I receive many questions like the one below from clients and potential clients about all kinds of “site builders”. It really does not matter if they are free or cheap or if they are offered by Godaddy or SiteSell.com, these types of one stop website builders all have quite a few things in common and in my opinion, free or cheap is not a good deal.(if you have any idea that you may want to build a business around a website, or support your business with a website.)
My new client Maribell sent me this question, not long after she signed op with us here at iBusinessLogic.com for a WordPress niche market website development project.
A quick and totally off topic question…
What is your opinion about the SBI or SiteSell by Ken Evoy?
I just have a friend who uses them and keeps mentioning/recommending them.
I understand that wordpress is much better but I’m not clear why or what the difference is and I’m curious to get your opinion because I know I prefer wordpress but I can’t explain it.
Thanks so much.
My Answer to Maribell was pretty much as follows:
I looked at the the SBI or SiteSell concept several years ago.
Seems to me… that the old adage – if it is too good to be true…. Usually is! – Applies here.
Site Sell websites are templatized and not attractive in my opinion. Going beyond the basic lack of appeal of the final products I would say that it seems to me that the tools SiteSell touts as being huge features of the program, are all available as plugins for WordPress and many more tools and plugins are available in open source programs like WordPress than will ever be available in any proprietary site builder framework.
Several examples of why using a content management system is a better choice for your company:
- Usually in a Site Builder there is no database, so no one can search your site except if they use the menu. (Not user friendly)
- You only have one option for every add on, the one they provide , otherwise, if you do not like the tool they offer – well, you are out of luck.
- Also, ask if you can back up your data and move it elsewhere if you like? – I think this may be more difficult than they may claim if they offer data backup at all.
- With WordPress, you have literally millions of developers working for you, every day, providing tools and applications that you could hardly imagine were available at little or no cost. If you choose a tool (plugin) and it does not suit your purpose, or does not work with your other plugins, or you just want more features… Then you simply remove that old plugin and replace it with a newer and better one, or one that suits your purpose better.
This is why it is a good idea for you hire a “Developer” like iBusinessLogic.com to help make the decisions about what works for your application and about the trade-offs that inevitably occur in any project – no matter whether you are building a house or a website there are always decisions to be made about features and options that can and should be used or not, with a Site Build It website – those options are non-existent. Proprietary web site builders like this do not allow for trade offs, they have one application for every feature you may want for your site (if they have one at all) there are no choices, no alternatives, no way to make your site look or work any different from the thousands of other sites they have over promised and under delivered.
I could go one for hours on the advantages of using open source software over proprietary single supplier web building tools that lock you in for life to a monthly payment, even if you find that the hype does not match the actual product. (Locked in for life – unless you want to lose all of the data that you spent a great deal of your time assembling and publishing on any website). But whats the point? Some people just want to take the easy way, and some people will always sell stuff that is too good to be true. It’s just part of the human experience.
Another blogger and Internet Commerce specialist Lis Sowerbutts wrote about Site Build It
Its a “one stop shop” for someone who wants a website but doesn’t know where to start. You pay them a hefty fee- PER SITE – around $300 ANNUALLY. And for this sum you get:
- “free” domain name
- “free” hosting
- drag and drop website builder
- newsletter manager
- search engine ranking help
- traffic reports
- hand holding: forum, tutorial etc.
Now if you Google for “site builder scam” – you will find a lot of “reviews” which are just affiliate pitches? Why because Site Build It pays affiliates around $75 a sale, and that’s an annual fee to remember. You don’t even have to a user of SBI to be an affiliate – how can you sell something you don’t use yourself – that’s what I turned me off affiliate marketing initially. You will find no link here for SBI – if you want to join – type in their url direct and then sign up as an affiliate and pay yourself the commission as a discount!
- You don’t own your domain – the Anguilla-beaches .com site which features prominently in the sales pitch is owned by Ken Evoy – who owns site build it – according to domain tools anyways; UPDATE: yes you do own your site but this is still disingenuous marketing
- You can’t just move your website elsewhere to say cheaper hosting – you are tied up with SBI for life. You have to make $300/year just to break even on the deal! UPDATE: you can with varying degrees of difficulty – its not easy appears to be the consensus
- They spend a lot of time quoting Alexa rank of SBI sites – Alexa ranks just proves that you have a bunch of internet marketers visiting your site – probably because of the link from the sales page – as they are the only people who use the Alexa tool bar. Internet marketers are unlikely to buy your homemade chocolates or rent your condo in Puerto Rico;
- The search engine help according the site build it’s own sales promotion video involves submitting your sites to the search engines – do not ever do this – this just prooves to Google that your site is not worth visiting cause no one is linking to it.
- Further more to rank your site they suggest you use pay per click (PPC) advertising – this is as about as risky as say foreign exchange dealing as it not something any new on-line marketer should be doing.
- You don’t need a newsletter or autoresponder unless you are selling crap – sorry I mean affiliate products to visitors. If you site is just for attracting niche buying search traffic – you don’t need these products.
So no SBI is not a traditional scam. They no doubt deliver on what is promised – though you no doubt have to pay extra from the PPC champaign. Yes traditional hosting and free software won’t give you support on how to build your business.
But $300 for support is pretty darn expensive.
In a follow up review page the same writer offered this opinion after being descended upon by the faithful affiliates and users of Ken Evoy’s Site Build It SBI program.
No, SBI is not a scam – its a lot, lot more dangerous than that – its a fucking cult: a group of people who are in love with Dr Ken Evoy who believe that the sun shines out of, well you know where, who believe the one true way as provided by Ken Evoy and brook no interference or dissent either within their ranks or outside of them.
Why Were There No Negative Reviews of Site Build It
Site Build It Troll – At Rest
Because your average blogger when faced with the barrage I have had over the last 48 hours would have dropped the whole bloody thing, probably deleted the post and run for the hills. Or their useless hosting would have dropped their site for resource over-runs. They would have believed the threats legal and otherwise.
Some of us are old enough to remember that a mob was something that happened in person, and trust me a real riot or mob is pretty bloody scary – but at least the individuals are there in person and not hiding behind made up emails and generic IP addresses. The online version doesn’t scare us old people!
So, lets just say that signing on to such a program is risky at the least and possibly less than optimal at best.
Why am I comparing this to using WordPress or any open source Content Management System for your internet commerce goals?
I guess I am simply confounded at the audacity of people who offer inferior platforms and tout them as superior all while limiting expandability, growth and options. WordPress is not that difficult to master, there are millions of resources available to help even the most timid users understand how to optimize the CMS to fit almost any website niche or need and anything that a product like Site Build It can do, can be done better, with longer lasting value and ROI with a well designed WordPress site. Drag and drop has it’s disadvantages, including limiting accuracy of placement, compatibility across all browsers and just plain time wasting. A WordPress page can be constructed in minutes, and the typography, options for placement of video, audio and/or image content is superior than any easy site building program I have ever tried. Writing a wordpress page is darn near as easy as writing an email in your favorite email client.
Everyone in this world is looking for an easy solution to every problem. Whether that problem is World Peace, Losing 100 pounds, or creating a website for their business. I think that if a politician were to have a moment of honesty, they might tell you that World Peace is unattainable, your doctor will tell you that losing weight takes effort and fortitude, and I will tell you that building a website that supports your business goals costs more than a night at a Jimmy Buffett concert!
There are options that are less difficult than the old fashioned way of creating websites with Dreamweaver or Front Page (like WordPress or Joomla) and it is true that todays options for getting your message online are greatly expanded, but the fact remains that for every great result, there is in most cases a story of great effort – either of mind or spirit or plain old elbow grease. Buying into a quick fix method of creating a website which supposedly offers a one size fits all system, but a limited number of options is not the wisest of decisions.
I will let others tell you if Site Build It! is a scam, that is not my job really. I can tell you that in my opinion there are smarter, stronger, and more economical options available in Open Source Content Management Systems, which will allow you to start, build and grow your website with your business and maintain control over that website, just as you do your business.