Pour yourself an e-cappuccino and c'mon in. This is the spot for idle chat, gossip, rumors, and personal news. If it is personal, it belongs here, as long as it's done well and stays friendly. :-)

Moderator: Carol from East Anglia

#1270415 by Alf from Rotvollen
Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:36 pm
I was just referring to Ken's statement in his launch post about putting aside all other development, but your list shows that some work nevertheless has been done.
BTW; I hope this plugin, or what it is (not familiar with Wordpress at all) will live up to the hopes of Sitesell.

Yes, hosting at Sitesell has never given me any problems. It is really trouble-free.

Nevertheless, Lois' concerns about pricing are very valid, In her case, she spends 900$/year for 3 sites. She could do it with 30$ or so for plain hosting, but that is a bit unfair of me to claim. After all, SBIers get the business aspect included in the price, and that is not bad at all. However, she pays 3 times. With BizXpress, there is 149$/year for unlimited number of websites, hosted elsewhere, so in her case she would save around 750$/year by hosting her sites elsewhere and signing up for BizXpress, but of course she would need to learn FTP etc. to handle her sites by herself. Not all people are built for that :wink: Each one's decision.

I wonder where the pricing model came from? 149$/year for unlimited use for Wordpressers vs. 299$/year pr. site for ordinary SBIers, for the same tools (minus hosting, but that's not much, anyway)?
#1270421 by Lois from Flowers Cove
Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:50 pm
Thanks Alf, my feelings exactly... Actually I have four active sites :wink:

A break on the price would go a looong way :wink:

It's not that I think sbi is not worth the price - I love the tools, help, forums, etc. etc. - I've not ever made a comment about the price of sbi in the past - BUT, but when compared to the new product being offered for $149 with unlimited use, in THAT light it DOES seem very expensive. (4 x $299).

Maybe there will eventually be a business(?), website(?) with the "how to" to transfer (specifically) sbi sites to WP successfully/seamlessly to save $1,000 / year?

I do wish Sitesell all the best with this new product - the expertise behind the scenes is simply amazing!

Kind Regards,
#1270434 by Larry Chamberlain from LONDON
Tue Dec 17, 2013 9:11 pm

Hi Alf,

I wonder where the pricing model came from? 149$/year for unlimited use for Wordpressers vs. 299$/year pr. site for ordinary SBIers, for the same tools (minus hosting, but that's not much, anyway)?

Unless I'm much mistaken I don't think you get 'the same tools' with bXp

You get Brainstorm It! You don't get C2, Analise IT!, MOM etc.

All the best,
#1270435 by Dale from North Platte
Tue Dec 17, 2013 9:18 pm

I'm very excited about bizXpress!!


1. Can I switch my one domain from SBI to bizXpress?

2. Once I do that, assuming I continue to pay my monthly fee for SBI, which I plan to, can I use SBI without needing to replace my one domain name with another?

3. I understand that for those of us SBI users, bizXpress is free as long as we continue to pay SBI's annual or monthly fees. Does that mean we can use bizXpress for free for just one Wordpress site, or more than one?

Thanks so much. And a big thank to Ken and the crew for coming up with such an elegant option for those of us who already use Wordpress.

#1270436 by Alf from Rotvollen
Tue Dec 17, 2013 9:23 pm
Yes you are right. But then again, MOM is a dinosaur I have given up on (Sitesell recommends paying for AWeber i think), AnalyzeIt! causes different animals to move in with you permanently, I stopped using C2 because of all editing of bad/short/SEO-bad posts... Giving these modules to people unaware would only cause disasters, for Sitesell's reputation as well as for the users, IMHO.

It seems that Sitesell has put in only their best resources into BizXpress, which is a good thing. But then again, I haven't yet had my hands on BizXpress since I believe I do not need it. But I may be wrong...
#1270460 by Kristen from Hollidaysburg
Wed Dec 18, 2013 12:15 am
Just wanted to note that one does not get a much better price with bizXpress - the annual fee to Sitesell is lower, but you must pay for your own hosting.

I am really and truly a geek. I love Linux and I love playing around on webservers. Sure, you can get a server for $120 a year (all of the $80 a year ones turn into over 100 after the first year). But your site is going to be slower than molasses. That's a sad fact of shared hosting. It's almost painful!

You need to go to VPS if you want decent speeds, and that means around $50 or more a month (that's $600 a year paying monthly - around $540 if you get a 10% discount for paying annually). Plus you need to pay for bizXpress, too. VPS isn't "set it and forget it" either. You'll still probably be opening support tickets and trying to find your way around (without the help of videos and step-by-step screenshot images in most cases).

You could go lower in price if you build your own VPS... there's a whole website dedicated to "low end box" deals... but then you're really on your own. You build server's operating system, install the webserver, set up the mailserver, get FTP going, set up the proper directory structure for all your vhosts, etc. It's still $200-ish for reputable self-managed hosts... and even the cheapie "low end" ones come in around $100...

Again, I'm a geek. I love command lines and I like Wordpress. But I will say that I have never, ever had an issue with my SBI site (8 years old last month). It doesn't go down. It loads quickly. It's always there, always rock-solid.

I cannot say the same for my various "playground" sites ;)

And respectfully, Alf, I think if you look all over the web you'll see people on every host and every CMS/Static HTML that had unwelcome furry and flippered guests move in with their websites. I've only seen Sitesell bringing in the animal control truck, rounding those critters up, and booting them off of its IP's.
#1270477 by ken-admin
Wed Dec 18, 2013 2:49 am
Hi to all,

A few quick comments (well, one turned out to be more detailed ;-) )...

1) Please note Help Elf's post for how SBIers can get bizXpress for free...


Following the process makes it faster for you. Thanks very much.

And thanks to H.E. for calling it out, helping to smooth out the process.

2) Alf, not sure if you've read my posts. I had already answered pretty much all your points, except one which I see Daniel has answered...


Please see previous posts from my "pre-replies" to your posts. You'll find them addressed in various posts in this thread or in the other on bizXpress.

BTW, we're delighted with the uptake, with over 100 free trials per day. THOSE are the folks who'll tell us if we're on the right track.

We're off to a fine start, with more early conversions from free than projected. We'll fine-tune as we go.

3) Lois, regarding "unlimited sites for $149," it's not really a relevant reason for changing the pricing model for SBI!.

bizXpress is a plugin for WP. No hosting. No bandwidth. Folks who have moved high-traffic SBI! sites to regular hosting and WordPress have reported how that cheap hosting suddenly became much more expensive due to the traffic.

See Kristen's note here...


With bizXpress, we have none of those hosting expenses, nor the programming expenses of SBI!. Virtually all of our programming will go into SBI!, except for Brainstorm It! which everyone benefits from.

The ecosystem does the programming. We do the research, testing, vetting and follow-up to make sure you have the best, most stable combination possible. Don't get me wrong...

I'd love to create an original, IMPORTANT plugin for WP for many reasons. It's not likely to happen (just too congested) and if it did, we'd hire for that.

Basically, the value of bizXpress lies in...

i) The AG (the C Image T Image P Image M step-by-step CORE), which is updated on a regular basis. For WPers, this process not only cuts through the biz-building jungle, it helps folks navigate and optimize the use of WP, too (an area where many flounder).

ii) Brainstorm It!, which is worth more than all of bizXpress, all by itself. By the end of 2014, expect this to be, increasingly, your site-and-biz-building advisor (both SBIers and bizXpress users).

iii) The HQs, where WP-specific articles will appear regularly, either gleaned from the best of the literature and/or from the forums. bizXpress users not only stay on the biz-building leading edge, but WP, too.

iv) The forums, both the WP-specific part and the "for all" forums, the majority where it does not matter which platform you are using (same way that UYOHers became part of the BB1 group without a hiccup, even though these were two very different groups of people).

New SiteSell employees, WP experts, form a new "Content sub-team" within SiteSell. They monitor WP-specific RSS feeds for updates (testing to assure no new conflicts arise, for example), for new strategies of value specifically to those using WP, and so forth. They'll be doing what we do for SBIers, in a WP-specific way, including a "twin H.E." in the WP-specific forums.

But here's the thing...

While the value of bizXpress is way more than $149/year, our expenses are much less, too, than for SBI!...

No hosting. No programming (except the benefits of Brainstorm It! upgrades which all share in). Much less direct support by SiteSell Support will be needed.

1 site or 100 WP sites per client, our expense is identical, which is not the case for SBI!. We DO hope to show them that their best chance is to choose and develop ONE truly STANDOUT authority site that can be monetized. On that note...

"Unlimited domain" hosting is one of the reasons for the high failure rate of WPers. I believe that folks think they get more for their money by having so many sites, when in fact they do themselves a disservice.

It's fine if one site gets established, well trafficked and monetized, etc., to turn one's attention to a second (especially if folks start hiring and the sites are related) and repeat the process. THAT is also when the hosting price changes, BTW (if ever they start having multiple high-traffic sites).

So having a whole bunch of sites, none of which are doing much, but working on all of them, is one error we hope to correct. As I wrote recently, Google's insistence on quality is NOT going to support that. That has gone/is going the way of the "dodo" in 2 stages...

They intentionally killed the ABUSE of tons of "mini-sites" a few years back, as we predicted. Now Google will simply and naturally not reward you if your individual efforts are diluted among 10 sites. It won't be a penalty, just a natural result of the inability to run many businesses simultaneously at the level required (without employees, that is).

I am assuming that the SPE is not hiring a content team and
developing a truly serious publishing business. If that is
the case, don't expect that cheap host to keep the price at
$5 or $10 per month.


Bottom line...

These are two very different products, yet folks follow the same process. Our expense structure is radically different for the two. The price of one does not affect the other.

4) Dale, re this...


I'm not sure I understand, but I'll give it a shot. :-)

You have one SBI! site. If you want to change it to WP, the best way to do that would be to set up bizXpress for free (see my first answer above), rewrite the site using WordPress (and the recommended optimal set of plugins) into a directory (on decent-quality hosting) and then, when ready, move and point the domain to the new WP version. Then buy bizXpress and let SBI! expire.

For $150, unless it's a small site, it's probably not worth that effort. I expect, over the years, whether using SBI! or bizXpress, to see the continuation of an increasingly higher percentage of 1-domain (2 max) accounts, UNLESS building out a series of related/branded sites with employees, etc.)

Once you have a site that is succeeding, it's not the time to dilute your attention. It's the time to pour ever more energies into it and capitalize on it to the max. bizXpress users will find that type of success to be more expensive (hosting costs and expenses of third-party plugins), but won't care since it will still be a small expense relative to income.

Ditto for SBIers, those who prefer the simpler, built-in and more secure approach where no one has ever seen a pricing increase even with 100,000 visitors per day, nor seen their site throttled or removed for not paying a sudden price hike.

Part of the plan this year is to finish the job of BB2 and FBI!, modernizing the other tools and adding core functionality. Tools like MOM are admittedly clunky although they still get the job done. Don't mistake the OUTPUT (subscribers love Nori's e-zine, which looks and reads just fine) with the clunky UI. She still sells a bunch of Anguilla Cards with each Mailout, saving a ton of money without "MailChimp" having to appear on the zine.

On the other hand, she WOULD like to have a 2nd zine sent from within SBI! and not have MailChimp on the Cardholder e-zine. So we'll add that feature (but just for her). :-)

And to answer the 3rd question...

NO domain is attached to bizXpress the way it is with SBI!. Domains from bizXpress do not reside on SiteSell servers. They are with other domain registration services, and point to regular hosting. That is why you can use as many as you like with bizXpress. We don't pay for the domain, for hosting, for any tools, etc.

I hope that answered the questions? :-)

5) Kristen, thanks for the explanation and the kind words...


The sysadmin team works passionately on uptime and are security-crazies. I'll send them your post. :-)


OK, that about catches us up.

We approach the end of the year with a sense of accomplishment and peaceful resolve to grow and merge all 3 BB2/UYOH/WP groups into one, all following a common program, experiencing greater success than ever during 2014. I'll be focusing on special projects such as monetizing by developing your own products.

Working with Nori on her Anguilla Card these past couple of months reminds me of when I was first helping her with SBI!, teaching her how to write, as she built out her first pages of SBI!. 14 years old, sheesh.

When that first trickle of traffic came in, I can remember saying, even though we knew from the database how well SBI! worked, "hey, this really works!" Weird to think that. :-)

I find myself saying that again, though, even though I've developed and sold so many different products of my own over the years.

She has more than tripled her income, is excited and proud to be selling HER product, and generates more positive attention from various parts of "commercial Anguilla" than we ever expected.

You become a "somebody" in your niche. On top of that, she is NOT being used by Google and will probably soon choose to stop chasing people for money owed for referrals.

It's not REALLY news to me, but it IS new seeing it in her. The difference is striking when you actually SEE it happen.

However you build your site, I really want to develop a "process-tool" that enables you to experience the same results and emotion this coming year. In any event...

I need a project. :-)

All the best,
#1270492 by Dale from North Platte
Wed Dec 18, 2013 6:32 am

Ken, thank you for your answer to my question...

You have one SBI! site. If you want to change it to WP, the best way to do that would be to set up bizXpress for free (see my first answer above), rewrite the site using WordPress (and the recommended optimal set of plugins) into a directory (on decent-quality hosting) and then, when ready, move and point the domain to the new WP version. Then buy bizXpress and let SBI! expire.

My site is not yet built out, so except for the valuable Brainstormer work I've done, I'd pretty much be starting out fresh with the WP site.

Ironically, I wouldn't even consider WP if SBI had more modern website templates from which to choose.

If SBI offered templates that looked anything like the new bizXpress site (http://www.bizxpress.com/), WP frankly wouldn't hold any interest for me.

#1270509 by Daniel from Pitkin
Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:18 am
I agree with Dale... most of the templates are outdated. Don't get me wrong, I love SBI as a whole, but it needs some serious updating. Why does bizXpress look 2014 and SBI looks 1994?

The mailing list sign up forms also look outdated. I would like to see modern templates for these such as aweber and infusionsoft have, as well as some of their more advanced features. This is what my competitors are using. Ken already knows, I'm sure.

I understand bizXpress from a business standpoint, Ken wants to help the maximum amount of people and maximize his profits, grow his company. But from MY business standpoint, this is increasing my competition. Now I have to compete with the masses of WP users who will now have access to the same keyword tools, forum, and action guide that I have. Basically this could make my competition a lot stronger, as if the fight for search engine rankings wasn't difficult enough as it is.
#1270579 by ken-admin
Wed Dec 18, 2013 7:10 pm

Hi Dale and Daniel,

Now that bizXpress exists, those are perfectly reasonable and related sentiments...



As we found in The Study, as well as in separate studies that anyone can verify by testing how little traffic the typical SPE-built "gorgeous WP site" gets (I explained how to do that in a couple of recent posts), "modern look" does not correlate with SPE success.

That does NOT mean "modern look" CAUSES no-traffic failure. It's the lack of the SBI! cake that leads to THAT, for all the reasons that we know all too well...

AND that the first Wordpress users of bizXpress are just starting to realize
, now that they see how serious and complete the entire system is.

So yes, now you CAN have the SBI!-like process/tools/updating guidance CAKE and EAT the Wordpress templates, too. Add your own hosting, follow the optimal plugin setup, add compatible template and you can have that look and "do" SBI!, too.

But don't think that THAT is the road to success.


When Nori switched to "modern look" recently (using UYOH), she got quite a few compliments but no change in traffic or income in the following months.

Nor did she achieve her actual goal of a getting a high-end hotel sponsor, the last slot available (that was her reason for changing looks, figuring that maybe the site needed that extra, classy touch -- NOPE).

The reality is that what counts in design, good vs bad is much deeper than skin-deep. The Content Team just released an excellent post on this..


Another reality is that something far more important built her traffic.

And ultimately, the final reality of what tripled her income overnight was something at the opposite end of the C Image T Image P Image M process. :-)

I say that to lend a little perspective to what really matters.


And that leads me to a big picture digression that some may find useful...

Another positive outcome of our "knock on the side of the head" mindset is to simply accept that folks really THINK that some factors make a BIG difference when they don't. Another example would be those who think that having 10 sites is getting great value from Web hosting.

Prior to that March-May "Better than Best" period that pushed that "SBI! is best" complacency out of us, we were content to merely present our case, secure in our confidence of what we were doing.

It was soooo much work messaging in that manner, so much to overcome and convince. Now, though, with bizXpress, we don't have to argue ANY case. Consider these 3 cases...

1) If Wordpress is important to someone building an online business, no need to show that/how/why SBI! delivers better results than WP. It's NOT "either/or" anymore. Now it's...

"Use bizXpress with WP. We'll optimize your path through the ecosystem AND biz-building."

OK, between you and me and the lamp-post, it's not as simple as all-built-in, nor can it be as secure (unless you pay a substantial amount for "Managed Hosting" which is covered as an option as part of our coverage of security), but most WPers now have a much better chance with bizXpress than ever.

2) If someone believes that "modern look" is important to online success, why bother wasting time presenting data that it's not? Personal preference and intuition are hard things to overcome.

Now it's "sure you can have modern design." Once started, we'll ALSO make sure they have the REAL elements of good design baked in, too. THAT is what DOES make a difference.

(And SBI! will deliver it, too soon.)

3) If a potential biz-builder wants to use bizXpress with 1000 sites, who are we to argue?

Now our answer and approach is...

"1000 sites? Heck sure. You can use it with 1000 sites."

And they CAN. But they'll see that we build a strong case to either cone down and pick ONE (and how to do that) or start over with a 1001th (i.e., a better idea).

They're free to try and build 1000 authority sites if they like. But I do hope that we convince them to focus on ONE. I've covered why in a recent post.


Marketing is so much simpler this way. And there is no need to say that SBI! is better than WP, which always seemed so oppositional to fans of Wordpress, who took it as a slight to Wordpress itself.

It's very liberating for the marketing team, easier to communicate, and the free trial demonstrates our confidence. "So heck, even if you have doubts...

Just try it."


Meanwhile, from the product development team...

I just announced, in the final release for what has been a highly productive year, as we clean up and then break for the holidays...

Getting Back to BB2 Now, With a Big 2014 to Come

... that we resume the final steps to delivering the type of look that you are talking about, Dale and Daniel.

Get ready for major 2014 advances in BB2 (including the much-anticipated 1-column design), upgrades to existing modules, some changes in Brainstorm It! that really excite me (taking it in productive new directions) and at least one major new release (Monetize It!, which will be that much stronger with a combined community).

So SBI! will be "there," too, not because we believe that it makes a difference to your success, but because folks WANT it. As long as it does not hurt (and it doesn't), that big a WANT needs to be met.

As you said, Dale...

I wouldn't even consider WP if SBI had more modern website templates from which to choose.

Yes, when we release that final step in the evolution of SBI!s designs, those who feel like you do will stick with SBI!. It's all part of each product finding its own level. AND...

With bizXpress, good people will stop passing on through to a (non)-pathway that has a lower chance of success for a reason that has little to do with success ("modern look"). Now that reason to "not choose SBI!" is gone.

Others will choose WP for a variety of OTHER reasons, too.

It's like plugging a big hole that was losing prospective SBIers for no good reason.

ALL who DO will have a much better chance to succeed now.

Bottom line....

The community grows larger, which improves forums, enables more resources for tool development/improvements, as well as a special WP content Team for WP-specific training/updating/guidance.

Everyone wins. :-)

All the best,

P.S. Daniel, just a quick aside re your post just above mine...

Please do check out the templates that the team has been releasing more recently. "1994" is hardly fair. I guarantee you won't get one visitor posting, "hey, how 1994!" Heck, not even "how 2009!" ;-)

Aside from the Content Team's post about what DOES make a difference in design, it's the bigger picture of the entire system, and executing THAT well, that WILL be what makes all the difference.


And about the "everyone's going to be using this now" point that you raise

Now I have to compete with the masses of WP users who will now have access to the same keyword tools, forum, and action guide that I have. Basically this could make my competition a lot stronger, as if the fight for search engine rankings wasn't difficult enough as it is.

I've covered this point in the launch announcement. Please see...


We'll always be a drop in the ocean. See where I say...

Worried about increased competition from now-effective WPers? Don't. If we TRIPLED sales, we'd still be less than a drop in the ocean of 200,000,000 websites.

With the infinite number of niches possible, and as we move into "develop your own product monetization," the possible business variations grow.

The benefits of more voices and perspectives in the Forums and more development dollars to grow both products make bizXpress a WIN for everyone.

Despite the advantages that are obvious to YOU, most won't get it. Most flock to easy solutions, don't read manuals, follow whatever the hottest ideas are, etc. BUT that tiny percent of SPEs who "would have" (if it was WP) now will.

And THAT type of growth brings benefits that are big WINS for all.

For some, it may be hard to see now. This is sort of like
the time when BB1 users were terrified that those who
uploaded their own HTML were going to all sign up, chew them
up with "their" SBI! and knock them out of the SERPs.

Instead, all parties ended up better off and the forums
gained from it in several ways, ONE stronger community.


P.P.S. Since we're seeing some of the same points already covered, please see my posts on bizXpress...

1) Launch announcement...

And replies...

ANSWERS Re: bizXpress Launches!

More Answers

And more...


2) Reflections...

By Daniel, who had to close a Troll down at...

Some answers, which finally ended the baiting AND answered other questions

You'll see that we've thought this through. If a product is not a WIN-WIN-WIN, it's not something that we'd do.

Some folks are delighted to share SBI!. Others want to keep a great thing to themselves. But please remember...

We're not that great little seashore restaurant with only 3 tables.

There's loads of room for a lot more people, the serious type of people who aren't afraid to roll up their sleeves. All they need is the type of help that we provide to navigate through the jungle (or 2 jungles, as the case may be). :-)

While it's mathematically true that the "odds" of someone doing the same niche goes up, they still remain very long odds. And the real odds are that you'll sub-niche differently, spin differently, monetize differently.

It's not something that I'd worry about if I was you. Much better is the benefits that come from all this.
#1270590 by Dale from North Platte
Wed Dec 18, 2013 8:31 pm

Ken, I thank you for your response:

As you said, Dale...

"I wouldn't even consider WP if SBI had more modern website templates from which to choose."

Yes, when we release that final step in the evolution of SBI!s designs, those who feel like you do will stick with SBI!. It's all part of each product finding its own level. AND...

With bXp, good people will stop passing on through to a (non)-pathway that has a lower chance of success for a reason that has little to do with success ("modern look"). Now that reason to "not choose SBI!" is gone.

For now I've decided to go with bizXpress and WP with my one site. And I'm very excited about the combination of the two.

But, I'll be keeping a close eye on SBI. If, as you say...

...when we release that final step in the evolution of SBI!s designs, those who feel like you do will stick with SBI!

...then I'll reconsider.

One more thing. I cannot imagine another CEO/Founder of a company EVER responding with the care that you have in this forum, and as promptly. Thanks Ken!

#1270593 by Rick from Mc Cune
Wed Dec 18, 2013 9:02 pm
Just a comment...

The great WordPress designs available have little to do with traffic. It's more about the site owner having pride in how the site looks. And a great design might keep people on the site a little longer too... which is the oft unspoken metric. Traffic is important, but if people leave in the first few seconds it doesn't mean much.
#1270598 by Christine from Blanding
Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:22 pm
The great WordPress designs available have little to do with traffic. It's more about the site owner having pride in how the site looks. And a great design might keep people on the site a little longer too... which is the oft unspoken metric. Traffic is important, but if people leave in the first few seconds it doesn't mean much.

I agree, and I my experience is they are more likely to give your their credit card if the site looks more "modern."

Having formerly owned 7 SBI sites and switched a few over to WP for myself and family members, I have found that my Adsense conversions are better with SBI (higher CTR), BUT on the TWO eCommerce sites (where I was selling products), the Wordpress sites more readily converted the traffic into sales. My sister's site went from 0 sales a month to her first $100 month after the switch over. Keep in mind her site had been with SBI for over two years and was hit by Penguin and Panda so her traffic was actually lower in the switch over month. The same happened with another site of mind that promoted affiliate products. I switched over to a WP theme that was designed for eCommerce (WooCommerce) and showcased the affiliate products in a store think a modern look and feel PLUS a shopping cart housed on the same site instills more confidence when it comes to people handing over their credit cards. Or it may be that a site that focuses more on eCommerce products (with a blog to drive traffic) shifts user focus from reading to buying.

My experience is that content sites seem to fare better monetization wise if you're using ads to drive your revenue (although you need a LOT of traffic), and eCommerce/product sites have done better w/ Wordpress. Not to mention you can quickly add more subscribers to your list with by integrating your mailing list sign-up with your shopping cart if you use something like aWeber of Infusionsoft. Every customer has the opportunity to be on your list, and once someone's bought, they're more likely to buy again.

I think the future (as Ken has mentioned) is in product development so sites optimized to feature products prominently instead of keyword-focused-content pages, may be more profitable.

edited to add bolding and missing words
#1270621 by Javier from Caserío Los Yesos
Thu Dec 19, 2013 2:24 am
I was going to start by leaving the importance of visual design to one side to focus on functionality, but I have to tip my hat to Rick's comment where he points out the importance of the website owner's PRIDE in a job well done!

The more impact a website has on the owner on a daily basis every time they have to "turn up for work", the more pride they have in previous work well done, the more likely they are to 1) produce content that wows their visitors and 2) make the necessary improvements when it comes to functionality.

I don't even see why there is a need for a debate about this. It was only relevant ten years ago and had a lot to do with cost and hiring third party designers.

But not now.

Anyone can CHOOSE to have professional quality web design templates and widgets now for relatively little cost. I don't understand why anyone would NOT want to start a new business venture in 2014 with a professional look and feel. It's like saying, I really want that amateur hand made look and I'm really proud of it, it's part of my strategy to undermine my competitors, the home-made look will be all the rage, just you wait and see!

Now, that may turn out to be a self fulfilling prophecy. :wink: But, the way things are going, more and more people expect a certain level of design integrity when they click through from one site to another.

If I'm not mistaken, the recent Google study did in fact confirm this. I don't think that the bias that "we are SBIers recognizing SBI sites and visitors don't tend to notice or care" holds up anymore. It's time to move on, catch up and realise the importance of first AND long term impressions.

Any business that doesn't care about it's appearance and presentation values will fall behind the pack when competitors get it right AND all other things are equal.

In other words, you, as a serious SPE were never really competing with all of those part-time bloggers with "glossy" templates and widgets.

You ARE competing with serious, dedicated, hard working, hungry for success, SPEs that chose the WP route precisely because they wanted to create a great first and lasting impression when people walked up to their "shopfront".

And it really does go back to traditional shop front presentation. Even yesterday, I saw how perfectly acceptable shopfronts at perfectly operational businesses were being renovated in an attempt to keep up with the competition. It was very easy to see (unlike online) how if one of these businesses were to fall behind in exterior and also interior design and function, loyal customers would begin to get itchy feet, all other things being equal.

It's just the fickle nature of the environment we live in. There's so much choice. And I think that is multiplied by... a big number, once you move online.

Design, presentation, functionality don't suddenly take a back seat because you're now dealing with pixels instead of bricks and mortar. And the reasons why people were successful with plain, clunky sites up to now, had to do with the novel environment and user expectations. Those expectations have become more sophisticated and will continue to do so. Those that ignore the importance of quality presentation values, whether the style is subdued minimalism or over-the-top eye candy, will fall prey to the myth that content, or functionality in this case, alone is enough to seduce your prospective future customers.

If that were the case, there would be no car designers, only engineers. There would be no landscape designers, only city planners. There would be no flowers or ornate wooden coffins at funerals, only the unnerving sound of a zipper closing on a body bag... :mrgreen:

The cold engineering approach with no regard for design may have been successful up to now online, and the home made, amateur look and feel, complete with clunky widgets, may have conveyed a sense of innocent charm... for a while, but the web has finally grown up and now everyone has to up their game regardless of the platform or the niche.

At the moment, it's still easier to achieve a more cohesive, comprehensive, integrated and professional look and feel with a WP theme than with Sitedesigner. I can see why some SBIers - past and present - that are starting out will still be swayed by the more professional looking themes. Why wouldn't they be? It's only natural that they want to get off to the best start possible when it's so EASY to do. Again, first impressions are now more important than they were previously and the cost of great presentation is now negligible when compared to expensive design services.

And while the niche may influence what a visitor expects to find in terms of presentation values, you still have to consider that your little SPE site is not an island unto itself on the web. Visitors will, more than ever, judge your presentation values based on a broad experience of commercial sites, social media platforms, and competing SPEs. It's only a matter of time until we all have that little three bar icon at the top of our sites. :wink:

Even incredibly stark, single purpose landing pages are getting the beauty treatment. A lone sign up box will be all that more enticing with a little attention to aesthetics. Again, with all other things being equal, the Aweber newsletter sign up form is just so much more inviting than the plain SBI box ( which admittedly has received an upgrade and hopefully there will be more to follow ).

Phew! I only wanted to point out the remaining issues when it comes to functionality when comparing WP and BB2 so I'll make my point quickly to wrap up...

I agree with others in this thread and beyond, that COST alone is not the most important metric when trying to make a choice between BB2 and WP (I see this as being a more accurate representation than comparisons between SBI and BizXpress which are essentially the same product catering to different user groups).

It all depends on how much traffic your sites get, how many sites you have hosted and a whole bunch of other things when you start looking for advanced functionality.

And that's another 3 pointer that's scored in favour of WP hosting for your site or sites. Everything is pluginable right there in the same spot without recurring to extra hosting accounts for extra functionality should you require it.

I'm not going to split hairs about cost. I'm just trying to work things out so I can make a decision here. But when an SBIer decides they'd like to attach a professional blogging platform including commenting, or a shopping cart, or a forum, or larger image files, or any number of relatively common website functionality extensions, they are faced with another bill for outside hosting. And then there's Aweber... and so on, but of course, this is only even a talking point in the early stages of site development, so...

What I'm wondering is if that extra bill increases relative to traffic also? Oh wait, scratch that... of course it doesn't. The two things are separate, so cost should stay relatively low when traffic increases compared with WP hosting alone. Ok, that makes sense. So the only advantage, in that respect, is that the "all-in one-place" nature of WP functionality and hosting wins out over SBI's clunky alternative. Hmmm...

I wonder what Ken would do if he were just starting out on the web today and he was confronted with the choice between SBI and BB2 OR BizXpress and WP?

Let's say that he planned to start a single authority site with possibilities for a second, once the first became profitable.

I think I know the answer, but you never know... times change.

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