Site Build It! Day 5

Site Build It! day 5 is a relatively short day, but an important one.

This day is where you decide what sort of voice your site will have, what it’s spin will be. What makes your site different from any generic site out there in your niche?

The importance of having a personality online, of having a voice, cannot be stressed enough. You must be someone to your visitors. They take action not based on your flawless logic or perfectly researched information, but based on how you come across, who they feel that you are. The most successful bloggers know this, and develop an online personality. John Chow, for example, cultivates his reputation for being “evil”, even though most of what he does is old news to people who have been in Internet Marketing for a while.

Day 5 is also the day you choose your domain name. Normal Internet Marketing wisdom would have you pick a keyword based domain name for a niche site. So if you were writing a site with board game reviews, you’d try to get boardgamereviews.com. Common wisdom is to avoid dashes, because it’s a pain to try and tell someone the URL in person.

The Site Build It! guide also recommends a keyword based domain name, but from there diverges a bit from common wisdom. They suggest adding on to the domain name a word or two that reflects the spin your website puts on the niche. They also suggest using hyphens, especially if you do the vast majority of your business online. A hyphenated domain name is just as easy to click as a non-hyphenated one, search engines don’t care, and the hyphens help people reading the link online easily parse the words embedded in the link.

So the board game site might use, when following SBI!’s advice, board-game-reviews.com. The advantage of using hyphens is that those names might still be available, where boardgamereviews.com might not be (especially if it’s a good niche keyword). Adding in your unique spin also helps you to use the keyword based name you want even if it’s taken, by adding in a word or two. For example, if you create an online personality named Sam who is writing all the reviews, you might use board-game-reviews-by-Sam.com.

It’s an interesting approach to domain names, and it’s hard to argue with the numerous success stories linked to throughout the guide.

The Search It! tool makes it convenient to check to see if anyone has a trademark registered for your domain name. Legally, you can be forced to give up a domain name that is registered as a trademark to someone else, so this is an important step that’s easy to skip. SBI! makes it easy to check.

Domain name registration is included with your Site Build It! fee, and is automatically renewed for you every year at no extra charge. Registration is quick and easy and done entirely through your SBI! membership area.

Day 6 is about using their Site Builder! tool to create the site. I’m pretty excited about some of the Web2.0 functionality the tool has, but don’t expect to use that initially. I expect creating the first pass of the site will take a far longer “day” than day 5 did, so will report back when I’m far enough along to get a feel for the tools.

I’ve been talking about the process that the SBI! action guide takes you through in these review posts. I recently discovered that there’s a public version of the action guide, so you can read through it yourself to get a more in-depth feel for the SBI! process.

Site Build It! Day 4

The Site Build It! process is a 10 day process. Days 1 through 3 have you exploring and identifying niches, finally coming out of day 3 with a niche that looks like it has good traffic and low competition. If you remember from my post, Site Build It! First Impressions, using SBI!’s tools I’d identified a higher traffic keyword for my niche than I’d originally found.

Day 4 is all about deciding if the traffic can be converted into income or not.

Adsense, of course, is one of the monetization models they look at in some detail since it’s appropriate to most sites. Following the guide, I found that my niche has just about the minimum they recommend for relying on Adsense as a primary means of monetization (ten keywords at the $1 a click range with decent search volume).

Relying on a single source of income for a site is generally a bad idea, though, so I also plan to offer some affiliate links to related products. Combining Adsense with affiliate links can sometimes lead to inappropriate Adsense ads, such as ads about the product you’re linking to (you want the sale, you don’t want them to get sidetracked onto the ad for the product).

SBI! has another tool that makes it very easy to build a list of excluded ads you can put into your Adsense account. Their Search It! tool has a wide variety of options. If you choose Monetization in the left hand drop down, Preview Google Adsense Ads in the right drop down, then type a search phrase in the left hand text box and click Search It!, you’ll get a page showing the current Adsense ads for that keyword. You can build up a list of ads to filter by clicking the Filter link below each ad.

So using Search It!, I can easily filter out competing ads while still allowing ads that don’t directly compete with my affiliate links.

The SBI! process looks at a full range of monetization options, and for each one includes case studies from sites that have successfully used that particular monetization option. They have a couple dozen monetization options in their planning worksheet, and a private forum for members to use for brainstorming other ways to monetize specific niches.

At the end of Day 4, I’ve identified Adsense and affiliate marketing as the primary ways to monetize my niche, and made some notes about collecting the content I write for the niche into an ebook to sell on the site as well. Given the niche, dropshipping physical products is also a strong possibility. The niche also works well for a site newsletter, once I think I can generate enough extra content for it. I’ve also identified Google Base as a terrific place to submit content to for extra traffic, given the niche.

One key message of Day 4 is to make every visitor to your site earn for you in some way. Not all of them will click on ads or join your newsletter or buy something, but offer enough monetization options, worked naturally into the site, and many of them will choose at least one of those options.

Another key message is that while you have to know you can monetize your site effectively, you don’t want to do that right away. Creating quality content is the first step…don’t waste time monetizing until you have enough quality content attracting traffic to make it worth your time. This is especially true for someone like me who has a limited amount of time to work on a site each week. Content must be the first priority in the beginning! Their general guideline is to monetize only when you have 30+ pages of original content on your site, and are getting around 30 visitors a day.

Other niche sites I’ve created have been mostly neglected sites, created with as little effort as possible to see if any traffic would arrive and stick. The SBI! process guides you through identifying a great candidate for a site you can invest time and effort into creating original content for, and be confident the effort won’t be wasted.

And to give SBI! the full test, I’ve created one of my neglected niche sites on this same niche. It took me a couple of hours, and I’ll submit it to directories in the coming months to get traffic started to it. The neglected niche site has a head start, but the SBI! site will have quality content and the full power of SBI!’s tools behind it. We’ll see which one does better.

Day 5 is all about figuring out the unique spin the site will have and choosing a domain name. I’ll post again once I’ve finished that step.

Click here for more info about SBI!.

Site Build It! First Impressions

Site Build It! is a web hosting offering that features a graphical way of building web sites.

At least, that’s what I thought when I first came across SBI. I ran across an ad for it, looked through the sales pages, bookmarked one, and moved on.

Months later, I came across a very nice set of niche keywords…good traffic, low competition, etc, and decided to create a site for the keywords. I wanted this niche site to be more than just a neglected niche site, because the keyword potential for it is quite good. I wanted to create some real content and value for visitors.

SBI makes a lot of claims about what they can do for you, so I thought I’d combine efforts and use it for the new niche site, and get a series of review posts out of the deal.

I’ve created a new category for all the SBI related posts, because as I get more and more into it, I realize that SBI doesn’t fit neatly into any of my existing categories. Or rather, it functions in multiple categories at the same time.

Calling Site Build It! a web host is misleading. SBI is a process for creating profitable online web sites. SBI provides all the tools you need to do this, including keyword research, autoresponders, ad tracking, etc.

You can click here to see a nice summary listing of SBI’s features. Scroll down to where it says “Click here to compare SBI! to Yahoo! and 1&1.com”, and click the link to show the table.

Initially, the price of SBI put me off. It works out to about $25 a month. Since I’m currently paying $5 a month for web hosting, and don’t really need a graphical website creator, it seemed like I would be wasting $20 a month. That’s one of the reasons it took me a few months to come back to SBI.

I did finally come back, and take a closer look at the features in the comparison chart. Here’s what I currently pay now for various services:

o) Hosting, $5 a month
o) Ad tracking/autoresponders, $18 a month
o) Nichebot keyword research, $10 a month
o) Domain name, $0.75 a month

For a grand total of $33.75 a month. SBI’s $25 a month with those features included suddenly started looking better.

You can’t pay for SBI month by month, but must pay year by year. This is fairly normal, to get the best web hosting prices you’ve always had to pay on a yearly basis, or more. At SBI, the yearly interval ensures that you’re committed to spending the time to build your business, which is where SBI really shines.

Once I signed up, I received an email that contains some links to training videos. I was tempted to skip them, since I’ve created websites before, but figured I’d go through the whole process to be able to review it.

And that’s just what SBI is, a process.

What you get in the training videos and related material is a step by step process that walks you through identifying a profitable niche, designing the site, creating the site, promoting the site, and finding ways to monetize the site.

So far I’ve only gone through the process of identifying a profitable niche. The SBI keyword tools pull data from the professional Wordtracker database, and combine that information with data SBI’s own web spider calculates.

I already had a keyword picked out, but for the fun of it I did the keyword research. Turns out there was a much higher traffic keyword than the one I’d picked out that had a similar lack of websites supplying useful information (Supply is one of the factors that SBI calculates for you).

So my original site idea will still work, but I’ll end up targeting higher traffic keywords.

The next step in the process is to design the structure of the site by determining which keyword the home page will target, which keywords the second tier pages will target, and which keywords the third tier pages will target.

Once I’ve gone through that process, I’ll post again to let you know how it went.

Oh, and note that SBI has not asked me to choose a domain name yet…most web hosts start their services after you’ve done your research and picked a niche. SBI starts from the very beginning, and guides you to a good domain name after you’ve picked the niche and designed the structure of the site.

So far, I’ve been blown away by SBI. I’ve been creating websites for years at traditional web hosts, where you get a CPanel interface and not much else. By comparison, SBI, where you get training material that walks you through the process of creating an online business, is very nice.

SBI does target themselves to non-techies, and the training material is well suited to that level. Their goal is to allow any small business owner to put their business online, or any individual to create a profitable niche site, regardless of their previous online experience.

Click here to read more about Site Build It! or watch some videos about it.