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Ken Evoy’s SiteBuildIt Versus WordPress Blogs – WHAT?

An ActiveBlogging Member mentioned an email he received on Ken Evoy’s ‘blog attack‘ recently. I had read the email before, but didn’t want to comment on it.

But, when a member asks, I try to answer…

First off, I want to say that I have the utmost respect for Ken and his products. I bought one of his reports many years ago (‘Make Your Site Sell‘, now free to download), and found it delightful and a great guide to search engine optimization.

And although I’ve never personally used his Site Build It website packages, I’ve heard good things about them (with the exception of cost, which is somewhat high).

However, his current attack on blogging is disturbing to say the least. Here’s why:

Blogging is NOT WordPress. It’s very easy to attack blogging – many people are doing it wrong. You shouldn’t start a blog talking about your day, or your hobbies (unless they can be moneymaking), or mundane things. These kind of blogs take a long time to build traffic, and can wear you out. Instead, focus on tight, profitable subjects, use good keywords in your posts, and be ready to monetize visitors at every opportunity.

However, in his discussion, blogging and WordPress are used at times interchangeably, since he moves from attacking blogging to attacking blog tools that ‘duplicate’ standard websites. One is writing; the other is a tool.

The difference is huge: I only write (blog) on a few of my sites, but I use WordPress on just about all of them. It fills in as a static site, with easy to manage pages (far easier than anything I used before blog tools). I use it for sales sites. I even use it for ‘fake’ blogs, where I string together articles I didn’t write on topics I’m not interested in – but that make me money (shhh, don’t tell anyone). WordPress as a tool is extremely flexible and can do just about anything. But successful blogging requires more attention and care to succeed.

And ‘blogging’ as such, is writing. ANY site will require content, and whether you call it blogging or content building or anything else, it will be writing that you have to create, with all the attendant effort and problems.

I don’t think cherrypicking results leads to a fair or proper comparison. In comparisons between his Site Build It product and WordPress, items are tweaked to look good, but leave out important details. For instance, on his chart, he shows that both are free to setup – true, but while WordPress remains free forever, Site Build It charges a yearly fee (currently about $400 [CORRECTION: $299]). Not a problem, but a rather important fact to leave out.

Likewise, additional tools: while keyword tools are included in Site Build It, WordPress users have access to quality keyword tools at low cost – for example WordTracker can let you keyword search for a whole month for about $60 – plenty of time to target your site, and still far below the $299 price tag for Site Build It.

Also, he mentions leaving a blog for two months and noticing how it drops in traffic. But the fact is, any technique that keeps traffic flowing to ANY type of site can be replicated on a blog. So there doesn’t need to be a drop in traffic!

Lists are made to put a product in the best light, and I understand this – but skewing things this severely does WordPress an injustice, and could backfire. The person thinking Site Build It is inexpensive and comprehensive will get a bit of a rude awakening if/when they decide to go for it.

WordPress is not just a blogging tool. I think this actually is the reason for the attacks. Frankly, WordPress can be used to set up just about any kind of site – a direct competitor to Ken’s Site Build It product. And an additional item is control – I have total control over my sites, and I can move them, adjust them, tweak the contents, or do just about anything. While this is a double edged sword (I’m also responsible for maintaining them), in my case, I prefer this. However, for others the extra cost of Site Build It might mean they have less to worry about, and can concentrate on their business – but at a price.

Nonetheless, despite my opinions about the campaign, Site Build It does seem to be a good product with a solid reputation – so feel free to check it out if you wish.

However, WordPress allows you to start online an an incredibly low cost. Like an automobile, you can just speed along fast, or spend your weekends poking under the hood. It’s a powerful tool – but YOU control how you use it.

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9 Comments »

  • Ken Evoy said:

    1) I do not say that SBI! is free.

    2) The price for an SBI! subscription is $299, not $400 as stated by you. To really understand its value, though, a complete review of all the features is necessary. Once SBIers purchase and get started, they are amazed at the value.

    3) You compare only with Wordtracker ($60 for one month). We use Wordtracker in our Brainstormer, as well as other data sources, and people tend to use Brainstormer year around, not just for one month. The full comparison should include mention of all the tools. Could I suggest you refer your readers to our http://tools.sitesell.com page?

    4) The fact, as you mention, that many people are doing it wrong, is THE big part of the problem that I’m talking about. That page is NOT for those who are having great success with blogging, just as SBI! is not for those having great success with “regular” sites.

    The vast majority, though, fail. The lack of a well-defined process and ALL the tools needed dooms most people to failure with blogging, as it does for conventional old-fashioned hosting (which also promotes the cheap-quick-easy way of “getting a site or blog up”).

    5) I’m not sure how the comprehensive chart is “cherry-picking.” It lists everything we can think of. Please do suggest what Wordtracker or blogging in general supplies that SBI! does not. Yes, folks, could search endlessly for all kinds of tools and slowly assemble their own set of tools, but the time and energy and cost to do that will ultimately exceed SBI!’s and you’ll be left without that coherent, efficient approach which is what enables SBIers to succeed at unprecedented rates.

    Business is just too important. Focus on business instead of the endless “noise.”

    6) And yes, we do address that WordPress and Typepad are moving to make their builder a more conventional sitebuilder. But then… you’re back to a conventional sitebuilder without the process (CTPM), the guidance, and all the tools needed to succeed.

    Here’s what I suggest to folks. If they are blogging with great success, terrific! If they are not, try SBI!. You will be delighted as your success builds. As you mention, David, SBI! has a solid reputation. It’s for a very good reason. SBIers succeed.

    AND… you can still blog (at the right time, if it fits your model), but the key point is…

    Blogging is not right for most business models. SBI! is. That’s all that site says. The rest is documentation and points to think about.

    Re-read that site. I think you’ll find it far less invasive than you think. :-)

    All the best,
    Ken

  • David Pankhurst (author) said:

    Ken – thank you for replying and clarifying some points, and I’ve made the change to the SBI price mentioned in the article, and included your tools link in your comment so visitors can see all that is available.

    As for the list, I left off some of the items I felt were somewhat disingenuous when I wrote the article. While none are really an issue, it was the items as a whole that helped prompt my comment of cherrypicking:

    • Mentioning that the number of pages and email account were limited in a typical plan. True, a very few hosts can limit the email accounts drastically, but it’s a rare case where SBI would really win out over any other plan – perhaps if a client had thousands of email accounts (extremely unlikely).

    • Mentioning that SBI provides unlimited pages while WordPress is limited. This is in semantics only. I’ve create compact WP sites with thousands of pages. Unless the client is auto generating content at a tremendous rate, I don’t see how this would be a practical limit in any real website.

    • Sitemap. The various table entries for sitemaps imply that WordPress does not have it. However, while it’s not in the default install, it is available with free addon plugins.

    • And as I mentioned, focusing on the free initial free setup takes attention away from the after-setup costs, where WP is still free, and SBI isn’t.

    For my review, however, I didn’t focus on these somewhat minor issues, but kept them in mind when commenting on it.

    I agree with you that a FOCUS on what to do is required for anyone trying to succeed on the net. And of course, this is exactly the niche that SBI (and ActiveBlogging) strive to fill.

    Again, I appreciate your clarifications.

  • Ken Evoy said:

    Hey David, you’ve got to stop turning up on my feeds like this. ;-)

    Just quickly, we’ve gone from cherry-picking to nit-picking. ;-)

    So let’s go to the big picture…

    Remember… as soon as you have to go beyond default installs, you are exceeding the capabilities of the average small business person. Who tells them these things? Where do they get them? Which ones? Why? And on and on and on (it’s not just ONE thing that WP is missing)…

    The biggest single reality that blogging (and Net marketing) gurus in general forget or ignore is that while the non-tech (“average”) person can be highly motivated to succeed, all these barriers add up to defeat them.

    We remove those barriers. Here’s what I suggest you do if you really want to make a totally fair comparison. Take the ENTIRE SBI! package, the video guides, the tools, everything that is in that comparison table on blogorbuild.sitesell.com and that is on tools.sitesell.com.

    And then…

    Re-create SBI! for your readers using WP. Tell folks where to go to “get this,” “buy that,” “install this,” etc., etc. Once you’ve done them all, and it’s a lot…

    Add it ALL up…the time, dollars, etc. to re-create it all. Of course, you’ll still have to figure out what they’ll to to be able to talk to thousands of others who are following the exact same process. And those videos are going to be tough to create — I can’t emphasize how important a clear step-by-step is. That is HUGE, and it leads us to the forums, which have to be factored in…

    Since everyone follows the same process and uses the same tools, they can all speak the same language at SBI!. They end up with vastly different sites, of course, but they can and do speak to each other in one of the most active and likely the most helpful small business forum online.

    I’d suggest that it’s easier and, in the end, cheaper, to simply do SBI!. Unless your business is uniquely suited to blogging, SBI! is the best choice for MOST small business people (that’s all blogorbuild.sitesell.com really says). The SBI! site is not only automatically a blog (stripped down, simple, on purpose) and benefits from the same rapid distribution (without actually blogging separately), AND you can add a full WordPress blog later, if and when you’re ready.

    But it’s not something we suggest for most people, not unless it fits and not until they’ve built the foundation of a Theme-Based Content Site with at least hundreds of visitors per day. For the right folks, adding a blog can drive the “Content-Traffic-PREsell” motor even more.

    But in general, I’d suggest KISS — focus on more “regular” content and develop multiple streams of income by diversifying into many monetization models.

    I think if you get really rigorous and compare exact-apples-to-apples, including time, energy and money, you’ll be pretty amazed at the value SBI! offers.

    All the best,
    Ken

  • David Pankhurst (author) said:

    “I think if you get really rigorous and compare exact-apples-to-apples, including time, energy and money, you’ll be pretty amazed at the value SBI! offers.”

    I hope I never gave the impression that I thought people should avoid SBI, or that it was a poor value – in fact, for the right situation and people, it appears to be very good value. I’ve deliberately kept all links live so people can easily check it out.

    However, this article was prompted by a member feeling that the article was shooting down WordPress, not blogging – so even if your article focused was on the benefits of SBI, a casual reader was left with something else. So was I, when I read it.

    There’s room for a variety of business models for people starting on the Internet – from the ‘leave it all to someone else to do’ format to ‘do it all by yourself’, and many graduations in between. I think for the person desiring to get online with their business, and wanting to spend less time promoting, SBI works well. For ActiveBlogging, I prefer to give members the tools, and let them work it out themselves, for maximum flexibility. And while I mainly deal with WordPress, the fact is, if a better tool came along, I’d have no problem switching. Invariably, it’s a time versus money tradeoff – and each person picks the level they’re comfortable with.

  • Danielle said:

    I am an SBI owner, and as Ken says, I am wowed by the value. The training alone is worth much more than the purchase price of $299. I believe that SBI overdelivers, and I appreciate the way SBI keeps improving its product without raising the price.

    That said, I think that there is one thing WordPress offers that SBI doesn’t: attractive and up-to-date design templates. SBI permits users to upload their own CSS design, so in theory, an SBI site can look however you want. However, if you do not want to mess with code and prefer to use the out-of-the-box SBI design templates, the look is dated and the interface options more limited than WordPress.

    SBI has announced that early next year, they will be updating their BlockBuilder with more WordPress-like design options. I am VERY MUCH looking forward to that. I hope that along with the new functionality, they include templates by a variety of professional designers to offer a greater choice in aesthetic.

  • John said:

    I have just come across this fair review and the response from Ken and the other SBIer put me off Site Build It just a little bit more.

    What really annoys me about SBI is the almost cult like feeling the “club” has the SBIers seem to have a fascination with Ken Evoy (very much lie you’d find toward religious leaders) they even have a dedicated section on the forums for reviews so if a bad one is found online other members can hound down like a pack of wolves and leave there positive comments about the system. Which has left most of the reviews on google simply affiliate packed positive only reviews.

    I left SBI as I found to expensive and rigid, not forgetting it puts to much emphasis on content creation over backlinking and Adsense.

    John

  • φωτοβολταικα said:

    I think if you get really rigorous and compare exact-apples-to-apples, including time, energy and money, you’ll be pretty amazed at the value SBI! offers

  • Fiona said:

    I signed up as a member of SBI about 3 months ago now – it is IMPOSSIBLE to get the much promised “refund”. I have now emailed Ken Evoy, his sitemaster and replied to emails from SBI – since June (it is now end of August) without success.

    For me, anyone offering a product they believe in and offer a 100% money back guarantee, is a con artist if they don’t respond to multiple email requests for a refund!

    I am sticking with WordPress!

  • James Hussey said:

    Sad to see people go for SBI! based on the supposed value that SBI offers – I run a network of WordPress sites and haven’t nearly spent $300 on tools I use to succeed, but even 1/2 that would be plenty to buy an ebook to get oriented – there’s too many to list.

    $60 a year hosting and an $8 domain on WordPress can create an unlimited income – it simply depends on your market, keywords and traffic generation (in my case, almost entirely SEO traffic). Sorry but I find Ken’s defensiveness unbecoming, not that I’d be tempted to pay $299 a year to publish content and have any sort of difficulty to transport my own content to another blogging platform, which is something of an issue with SBI!.

    Let’s face it – the only real selling point of SBI! is the pyramid scheme behind it, with the elaborate up and downline plans of making your cheddar.