Thu Oct 30, 2014 11:08 pm
Updated November 2017: If you are returning to SBI after a break and need help finding your feet this post is for you.
I've put together this guide to help you get started. It doesn't cover everything and some of it may be irrelevant to you. Hopefully it will give you a quick overview of some of the things that have been happening while you were away so you can get back into building your business.
There have been lots of changes at SBI over the last few years. Lots of upgrades since the release of BlockBuilder 2. Google has also released some major changes to their ranking algorithm making it harder to rank unless your site follows their guidelines. If you've been away for a while the sheer amount of new information can be overwhelming.
The elves have been busy writing new articles and help files, you can find the help files by clicking on the ? that you'll find all over the place.
New Releases since August 2012
I compiled several posts listing all the new releases since Aug 2012 - you will find links to them and a list of all the new releases so far for this year here
Here's a new post with the New Releases from Jan 2015 - Nov 2017
If you just want the highlights then keep reading.
* Some important notices first *
Say goodbye to Site Build It! And hello to Solo Build It!
Convert your site to HTTPS
Google Chrome's v62 is upon us, which means it's time to convert your site to HTTPS (or have Chrome warn visitors that forms and other content on your pages is not secure).
Use the HTTPS resource check tool to find out what you need to do before you convert. You'll find the link in Site Central in the SiteBuilder section. Here's the help, which you can also get to by clicking on the ?
Read the article - Converting to HTTPS, and Post-Conversion Tasks before you convert so you know what's going to happen and what to do.
Check your conversion is complete.
HTTPS: Are You 100% Sure Your Conversion Is Complete?
Mobilize It! and The Responsive Design Templates
Getting your site looking good on mobile devices is becoming more and more important.
If you use blockbuilder 1 or 2 and have one of the old responsive design templates, then you can use mobilize it! http://help.sitesell.com/mobile/mobilize-it.html
If you want to change your websites design then you can choose a responsive template, there are several in the gallery, clearly marked as responsive. Here's some examples of sites using the new templates https://forums.sitesell.com/viewtopic.php?p=1322809#1322809
Loads more responsive design templates have been added to Site Designer including the New Stripe templates. so do go and have a look,.
A Sparkling New Site Designer Gallery
You can now preview each design.
Your Contact Details Must Be Up To Date
Check your contact details are up to date! ICANN changed the regulations at the beginning of this year (2014) to make it mandatory for registrars of domain names to verify your contact details if you register, transfer or change the contact info for your domain names. If they can't contact you, your domain name will be suspended.
Here's more information on how to update your contact details with SBI and what to do if your domain name has been suspended.
Anti-Spam Legislation Compliance
If you are sending emails or planning to then you should be aware of the Canadian Anti-Spam Law. If any of your emails go to Canada you now have to include a physical mailing address and a secondary means of contact within your emails. SBI have made this easy for us by including an address directly into any emails we send. It doesn't have to be your own address, you can use a PO box or SiteSell's mailing address instead. If on the off chance SiteSell receives any mail for you they will forward it to your billing address.
To set up the address you want to use go to My Account (there's a link at the top of Site Central).
Scroll down to the Business Address & Contact Information section.
Choose the address you want to display from the drop down then add the email address you wish to use as a secondary contact.
You can read more about it here - Anti-Spam Legislation Compliance
Are you still passionate about your topic or are you thinking of a change but don't really want to let the old site go or sell it? If it's making a bit of money but you can't really afford to keep paying the full subscription and start a new site then you might want to try Autopilot It! You can now keep the old site going on auto pilot for just $50 a year. You will have to get a new subscription for your new site but the old one will still be there, waiting for you if you want to work on it again. You can change it back to the regular subscription at any time.
Here's the forum post about it, you'll need to scroll down a little to find the details.
Announcing AutoPilot It!
You will also find a link to the form in Site Central's Business Center.
SBI! for WordPress (formerly bizXpress) Launches!
Do you love WordPress but want the business building tools that SBI provide? Well now you can have both! You'll find a link to the landing page along with the announcement here.
There's a new alternative way to contact support with your questions. When someone's available to help you'll see the Chat option in the lower right corner of your screen.
Here's the announcement - Chat Support Is Here to Stay
Okay that's the big stuff out of the way. What to do if you just want to get back to building your business?
If it's been a while start by rereading the Action Guide (AG). The AG has been revised and updated to include all the new changes to the tools within SBI and the Search Engine's (SE).
The whole AG has been updated and new sections added.
Action Guide Design Updates and Other Enhancements
Action Guide has new feature
- Action Guide Tasks (Interactive, Too!)
Growth Hacking LAUNCHES In Action Guide!
Learn how to create your own personal network to help you and your business grow.
If you haven't worked on your site for a while you may have seen a gradual drop in traffic through inactivity. If you have had a big drop in traffic all at once then you may have been hit by one of the major Google algorithm's. I will go into more detail about these later in this post.
If you don't want all the details but just want to get back into building pages then read through the following new articles.
These will give you an overview of how to write your pages, what you should and shouldn't do in light of the google changes.
It's possible to see a traffic drop after converting your site to HTTPS, so if your traffic is already down and you have done so yet, now would be a good time to convert. Anything you do after will help the site to start gaining traffic and you won't lose it again if you decide to convert at a later date.
Best Practices for Page-Building
Best Practices for Building a Site That Humans and Search Engines Love
Quality Content Guidelines
Page Quality According to Google
BlockBuilder 2 consists of 2 major parts..
Site Designer - where you can pick a template from the gallery and add all the styling to create the look and feel you want.
BlockBuilder - where you create the page content. Drag and drop the blocks you want, where you want them.
Before you start converting pages to BB2 you may want a new site design. You may just want a new look and feel any way there have been lots of new templates added to Site Designer's Gallery.
There's a link to Site Designer in Site Central, don't forget to click on the ? to get the help for each area.
If you use BlockBuilder (BB) then all new pages will be built using BB2, you can still edit BB1 pages.
If your pages are built with BlockBuilder 1 then a good start would be to transfer them to BlockBuilder 2. It's a great opportunity to go through each page and make sure they follow the best practices.
Here's How To Convert BB1-Built Pages to BlockBuilder 2
BB2 has lots of great features and you may want to transfer your pages if you Upload Your Own HTML (UYOH) especially if you only did so because of the limitations imposed by BB1.
Here's How To Convert UYOH-Built Pages to BlockBuilder 2
If you UYOH or use HTML code in BB2 then you should be aware of the change to HTML 5 code.
You can read the forum announcement here, it's the last item on the list of releases.
Here's Ken's don't panic reply to some questions in that post
Help Elf wrote an article to clear up the confusion about the changes that you may have to make. It's not urgent just be aware of them so you can start making the changes in the future.
You may want to do some brainstorming using Brainstorm It! If you've been gone for a while you will be pleased to know that the MKL now holds up to 5000 keywords!
There have been several changes to Brainstorm It! and the MKL that makes sorting and grouping keywords so much easier. Here's the forum post that announces the launch.
New Brainstorm It! Databases Launch -- Yes, Two!
If you were used to the old system it may seem a bit strange at first but the new system does make things a lot easier.
The AG has been updated to show these new tools in action or click on ? within the MKL for the help for each tool.
More updates to Brainstormer!
Keyword Limits Increase
BI! 4.0 Launches Next-Gen Partner, and a Contest!
BB2 Word Counter and UI Enhancements
If you are going to do more keyword research then do read these recent articles.
Keywords vs Topics
Keyword Box Accepts only One Keyword Now
301 Redirects (Yay!)
You can now 301 redirect individual pages of your site.
Special File Manager Limit Increase
Yes!! We bumped up the total limit for Special File Manager (SFM) from 200 MB to 512 MB. That should give you plenty of breathing space.
An EU widget is now available
Ad-Free Site Search Options (New Article in TNT HQ)
Google has recently announced its decision to withdraw Google Ad-free Site Search. Here's some alternatives
The What's New Box
The RSS box has been retired and replaced with the What's New Box so you can get rid of the old style RSS block.
Table Of Contents
Remove the Table Of Contents from your pages as it could hurt your rankings. The TOC was necessary when the nav bar was image based now it's text based and the TOC is just a duplication of the nav bar. Duplicate content within a site is not a good thing as far as the SE's are concerned.
To remove the TOC - if your pages are BB2 then just delete the TOC block. If you are converting pages leave the TOC off the page.
If you UYOH and added it via the ***TOC*** tag, remove the tag.
If that doesn't convince you then try some hypnosis with The Hypnotic Release
Visitors Site Map
If you remove the TOC from the homepage you might want to create a visitors sitemap if you haven't already got one. A visitors sitemap is usually a tier 2 page that includes links to every page on your site. If you have a lot of pages you may want to split it up.
Building a Site Map includes instructions for BB2 as well as the code.
Don't forget to update your copyright notice usually in the footer area of your site.
If you have any BB1 pages then the link to edit the footer can be found in Site Central in the SiteBuilder section.
BB2 built pages will usually have a text block in the Footer Site Wide Dot. If you haven't added one then just drag over a text block and add the copyright notice including the © (you can copy the symbol from this post).
Google's Algorithm Changes
Panda and Penguin and Phantom, Oh My!
Since Panda was released in 2011 there have been several major algorithm releases from Google.
If you haven't worked on your site for a while then your traffic may well be down anyway due to inactivity. If you were hit by an algo it's often easy to tell by a large drop in traffic on or close to the roll out date.
UP-TO-DATE Release Dates for Google Panda, Penguin and Other Significant Updates
Panda was mainly about quality content and there are several articles about this in the Tips and Techniques HQ.
Penguin was more about links and also has a section in the Tips and Techniques HQ.
The Google Unified Study and Report
SBI has made it easier for you to work out whether you were affected either negatively or positively by any of the releases.
If you were hit then don't panic help is already available. The Google Unified Study Report was a major undertaking, volunteers collected data from 100's of SBI sites. This data was analysed and worked into a report to help you work out what to do.
The Google Unified Study and Report can be found here https://forums.sitesell.com/viewtopic.php?p=1257020#1257020
Google Algorithmic-Change Profile (GAP)
You don't need to make your own calculations if you don't want to. You can find a link to your own personal GAP Calculations in Site Central's Traffic Center.
Check your GAP score to see if you were hit by any of the recent major algo's. There's a link on the page to the help that explains what the numbers mean and how to use them.
Once you have analyzed your GAP numbers then you will move onto Prioritize It! which will help you work out exactly what you should do next to get your traffic back.
Whether you were hit by Panda or not if you haven't already completed an audit then that could be a good place to start. The Panda self-audit was the result of another huge study completed in 2011 after Panda first hit.
This article will give you the details on how to get started.
Part 1: Panda Self-Audit... What To Do
Analyze It! has been updated to take into account the data found through the Google Unified Study Report.
Here's the forum announcement https://forums.sitesell.com/viewtopic.php?f=130&t=210698&p=1281339#1281339
A new release to help move your site to a new domain name.
If you decide that you have been hit too hard by one of the algo's and no matter what you've done it hasn't recovered.
Or you now realise that your domain name is too long and clunky or even worse has a typo you can move your site over to a new domain name using Move it!
The process is quite involved and won't necessarily bring your traffic back but it may be better than continuing with a site that's going nowhere or is still losing traffic. It's not a magic pill though and you will have to fix whatever is wrong with your site first or you'll just take all those bad pages and links with you.
You can find the link to Move It! in Site Central's Business Center.
Here's the help http://help.sitesell.com/moveit/move-it.html
If one of the reasons you left was because you couldn't allow others to safely work on your site, without giving them access to everything, then you no longer have to worry.
Subordinate logins allow you to control who has access to certain parts of your site, to reduce the risk that any one person can damage your site (by accident or on purpose).
Subordinate login help - http://help.sitesell.com/subordinate.html
You will probably have already noticed this but the forums have had a makeover. They have also gone public but don't worry whether you go public or stay private is up to you. You can read more about the changes here.
Best Answer Voting Launches in the Forums!
If you are now thinking about how you can make money with your site then there are two great threads on how to go about it.
If you have an informational product like an e-book there is already lots of information available in the forums, the monetization HQ and Tips and Techniques HQ. There is now an article that brings these all together in one place.
Connecting the Dots: How To Sell Information Products
If you want to create your own product to sell then Ken goes into great detail in the Make It! series
How To MAKE IT!
If you have an established audience and are looking for an alternative way to make money then Trafeze could be for you. Find out more here.
TRAFEZE: The "Uber of Monetization" Launches https://forums.sitesell.com/viewtopic.php?f=83&t=219441
FAQ about Trafeze https://forums.sitesell.com/viewtopic.php?f=83&t=219571
Articles and Forum Posts that may help you get back to building your business.
Pinterest Action Guide
One Page/Goal a Week Challenge: It's a huge thread, yet we'll be starting again at the beginning of the new year - keep this link, though, there were many great ideas there if you have time to enjoy the saga. You'll love the TOC links too):
Hopefully that should give you enough to get you moving forward.
I haven't put the items in a particular order as what you should do next will depend on how long you've been away and where you are in your site building journey.
If you have any questions or suggestions do post a reply so we can make this the go to thread for those returning to SBI!
All the best,
PS. I've tried my best to make sure the links are correct and there are no typos, if you spot anything wrong do let me know so I can fix it - Thanks