WordPress vs. Site Build It! – Is There a Gap to Be Filled?

2 August
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site build it or wordpressI often whine about how full my inbox is, but there are major advantages to this…

  • Emails generate ideas for blog posts and videos
  • I get to stay in touch with common problems people have with regards to my niche
  • It reminds me that people are actually visiting my sites — always a good thing, right? :)

If you are familiar with my work, you know that I’ve had success with building websites through WordPress and Site Build It!.

I think they are both great platforms with their own set of pluses and minuses.

I also believe there is a gap that still needs to be filled between the world of website design and education about making money online for the average person.

What I’m about to write has been on my mind for some time. And your emails over the years definitely confirm the gap exists. I will explain what I mean below.

WordPress

WordPress is probably one of the most robust, flexible website building platforms on the planet, and the plugins make it that much sweeter. The more I use WordPress, the more I love it.

Not to mention, you can’t beat the selection of well-designed themes — both free and premium.

The downside to WordPress, however, is that it doesn’t come with an instruction manual for making money.  Many people just throw up a site, along with a few posts and expect the money to just roll in.

But the reality is, cheap, quick and easy doesn’t necessarily equate to online success.

Having said that, you can take it upon yourself to learn. There’s a ton of free information out here that will teach you how to build a successful, money-making site with WordPress, and many have done just that — all on their own.

Site Build It!

Site Build It! is now more than ten years old, and since its introduction, I have yet to find a more complete training manual for actually understanding…

1) The psychology of marketing summarized in laymen’s terms

2) The concept of PREselling, and

3) Converting a visitor into a lifelong follower/customer

Even if your SBI! site doesn’t make any money yet, you at least understand a lot more about what needs to happen before you start seeing success (assuming you actually absorb the Action Guide info).

I hear it all the time. Ex WordPress users who move over to SBI! often email me. Some of them may not be making any money yet, but they appreciate how thorough SBI! is — especially when it comes to understanding the process.

I hope to have a case study coming soon from an ex WordPress user who switched to SBI! and is now making $1500 month, mostly with affiliate marketing. She’s understandably a bit skeptical about revealing her site, but I’m working on her! lol *fingers crossed*

Many of you often praise me for what I’ve taught you, but I learned a lot about writing and Internet marketing from following Ken Evoy since day one. Even before SBI! launched, I was already a fan of his books.

But…

There’s one area where Site Build It! (in my humble opinion) has never been able to match WordPress and that is their templates and functionality (open source plugins, etc). In fact, the templates have been a big reason many people shy away from buying.

I often hear, You want me to pay $29/month for THAT?  ;)

Now, if you’ve made any sort of money online, you know that the design plays a role, but it’s not the only determining factor in how much you will make.

Let it be known that I once used those “dated templates” and my SBI! site was making a couple of thousands of dollars per month in spite of the fact my design was — as many would say – stuck in the 90′s. :)

And if you want me to keep it realer than real, my self-made Dreamweaver design still isn’t all that great, but it does pretty well traffic-wise — even after a slap from Penguin in April. No complaints here.

BlockBuilder 2

But I digress. As far as the templates go, SiteSell has updated them and they look a little better from what I’ve seen thus far.

They still don’t hold a candle to WordPress themes in my opinion, but they are a step forward, for sure.

Yes, design is not the only factor of success, but it’s still important because first impressions mean a lot to people.

And let me just say that the first impressions of the original SBI! templates were NOT GOOD to say the least.

Right or wrong, many people do judge Site Build It! on their templates alone. They couldn’t care less about how great their entire system is if they can’t produce the design they want.

It’s human nature. People will judge a website building product by how the websites look, period.

My Wish

So this gap I’m referring to has to do with WordPress winning the design/functionality game and Site Build It! winning the education game.

It would be awesome if there was a way to marry the two — which is why I’d love to see SiteSell give their customers the option to install WordPress.

I can almost hear Ken Evoy sighing now. :D

But wait. Hang with me.

For years, SiteSell has pitted themselves against WordPress with articles like this and publishing statistics about how poorly WordPress sites perform on average.

I agree with some of Ken’s points about “full blogging” not being the best format for every kind of website, but here’s my rebuttal to that statement…

WordPress is not just for “full blogging.” You can actually use it to create a site that functions exactly like a static/traditional site — the very format SiteSell recommends.

So instead of working against WordPress, I believe there is an opportunity to marry SiteSell’s unparalleled guidance with WordPress’ functionality for those who want it.

And I should point out that you can still use WordPress with SBI!, but you have to sign up with another host and they don’t technically provide support for how to use WordPress with their Action Guide — which is why I just tell people it’s technically not compatible with SBI!.

An Example

My website NapturallyCurly.com is a WordPress site, but is actually setup more like a traditional site because I personally didn’t want that “full blogging” website that Ken often refers to.

When WordPress 3.0 came out in 2010 they added a menu feature that allows you to change the main navigation linking structure with ease.

This was a game-changer for the average non-techy, WordPress user. Prior to that, you had to actually know how to edit the PHP code to change your navigation, or purchase a premium theme like Thesis that provides shortcuts through the admin panel.

Manipulating the organization of the pages/site structure is no longer the headache it once was, and I really learned a lot while building Napturally Curly in 2010. That’s when I started to change my tune about building sites with WordPress.

Here’s something else I’ve noticed…

Literally… at least once a month I get a comment from someone stating they like how the content is organized.

At first I found it odd that so many people kept saying that because it just makes sense to present the information in that manner.

But then I remembered that most people these days are used to WordPress and Blogger sites being organized by post date and category.

I used a lot of static pages, but still made use of dynamic content when appropriate — which is the beauty of WordPress.

I’m probably in the minority today, but I have always preferred a more traditional, static website layout, and maybe it’s because that’s how I learned to build websites before the blogging era came about in 2005.

Old habits are hard to break, I guess. :)

But the point is you can build any kind of site with WordPress.  It just doesn’t have the valuable training-wheel guidance that SiteSell provides to beginners.

What About SBI!’s Block Builder?

Let me also make it clear, I’m not by any means suggesting that SiteSell should get rid of their site builder and replace it with WordPress.

Believe it or not WordPress fans, some people actually hate WordPress and want nothing to do with it. (I know this because I also get many of those emails as well. LOL)

Not to mention, SiteSell just invested all this time and energy improving their own builder.  So that would be a slap in the face.

All I’m suggesting is that SiteSell give customers *the option* to install WordPress and incorporate advice into the Action Guide for how to setup a WordPress site to function with their “tiered model” for content organization.

Now their customers will have the best of both worlds — the preliminary education and the latest functionality (themes, plugins, etc). And those who prefer to use the site builder can do so if they wish.

Details, Details, Details

Of course, I’m not sure how feasible this is for SiteSell from a technical standpoint (For example, how would this work with some of their proprietary tools like Analyze It!?), or if it’s something they’d even consider.

In the end, this may not make any sense at all for their business.

I also know that security is a huge issue with the company, and they pride themselves on never having their servers hacked — something no other major host could boast about, I’m sure.

Allowing WordPress installs could open up a host of security issues for SiteSell, which may be one reason they may never do it.

It’s easy for an outsider like me to suggest this without knowing all the technical ramifications this could bring. But as a long-time fan of the company, I just thought I’d throw it out there based on the feedback I continue to receive.

To Sum it Up

So the SBI! vs. WordPress discussion continues to permeate on this blog, my inbox, and forum. As for my opinion, I will continue to say…

Nothing beats SiteSell’s all-in-one tools/training and collective support, but WordPress wins the functionality/design war by far.

And speaking of collective support, if you’re an SBI!er and you lost traffic during the Panda or Penguin update, make sure you stop by the SiteSell forums to read Ken’s latest suggestions and findings.

What a read!

Ken has gone above and beyond the call of duty by providing some data results and analysis (for customers only) from SBI! sites hit by Panda and Penguin.

It literally took him hours upon hours to collect the data and write up all that information, so at least take the time to read through it all. You’ll need a couple of hours and maybe even a cold drink. ;) Nevertheless, it’s worth the read.

Even if you weren’t impacted, you should read it anyway.

It’s developments like this that make me proud to be affiliated with SiteSell — yup, 90′s templates and all! ;)

Granted, Ken Evoy doesn’t know anything more about Google’s algorigthm and future plans than the next guy, but to see actual reports and characteristics of sites that were impacted and those that weren’t, along with suggestions for the future, was a really fantastic read.

Can you imagine GoDaddy or Hostgator providing that kind of lengthy support and analysis after a massive algorithm shake-up like this? Yeah right. It will never happen.

Now, in the wake of Penguin and all the other SEO changes, I do hope that SiteSell will continue to expand their teachings beyond SEO and focus more on other areas.

Too many people, whether they use WordPress or Site Build It!, are too reliant on SEO, and that just cannot be the focus anymore if you want your online business to survive.

With Panda, Penguin and now the budding Google Knowledge Graph, it’s becoming clear that Google has a different agenda now, and I’m not so sure how much content publishers are a part of the plan anymore.

Sorry for the brief tangent, but I felt that was important to mention with so many SBI! customers who read this blog.

What Do You Think?

Phew! This was a long post, so I hope you hung in there with me and my ramblings.  Am I completely off my rocker here or does anyone else agree with my suggestions?

I mentioned the person who left WordPress for SBI! above, but I also hear from SBI!ers who leave for WordPress.

If this describes you, would you have stayed if you could have switched to WordPress internally and learned how to apply SiteSell’s branded CTPM model (Content-Traffic-PRESell-Monetize) with WordPress?

I have a feeling this is going to open up a juicy discussion — or at least I hope so anyway. :)

Don’t let me down, guys and gals. Let the comments begin!

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