PLEASE NOTE: Since this article was first written, I've added BizZites to my list of recommended Site Builders, especially for affiliate marketers who want to easily incorporate datafeeds into their sites. Read my BizZites review here.
During a recent telephone consultation, my client mentioned that she was having a problem changing the background color of her site, so I offered to show her how to change the color on the cascading stylesheet (CSS) that I saw referenced on her pages.
Well, that was easier said than done, as my client was using GoDaddy's “WebSite Tonight® Site Builder” package, which does not permit FTP access.
Furthermore, the stylesheet wasn't accessible through the online interface, so I couldn't amend the code.
Delving a little deeper, I saw that WebSite Tonight® offers a limited number of template choices. If none of those is to your liking, or if you want to get a little more creative with your design, there is no option other than to upgrade to another hosting package or change hosting companies.
Most site builder packages are similarly limited in scope and functionality.
They are perhaps best suited to those who want to build a ‘business card' site consisting of only a few pages; but as an an affiliate who wants to build a big content site that includes a blog, a newsletter signup form and other – what I call ‘basic' features – you'd be out of luck.
Regarding SBI!, David, who recently read the handbook, asked:
“I have never delved into the realms of HTML and now find I have a good excuse to do so. SiteBuildiT! looks like a very good option, however my only concern is further done the track would I have control over the development of the site(s) or otherwise, in respect to alterations using my own HTML experience?”
That is such a great question, as we should always be anticipating future expansion of our sites and businesses.
In a previous version of the Super Affiliate Handbook I made the comment, “As a webmaster with reasonably good knowledge of HTML and graphic design, I found the SBI! interface a little clunky and frustrating to use.”
That was because SiteBuildiT! sites historically had an “SBI! look-and-feel” about them. Each had the same two-column, left-side navigation format, and like many site builders there were a limited number of styles from which to choose. Because I believe that affiliate sites should be as unique as the individuals creating them, I saw this as a drawback.
Why was I still recommending SBI! if I thought it had limitations?
Well, first of all, nothing is ever perfect.
Secondly, as I also mention in the SAH, “I can overlook this downside to take advantage of the amazing topic research and search engine optimization tools that SBI! offers”. Total newbies are able to do research from within the SBI! interface and then build sites in profitable niche markets.
Better yet, these SBI! sites get traffic very, very quickly.
Furthermore, Ken Evoy (the founder of SiteBuildiT!, SiteSell and a host of other online services and infoproducts) changed the SBI! structure to allow webmasters with HTML knowledge to use their creativity on their SBI! sites.
If you visit the SBI site, go to the bottom of the homepage and click on “Client Sites” to see a variety of sample sites. Some use the SBI templates, while others obviously create their own designs.
And although I've been recommending hosts that use a CPanel interface with Fantastico for the ease of WordPress Blog and CMS (content management system) installations; I see that SBI! has also built Easy Blogging capabilities into their ecommerce package.
More than any other site builder of which I am aware, SBI! has a features list that could choke an elephant.
Best of all, the price is SO reasonable.
The regular price is $299/year – which works out to $24.92 per month. Ken has figured out that if you were to purchase all the tools included included in the SBI! package separately, it would cost you more than 5 grand a year.
Even if you only wanted just the basics – such as domain registration, web hosting, an autoresponder service and web site statistics – it would cost much more than the $24.92 a month that SBI! costs.
Lastly, Ken doesn't charge a set-up fee.
(I was appalled to learn that some site builder web hosts charge 1500 bucks to ‘set-up' their clients' accounts. Seriously, all it takes to set up a new web hosting account is about five form blanks and 2 minutes of their time. There's absolutely no excuse for that sort of gouging.)
In summary, most site builders are limited in scope and don't allow for future site expansion. If you are looking for a web host that has an site builder interface, review all the features thoroughly before you purchase an account.
SBI! is still a good option for new webmasters and affiliates who are looking for an easy site builder.