Here's my Sitesell review, two years on from starting Toddler Ideas.
I also have the experience of using another webhost to (attempt to) build an online store, so I have something to compare it to.
Note: Sitesell and SBI are pretty much the same thing and these terms are used interchangeably in this review.
Does it deliver everything it promises or is Sitesell a scam?
The short answer is that on the whole it's great...with a few reservations. Many SBI reviews are gushing with praise, but what's the reality?
You've had a look at some of the SBI websites, probably visited the company sales page, and are now wondering "What's the catch?"
The easiest way for me to answer is to divide this Sitesell review into 3 sections:
Before I dive into this Sitesell review, let me briefly explain where I was to begin with...I can tell you it wasn't with my head stuck in some computer manual. Aside from Word for Windows and email, I was a complete technophobe. I still need anything computer related explained to me really clearly - that will never change.
Neither did I have any experience of running my own business.
I loved writing, I loved the Internet, and I had a real motivation to
make my website work (I was pregnant and had a burning ambition never to
work for anyone else again).
It makes the technical side of building a website
comprehensible. This quite some feat and its greatest selling point for
me personally. With 10 years experience as a teacher, I am highly
critical of others' attempts to explain things clearly.
At every step of the way SBI holds your hand and assumes no previous knowledge website design. It can't tell you everything,
but then that's why you have ...
The SBI Forums - I just lived in the forums when I was starting out. I have posted literally hundreds of questions (many starting with the words "Aaargh!") and on only 2 occasions did I receive no answer.
There is no way I could have built my site without the forums.
It teaches you about online business - Sitesell is very good in the huge amount of free content it gives away.
The most useful resource is the Action Guide, a 10-part beginner's guide to how to set up a website that stands the test of time - and best of all, it's free! It comes in video and written form - I found I used both formats.
Note: the video has 2
versions - male and female commentary. I am telling you this just in
case you have only heard the male voice and wonder if you can stomach
it! The woman's voice is really much easier to listen to.
It cuts out unnecessary work - My website runs much more smoothly because of easy-to-set up, idiot-proof features like these:
of these features are included in the price. Other seemingly cheaper
webhosts make you pay for extras, none of which are half as good as
these. I would pay $100 a year for Analyse It alone.
It's more realistic than other webhosts. It promises right from the start that you won't get rich quick, that your website takes time to build and make a profit. It also 'keeps it real', encouraging you to stand out from other sites by building valuable content.
My only gripes in this Sitesell review relate to their sales pages.
The Case Studies - Like everyone else, I looked at the case studies, thought 'Wow!' $1000 a month earnings after only 6 months? Yes please!'
The fact is that many of these case studies are a few years old. That might seem relatively up-to-date, but in Internet terms a year is a very long time. The web is far more overcrowded now than in 2004, and therefore harder for most beginners to make money in the first few months.
Of course, if you have chosen the right niche, if you have previous business experience, are a whizz at social media, or if your website is directly related to a product then the money may come rolling that quick.
I must admit that it did take me a while to start
making any profit from my sbi site, but this was I think because I
wasn't particularly business minded or profit focused at the start.
Alexa is gripe number two in this sitesell review. To back up the success of SBI sites, Sitesell say that 60% of their websites are in the top 3% of all websites, according to the web ranking organisation Alexa.com.
This claim looks great, but doesn't actually mean anything. I just assumed that this statistic was based on how many visitors each site gets.
truth it's not, and even after quite a few discussions in the forums I
am still at a loss to understand what Alexa actually does. You can have a
great Alexa ranking with very few visitors.
As well as writing this Sitesell review, I want to get you thinking
about a couple of important points, whichever webhost you end up using:
You need a good dollop of perseverance, especially if the technical side is new to you. I was always someone to give up easily when I had a problem, but I had such a desire to make it work that I overcame this defeatism when I started to see that I could do it.
For example, loading the first image onto
my site took 3 days, because I needed to keep posting in the forums for
help. But I never gave up and got there. Now it takes me 5 minutes,
including editing the image.
You don't need to be a great web designer or award winning writer to succeed with SBI, but you do need to have the interest. Initally it takes a lot of work to build your site. Choose a subject that you love, so that it is a passion rather than a chore. Having said that...
Be aware of OCI - OCI stands for 'Online Commercial Intent'. Basically people come to the Internet either to buy (e.g. a site reviewing MP3 players) or to get free information ( a site about job interview techniques). Because Sitesell is targetted at people who want to turn a hobby or interest into a website, you could end up with a very informative site that makes no profit at all.
Think hard about your niche. Many sites with topics of zero OCI succeed in turning visitors who originally just wanted free info into customers.
You may well have a topic with
lots of OCI potential, but you aren't taking full advantage of it. This
is exactly what I did with this Toddler website - I wrote and wrote all about
parenting issues - classic zero OCI territory. Once I'd worked out that I
needed to include content about things parents actually buy, I started to make a profit.
The conclusion of this Sitesell review is a resounding YES. In spite
of the drawbacks mentioned above, I would say it is well worth starting
your website with Solo Build It. My experience with another webhost was a complete
nightmare, and I feel that Sitesell is the only organisation that
understands the needs of non-techies.
If you are unsure, try it - you can always get your money back.
PS There have been a few bad reviews of Solo Build It on the web - most telling you about a supposed Solo Build It scam - if you click on that link you'll see a discussion all about it.
Read more about Sitesell here
I hope you have found this Sitesell review useful, and good luck with building your website! I look forward to reading your Sitesell review this time next year (Anthony Robbins isn't all correct, there actually is a lot you can accomplish in a year).
I love working on my sites, enjoy helping people and right now I'm planning my next Solo Build It site.
Watch this space...
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