Site Build It! Advisor

Why SBIers Fail

Now that I've been doing this SBI thing since 2005, and I've helped hundreds of people with their sites through consulting and SiteSell Coaching, I'm starting to see some trends. The fact is most people fail at building a successful SBI site.

By successful I mean "making money."

That's the goal right?... to make enough money, to quit a day job, or retire, or just get enough extra money to live on "easy street" or at least on "easier street."

In many ways, joining Site Build It! is like joining a health club. Just because you join doesn't mean you're going to get in shape and lose weight. It takes showing up and using the equipment and following a weekly routine, until you reach your goal.

Many SBIers don't make this kind of commitment. They don't have the required motivation.

Yes, there's lots of personal reasons why we fail with building an SBI site. Ken Evoy talks about many of them in his various e-books and the Why Do Some Succeed While Others Fail forum.

Ken says all you need is BAM (Brains and Motivation) and anyone can succeed. Success for anyone is really at the core of the SiteSell value proposition.

Then why do so many fail even though they do have plenty of Brains and Motivation and make the required commitment.? They put in hundreds of hours working on their sites and even after years... no traffic and no money.

I think there are some core mistakes that these people make. I'm not talking about personal issues but about mistakes relating to the SBI! process itself.

Let me explain further...

The SiteBuild It Process

The core technique that SBI uses as it's main online marketing model is C-T-P-M... Content leads to Traffic. PREselling that Traffic lets you Monetize.

Here's the fundamental tactics for CTPM...

Sounds simple and makes a lot of sense. And the fact is it works.


Here in 2013 doing C-T-P-M is harder than ever. Google is very stingy when sending traffic to "content" sites... you know those sites that are providing free information and don't offer a clear "product" or solution. They monetize with AdSense or vague affiliate products that are just thrown at visitors without clear and valuable reasons to buy them.

This is not quality content in Google's eyes anymore. You have to really bring GREAT VALUE to the table to get rewarded by Google these days.

Google is getting smarter and smarter all the time. Pretty soon they be able to judge your content just as well as you would. If you are not proud of every word you put on your site, and on all of your off-site promotional content, Google will not like it either. The content bar is higher than ever.

But, again, I've seen many SBIers who fail even though they do exactly this. Even many of my own clients have fallen into this category. To be honest, even some of my own early efforts failed to make money even though I followed these steps explicitly.

Some of my clients pointedly asked me...

When I stopped to think about it I couldn't give them a good answer. As someone who really likes helping people through consulting this began to really bother me. I had to do some hard thinking about why this happens.

Some of my conclusions had to do with the people themselves. And some of my conclusions had to do with the SBI process. These conclusions are my own opinion and by no means are they the position of SiteSell. Ken Evoy might disagree with me on many of these.

Here's my 6 Reasons why some SBIers fail.

1. They Picked Too Big of a Mountain To Climb

Without realizing it, many people picked a 20,000 foot mountain to climb when they chose their niche and their keywords. The problem is they thought they were climbing a 1,000 foot mountain.

If the niche they choose is too competitive, or the competition is well optimized, and knows what they are doing, then it may take years and hundreds of hours before they will see any success.

Many people climb the first 1,000 feet and begin to realize how much farther there is to go... and just give up.

Now I'm not saying that a 20,000 foot mountain is not climbable. I'm just saying you want to understand what you are up against up front. Then you won't give up when you are only part way there.

So what's the answer?

Go beyond keyword research. You must do Market Research until you fully understand the size of your mountain and how long it will take to climb it.

Also be sure that there really is a "pot of gold" at the top before you decide to climb.

This means you have to go beyond just using Brainstormer to analyze your niche. You'll need to analyze every website on Page 1 of Google for your keyword to see if you can beat them.

You'll also need to fully research the monetization possibilities for your niche and understand if there really is "buying intention." In fact, an "online buying intention."

My Golf Website Mistake

I have a golf website The mistake I made was choosing the "golf club" niche before I found out it was very competitive and people don't really buy golf clubs online. They go to their local store.

With a little research I could have found this out and saved myself hundreds of hours and lots of frustration.

2. They Put The Cart Before The Horse

To succeed online there are really 2 major things you have to do...

  1. Please the Search Engines so you can get traffic
  2. Please your visitors and provide solutions to their problems so they buy something

Number 1 is the horse and number 2 is the cart.

The problem is many folks who have done offline marketing think in terms of building their sites for their visitors. They may know a lot about a particular subject and may even already have products to sell, so they can't wait to start selling.

This is natural if you already have marketing or sales skills.

And if you know a lot about your niche (because it's your hobby or passion) you can't wait to start writing and show everyone how much you know.

In fact they are so sure about their niche or their products, that they skip the keyword research and just start building that site because they just know it's going to succeed. They pick what they think is a cool domain name and they're off.

Then they sit and wait and wonder why no one comes to their site.

Then they hear someone say, well you just don't have enough pages, so they are off building more pages and before they know it they have hundreds of pages and still no traffic. And they've invested hundreds of hours.

As many have said... if you fail to plan you are planning to fail.

You MUST Please The Search Engines First

In the first 6 months 80% of your time must be for the Search Engines. That means...

  1. Thorough Keyword and Market Research. Research not only winnable keywords but thoroughly understand the market you want to go into from a monetization and competition point of view.
  2. Choosing a niche and a domain that is winnable AND profitable. This means knowing everything about your competition on Page 1 of Google for your keyphrase. Remember, your domain name is for the Search Engines not your visitors. Don't base it on a brand or business name or on a general niche. Base it on a very winnable, specific keyword that you've found from your research.
  3. Building a few pages (10-20) that are built correctly for the SEs
  4. Getting quality backlinks early so the SEs will know about your site and think is it valuable. I recommend 2 "one-way" backlinks for every page you build in the first 6 months.
  5. Do a Monetization Test to see if your niche and main products have buying intention. More about this later.

The bottom line is...

Make the Search Engines happy first! And once you have enough traffic, then invest your time building content that addresses what your visitors need to move themselves through your sales cycle.

The problem is, the tactics and activities for pleasing the SEs are not a whole lot of fun. The market research and the building of a solid link popularity program is hard work and not all that interesting. But it's a major factor for those who succeed. I think 95% of those that don't succeed fail to get the full attention of the SE's first.

3. They Don't Move Their Visitors

Once someone comes to your site the job changes. Now you have a series of Most Wanted Responses you must get from your visitors. You must engage people in a way that moves them through your MWRs and eventually gets them to buy. Here's the sequence...

  1. You Must Get Them To Stay
    Those first few seconds are critical. If your Look and Feel is unprofessional they will leave. If they don't see "what's in it for them" they will leave. If the keyphrase they used to get to your site is not "answered" they will hit that back button in seconds.
  2. You Must Get Them To Read Your Information
    Without reading your great content nothing else happens. That's when you begin to move them to your main MWR, buying something. Once they start reading you've got a chance. So not only must your words connect with them, you must format the text so they can skim and quickly see that your information is valuable TO THEM. Benefit driven language in your heads and subheads, bullets, bolding for key points all help encourage people to read.
  3. You Must Create Credibility and Trust
    People will never take your buying advise, or any other advise, until you create credibility and trust. This is what PREselling is all about. Not only must your information be useful but your tone must be about sincerely wanting to help them. Until a bond of trust is established you won't move them. I often see SBIers talking way too much about themselves thinking their visitors want to know how cool they are. Your visitors don't care how cool you are... they only care about how cool you're going to make them. Also... If you have a product to sell you MUST have a Money Back Guarantee. People will not buy online from a stranger without a clear and believable money back guarantee.
  4. You Must Move Your Visitors Through Your Sales Cycle
    People arrive on your site at various levels of preparedness to buy something. Some have no intention of buying and others need more information and others are very close to buying. You must provide what they need for whatever stage in the buying cycle they are at. Sometimes they need emotional credibility (testimonial), sometimes they need more product information, and sometimes they just need an incentive to buy like a guarantee or a coupon.
  5. You Must Ask For The Order
    And then of course you must "ask for the order" by sending them to your sales page, either yours or someone else's. This can be as simple as well-written text link that explains the benefits of what will be at the other end of the click. Many SBIers are uncomfortable at this stage in the Buying Cycle. Position yourself as a "solution provider" and test different approaches and see what works for you.

4. They Give Up Too Soon

Sometimes when someone realizes they picked a 20,000 foot mountain, and they are only a small way up, people decide to give up. Perhaps they've already invested hundreds of hours and they've got nothing to show for it.

Now if that 20,000 foot mountain has a Pot-of-Gold at the top it may be worth the climb. You just want to make sure there really is money to be made first.

There's a new book out I've heard about. It's called "Three Feet From Gold." I think many SBIers quit when they are very close to the prize.

This is when an investment in a short-term PPC test might help you determine if there's "gold in them thar' hills." If there is, it might give you the motivation to continue.

Heck, maybe while your climbing to the top of the mountain using the "free traffic" path by doing SEO page building, you could also be taking the "PPC Gondola" short cut. Doing PPC can get you to the top more quickly and if do it right, you can be making money immediately while your waiting for your long-term SEO strategies to work.

Again, PPC has a learning curve, but if you learn it well it can provide a short cut to a lot of high, profitable mountains.

If you are new to PPC I highly recommend the AdWords For Dummies book by Howie Jacobson. This is an excellent book to learn about PPC.

5. They Misunderstand C-T-P-M

Now I'm a big fan of C-T-P-M. It makes a lot of sense and definitely does work. But it's not for everyone. Here's why...

It's true that good content does lead to traffic. But even if you do keyword research and find keywords that attract lots of traffic, you can't always be sure that traffic wants to buy something.

And even if it does have "buying intention" you can't always be sure that what that traffic wants to buy they want to buy online. Some products don't sell well online.

And like I said before... Google is smarter than ever. They really know the difference between good content that helps solve a problem, and content that is just filler and being used to "bait and switch" visitors into buying something else.

It used to be true that Content Is KIng. But today only Quality Content IS King or even worth a damn.

And even quality content doesn't guarantee that it will attract visitors who want to buy something.

Remember my golf club site I mentioned before. Sure my visitors wanted to buy things... they just didn't want to buy golf clubs online. They wanted to go look at them, feel them, try them first — and in-person.

So even though my Content was able to attract Traffic, my Traffic didn't want to buy through my site. Of course a short 30 day PPC test would have taught me this and I wouldn't have wasted hundreds of hours.

So the moral of the story is...

With C-T-P-M the M comes very late in the process — after you have traffic. So unless you do thorough Market Research and test your marketplace, you don't know if your traffic will actually make you money.

It might be better to think in terms of M-P-C-T these days as a better model in 2013. Go here to see what I mean.

If You Have A Product To Sell

The C-T-P-M problem I talk about above directly relates to selling a product.

If you already have a product to sell, perhaps of your own, using C-T-P-M may attract untargeted traffic. In other words, the traffic your content attracts may not have the particular problem that your product solves... so your conversions will be very low.

I had this problem with a client of mine. He had a book he had written and wanted to sell online. The book addressed a very specific need and audience.

Now he had already chosen a domain name and it was very generic and pretty competitive. Someone told him that SBI! was the way to go so he was off doing C-T-P-M — with my help. I helped him continue along this path and we added lots more Keyword Focused Content Pages using the classic SBI techniques.

But after 6 months and over 4000 visitors to his site no book sales.

He impressed upon me that his goal was to sell 10,000 books a year and asked "why am I not selling any books?"

Well it began to dawn on me. His traffic was too generic and untargeted to convert very well for his product. Sure his site would be good for monetizing with Adsense and affiliate products that were contextually relevant to the content on his site — but it was not going to attract folks with the problem that his book solved — certainly not enough to sell 10,000 books per year. The proof was 4,000 visitors and no sales.

So what should he do?

Well there's no telling if there is an online market for his book. There might not be.

But he could have discovered the answer to that question by doing a targeted PPC campaign to a "sales letter" type of page that focused only on selling his book.

Within 30 days, and for far less than he paid me to build his 100 page content site, he could have determined the exact keywords that lead to the maximum conversions of his book, what the correct marketing message should be, and what the correct price point would be for his book.

Now this is not a C-T-P-M strategy — more like M-P-C-T — but is IS an online marketing strategy that many people use.

As you can imagine, the reality was tough to take for both of us. SBI! and I had mislead him, and he probably should have been marketing his book in another way.

Needless to say, my client was not happy when I explained to him why I thought his book was not selling. I learned a great lesson and unfortunately it cost me a client.

And the lesson is... C-T-P-M is not right for everyone and every situation.

6. They Do Not Have The Proper Skill Set

Of course Site Build It! is pretty easy to use. Blockbuilder and the Action Guide are well thought out and most people are able to use them. But that doesn't mean everyone can do it.

They Don't Like To Read

Some people just don't like to learn by reading. They must see it being done and then do it themselves. Hands on is what works for them.

So unless you are someone who can work through questions and problems, then building a website can be a struggle. Using a computer is not for everyone.

Limited Computer Skills

Honestly, I've seen folks who have such limited computer skills that they struggle doing the simplest things. Cutting and Pasting is a challenge.

And they never really get past the basics of building a site or it takes so long that hours, months, and years go by and they haven't gotten very far. These folks really should take a basic computer course before they tackle SBI!. Or realize that this is not something they can do. I know this sounds cruel but it's true.

To really succeed you'll not only have to be good on the computer but eventually learn basic HTML. The more you know the better chance you have of succeeding. Everyone I know who has made a fulltime income online has excellent computer skills and have taught themselves basic HTML and CSS.

Marketing Skills

When you build a website, what you are really doing is building a business. Businesses are designed to make money. You make money by solving people's problems.

Without a fundamental understanding of these facts it's hard to succeed with an online business.

To just love a niche, or love to write about your hobby, is not enough to succeed in business. Sooner or later you have to "ask for the order." If you don't, you won't make money. Period.

I see many folks who don't want to sell. They think it's beneath them or that they are being too pushy asking people to buy something.

I think this is the main reason many SBIers never seem to get around to Monetization. They just don't feel comfortable.

But there is no shame in being a "solution provider." If you can help people solve their problems you are doing them a great service. What could be better than helping people? If your tone is helpful and your underlying intention to help comes through in your writing, people will be glad to take your suggestions.

In fact I recommend to my clients that they start selling right away. Find some good products that solve problems in your niche and do a test to see if people want to buy. It's never to early to start helping people and learning whether your site and niche has good commercial potential. Again, that's why we are building a website... right? So learning to be a good marketer is a fundamental skill that MUST be learned.

If you don't have enough traffic do some AdWords PPC until you get a couple of hundred people to your selling pages. If 1-2% of those people buy you may have found some fertile ground. If no one buys... then you many want to reevaluate your niche and your market. There's no shame in starting over with a new niche and a new site. Sometimes that's the smartest decision of all.

In fact, most people don't succeed with their first site. It's the ones that come after that that succeed.

Better to find out now that your site and niche are a dead-end street before you've spent hundreds of hours.

But Don't Be Too Pushy

On the other hand, some people push the marketing thing too far.

If all you are saying to people on your site is... BUY!, BUY!, BUY!... then your visitors won't trust you and definitely won't listen to your recommendations. Again, your tone must be one of a solution provider who wants to help people solve their problems.

And Remember...
The big difference between online and offline selling is that online the customer is in charge.
Unless you gently guide them from their problem to your solution, they will be gone quicker than you can say... "hit the back button".


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