decision.
Many blogging course creators make a huge chunk of their money by selling their course to other bloggers, and those bloggers then promote said course to their blog readers who are, well, bloggers.
MLM schemes are the same in that they work by selling products to other marketers who then recruit more marketers to sell the product.
Why Blogging Course Reviews Can Mislead You
I can't tell you how many times I've bought a blogging course, gone through it, taken notes, applied the strategy—and then thought, “This didn't work for me like it did for all those people in the testimonials and reviews!”
- When you take a course about blogging—ANY course about blogging—you are always going to see an improvement at first. That's because you're putting more effort into it than you ever did before. For example: Let's say you've never used Pinterest to drive traffic to your blog before. You buy a Pinterest blogging course and use the strategy, and oh my gosh! You start getting traffic to your blog from Pinterest! That's literally because you used to put zero effort into Pinterest, and now you are putting some effort into it. It naturally follows that you'll see results—you'd see results without the course and with any other Pinterest course if you started putting effort into Pinterest.
- You're only hearing from the people who succeeded (not the ones who failed). People who take a blogging course and love it/see results from it are going to write reviews about it because they know they can make commissions as an affiliate. People who take a course and hate it/don't see results from it are VERY unlikely to write a review about it because A) it won't make them money and B) they don't want to “badmouth” anyone in the blogging world (it can come back to bite you).
Does that mean blogging course reviews can't be trusted? No. But they should ALWAYS be taken with a grain of salt.
5 Reasons You Should NOT Buy That Blogging Course You've Been Eyeing
So if you can't trust blogging course reviews, then what criteria should you use to determine if a course is right for you? Well, below, I've outlined three red flags that mean you shouldn't purchase a blogging course.
#1 The blogging course creator has NOT achieved what you want to achieve.
The closer the course creator's business success and life look to your dream business and life, the better.
You should avoid buying a course from someone who hasn't achieved what you want to achieve. For instance: If you're a travel blogger who wants to make money through affiliate marketing, and the course you're about to buy is from a food blogger who makes money on sponsored posts, you probably shouldn't buy their course. It's not that their info isn't useful or even transferable to your niche, but it's unlikely it will help you achieve your goals.
#2 The blogging course creator has only seen success with this strategy on ONE blog.
In other words, if someone sells a course about affiliate marketing because they were able to make $10K a month with their blog using this strategy–that could just be luck. But if they were able to use that SAME strategy on two or more (the more, the better) blogs, then you KNOW it wasn't luck. The results have been tested and replicated more than once, suggesting that the strategy they're touting actually works.
#3 The course creator's free content is crap.
Before buying a blogging course from someone, check out their blog. Sign up for ALL their free stuff–the webinars, the email courses. Does their free stuff provide REAL value? Value you couldn't find elsewhere? Then that's usually a good sign that their paid stuff will be excellent.
If their free stuff is just fluff or poor quality, then be wary.
#4 You have to go into debt or take on significant financial burden just to buy the course.
I remember how painful it was back in 2016. I was in debt, I was trying to grow my blog's income so I could be financially stable, and I was always eyeing all these shiny blogging courses. I regret spending so much money on one course in particular.
If you have to go into debt or take on a significant financial burden to buy that blogging course—don't do it! Instead, focus on free blogging resources and just keep at it. Success with making money blogging is really all about the time and effort you put in. There is no one course that will save you. It really takes 1 to 2 years to get your blog to a full-time income (say, $4,000/month). It really requires patience.
#5 The person who took the course and is recommending the course to you is at a LOWER level than you.
A lot of times we buy courses because our blogger friends keep saying how AMAZING the course was. But here's the thing: Is this blogger friend as well-versed in SEO as you are? Is this the FIRST course on affiliate marketing she's ever taken? If your blogger friend has a lower level of knowledge than you in a specific area taught in a course—then DO NOT TAKE HER ADVICE.
Here's a real-life example: The first course I ever took on affiliate marketing was Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. And guess what? I loved the course! I even used to be an affiliate for that course, and I used to recommend it to others.
BUT then I started taking more affiliate marketing courses from other creators, and I realized that Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing was very basic.
So what happened? Did I lie? Did I intentionally mislead my readers? No and no. It's just that because I had never taken any other affiliate marketing course, I thought MSOAM was the best one out there. Now that I'm more experienced with affiliate marketing and have taken other courses on it, I know it's not the one I'd recommend. It's not a bad course, but it's a course best reserved for beginners.
The Blogging Courses I'm Going to Buy in 2020
#1 Niche Site Academy by Mike Pearson **Update January 2021: Bought the course and LOVED it**
So I've completed the Niche Site Academy course and have already launched my niche site based on Mike Pearson's strategy. The site is in the education space, and it's one month old and has 14 published posts. If you're interested in following my Niche Site Academy niche site progress, check out my niche site case studies.
I've taken Mike's Stupid Simple SEO course and was blown away by the depth and breadth of his information. Also, Mike has replicated results. He doesn't have just ONE successful blog, he has at LEAST four. I've also been following him for years, and he's proven his knowledge and integrity time and again.
#2 Build Blog Freedom Fast Track by Sharon Gourlay
I owe Sharon a debt of gratitude. I've been following her for at least three years, as she got her start in travel blogging (as did I). Well, believe me when I say Sharon is the main reason I successfully sold my travel blog for GOOD money and was able to pay off all my debt, go on vacation for four months, and have enough savings for a year.
I trust Sharon because I've read her blogging tips, read her blogging ebook, participated in her Facebook community, and I've ever talked to her one on one before for free, and she gave me advice on selling my blog.
On top of that, Sharon is doing EXACTLY what I want to do: She builds, scales, and sells niche blogs. She has proven that her formula works over and over, and I only buy blogging courses from people doing what I want to achieve.
#3 Perfecting Pinterest by Sophia Lee **Update January 2021: Bought the course and was surprised by how GOOD it is!**
Okay, so at first, I didn't buy the course in December 2020 as planned. I figured it went against the rules I laid out above, so why would I buy it? It's a course created by a blogger, Sophia Lee, who has NOT replicated her success with a second blog. But…when Sophia put the course on sale for 21% off in January 2021, I couldn't resist. And I am SO glad I bought it. She taught me things I never knew before about Pinterest. I am implementing her strategies now, and I will keep you updated on my Pinterest account's progress. To follow along, check out my review of Sophia Lee's Perfecting Pinterest course.
Now, Sophia Lee is a blogger I don't know too much about. I only stumbled across her blog a couple of weeks ago. So why am I willing to purchase her brand new Pinterest Perfect course?
- She has achieved insane success with her Pinterest account, and it's her blog's main source of traffic. Of course, as I said above, just because a blogger is successful with ONE blog doesn't mean their strategy actually works; they could just be lucky. But even though Sophia has only one successful blog, I'm willing to take her course anyway because of the following reason:
- It's sold for a very affordable price. I have enough money to invest in my business, so I'm not worried if the course ends up not working for me.
- I'm curious and want to compare all the Pinterest courses side by side for my readers. I'm more curious than anything. I'll let you know how it goes!
#4 Project 24 by Income School **Update January 2021: Bought the course and am overwhelmed by how much there is inside!**
I haven't finished Project 24 because it has SO MANY freaking modules and courses within courses. It might take me an entire year to get through everything. Stay tuned!
Oh, I LOVE Jim and Ricky! I first came across their YouTube videos on the Income School channel, and I was HOOKED. The reason I trust them:
- If you watch their YouTube videos alone, you'll gain immense value. I'm surprised they give the kind of info they give away for FREE. It's solid and detailed.
- Jim and Ricky have MULTIPLE successful blogs. In 2018 alone, they generated over $1 million of income blogging. In fact, you can see the 10+ blogs they've scaled and sold right here.
- They give a realistic timeline of 24 months to earn income from your blog. These guys don't overhype blogging or make false promises. They give you a realistic timeline of expectation: 24 months. I think this is fair and saves people a lot of heartache.
Which Are the Best Blogging Courses in Your Opinion?
As you can see, blogging courses are a huge industry with big money-making potential. Because of this, it becomes tricky to figure out which courses are truly the BEST blogging courses, and which are simply meh. It will require a lot of trial and error, and I suggest you get yourself in a good financial position to invest in your business first.
Of the 12 blogging courses I've taken, I can only recommend five. That means only 42% of blogging courses were worth my money and time. Not even half.
But let me assure you of this: There is NO one blogging course that will catapult you to success. If you can't afford that $1,000 course–don't buy it. Read all the free content you can. Keep at it. Be patient. You will get there with or without a blogging course, though the latter usually does speed up your progress IF it's a good course.
Which are the best blogging courses in your opinion? Leave a comment below to help your fellow bloggers!