I’m not finished creating content for my Site Build It! powered niche site yet, but have done enough to be able to comment on the tools.
The core of day 6 is the Site Builder tool. This is what allows anyone to create a professional website even if they know nothing about HTML.
Site Builder, like most of the SBI! tools, favors efficiency over glitz. The tool is not a What You See Is What You Get graphical editor of web pages, but a block by block editor. You can drop into your page multiple kinds of blocks, including headlines, text paragraphs, links, images, and more. You can also upload your own HTML if you prefer to write your own pages.
While I’m comfortable with writing HTML, I wanted to use Site Builder the same way a novice would. So I’m sticking with block by block editing.
The first step in Site Builder is to choose your site’s look and feel. There are around 100 prebuilt themes that you can use with a single click. Each can also be customized in various ways to make it your own. You can also use a completely custom theme by uploading the files to Site Builder.
The second step is to write your site’s home page. The home page does not have all the options that other pages in the site do. A home page is basically a headline and a big text block. The goal is to keep the home page simple, and get visitors to click through the various navigation links to other pages in the site. Site Builder does let you easily enter META keywords and description.
Where Site Builder really shines is in the Analyze It! button.
As you’re creating a page, you can click Analyze It! to get an evaluation of your page. It checks the keyword density of the page, the inter-site linking from page to page, the presence of the page’s keyword in key areas, etc. Basically, every SEO trick the Site Build It! team could come up with is programmed into Analyze It!. The result is that you don’t need to know SEO yourself in order to build a nicely optimized page. Just follow all the Analyze It! recommendations.
Some lesser used features that are also built into the tool are the ability to pop under one of your pages when your home page is displayed, and the ability to require a password be entered before a page can be viewed.
Day 6 also involves setting up email for your site. I opted to use Google Apps for the domain, and the SBI! guide has detailed instructions on getting that setup.
The only problem I had with Site Builder is that there’s no “save as draft” feature. So you can’t write a dozen interrelated pages and then publish them all at once. Pages must be ready for visitors when you publish them. This isn’t a problem when you first start building your site, since the search engines don’t know about it yet, but after you’ve started to get some traffic you need to make sure any page you publish is suitable to be seen by real visitors.
I estimate that I’ll have anywhere from 40 to 50 pages in the site when I’m done. The amount of keyword research credits Site Build It! gives you was more than enough for identifying the main keyword for the site, and the keywords for all the tier 2 pages. There won’t be enough, though, for identifying all the tier 3 keywords. And the SBI! keyword research tool is really overkill for tier 3 pages. I plan to use the Google Adwords keyword tool for tier 3 keywords, and save my remaining SBI! credits for researching entirely new niches.
I’d say I’m about 15% done with Day 6. Day 7 is about traffic generation, but I don’t expect I’ll be there for some time yet. Meanwhile, the neglected site on this same niche has been submitted to directories already, and is waiting for traffic to arrive.