What I’ve Gained From SBI So Far – AKA My SBI Review

I’ve been asked in a comment on this post about making quality sites whether I’ve gained something by joining SBI and what exactly. I didn’t want to answer that in a comment because I think it warrants a post in itself.

I joined SBI in December and started researching my first site right away. I’ve registered my domain early January and now I’m at about 12 content pages on it. I intend to write at least 2 pages every day. I can’t do much more than 2-3 a day though because writing quality stuff really needs a lot of research, even if I know something about the subject.

If you’ve gone through the free Action guide, you might have realized the power of SBI. Before joining SBI, actually long before it, I’ve searched quite a lot about it. I mean at $300 a year it’s not exactly cheap, so I wanted to see what makes people join instead of going for the free WordPress or using Xsitepro at only $200 – a one-off price. Especially the Warrior Forum has a lot of negative stuff about it.

I also had a long discussion (spanned across a few months last  year) with an SBIer who is making a full income from his one SBI site. He has a few others as well, but only one is hosted with SBI, and he says ever since he is hosting with Hostgator, he simply can’t recreate the level of income he achieved with SBI.

One of the things he mentioned is that Google might favor SBI sites when it comes to indexing and ranking. Now before roll your eyes, just read further. SBI is ALL about white hat, and really purist white hat if I may say. They actually shy away from ‘doing SEO’ because they say that their entire program includes SEO, which is proper onfactor optimization and offsite linking and networking.

SEO has been created as an industry out of internet marketeers needs to game Google in bringing their sites to rank higher than other sites that might – or might not deserve to rank. Instead of letting Google determining who is best for visitors to rank, they are pushing their sites so make more money. Fair enough. But this is exactly what Google doesn’t like. And this is exactly what SBI doesn’t do either! Sure you have to promote your site, just like any offline business, for people (search engines) to start noticing you, but pushing a tight focused long tail keyword in an EMD (exact match domain) just to get to the top of the SERP is not exactly kosher, now is it.

Also SBI teaches how to create a good value site, one for visitors. They really bring home the idea of writing about your passion – or at least about something that you are interested in, know a bit about or want to learn about. There is a section on outsourcing tips in the SBI forums, but that’s pretty recent and it’s not very populated. It is because when you are interested in a topic and you put your own spin on it, your own personality on it, you can’t just outsource that and get the same results as when you write on your own.

This is the very opposite of what 99% of internet marketeers do (including the Xfactor ones) which is outsource everything, as cheap as possible. Even Elance is too expensive for many and they go instead to cheap Philippines to write a so-so article that will be put on the site to start making money NOW!

Yes, I’ve had this mentality as well, it was ingrained in me from the very first ebook that I bought on internet marketing. I’m just unlearning the bad habits that I learned during the last 3 or so years since I’m setting up sites to sell or to make money from. (I know, I’ve already lost half of you right here because you don’t agree with me on this point, and I’m pretty sure that half already clicked the Back button. That’s ok, I’m prepared to live with it).

Now I don’t say that all sites SHOULD be built with SBI. Far from that. However for me joining SBI means in the first place unlearning all bad habits and STARTING WITH A CLEAN SLATE in the right direction. This is like a university (darn cheap at $300 a year) where I can also earn money – money that I won’t be afraid to lose because of various new Google algorithms tweaks that are there to wade out thin Adsense and thin affiliate sites.

Also while the action guide is pretty big in itself, the actual amount of tips, guides, downloadable or videos, it’s pretty staggering. I haven’t even read the half of it. Many are written by the staff, and many by other SBIers who have become successful over time.

Before I’m going to the tools, I want to touch a bit on the forum. Personally I find the SBI forum just as big as the Warrior Forum, without the bickering and nastiness and censorship that is going there. At the WF unless you belong to a clique, if you’re a newbie and ask a question, well let’s say, you wish you’d never asked it in the first place. At SBI forums the information is equally much. The gems that I keep finding by great guys like Tomaz and others bring me those AHA moments just like that, one after another one, and I’m not kidding.

Definitely, Warrior forum has a ton of great posts, but except the human factor which is quite elitist there, the information is very ‘all over the place’. It has so many different ways of making money, that no wonder the newbies start with one thing, after a few months give up as they didn’t make money, and then they go back to the next shiny thing advertised on the forums, hoping to learn something new that WILL make them money. And the story goes on.

At the SBI forums the information is staggering indeed, but all is based on one central theme: making a quality site that makes you passive income in the long run. You can’t wade into thousands of different directions as you do with the WF, which especially as a newbie is quite confusing. Every section of the forum is focusing on one aspect of working on your site, be it from brainstorming those great ideas, to using the internal tools to get the best keywords for it, to writing that content that pre-sells and sells, to finding the best monetization methods for your chosen site, to using the right (white hat) backlinking methods to increase traffic, and so on…

And then you have thousands of posts in each of these section – all based on a central theme. In all honestly, the forum alone is worth the $300. Even if you never start a site with them, by simply being there for one year to learn all the right techniques, the right steps and the right way of doing things, you’ll receive the education that WILL help you make money online . Period.

Btw, one of the most commonly touched upon points at WF when it comes to SBI is that they say that SBI is very expensive for getting your domain there and the hosting. But if you read through this (very long) post from top to finish, you’ll see that SBI offers much more than just hosting and a domain registration. It offers an entire business (not merely a website builder) and the education to do it the right way as well.

And now to the tools. I’ve passed through the first two tools, the Brainstormer and the Master Keyword tool. They’re basically the day 2 and 3 of the Action Guide. Day 4 deals with best monetization of your site and it’s still using the master keyword tool. It’s nothing like the Google keyword tool, it’s a very complex tool that analyzes a lot of things that I haven’t even started on yet. But with the action guide taking you one step at a time, it’s not difficult at all.

Then you have a lot of other different tools. You can use the block builder (which is what I”m using right now for step 6) to setup your site, or you can add your own html pages. You can customize your site with the Look and Feel selector. Right now I used one of their existing ‘out of the box’ templates to get started on my site. I’ll change it later once my site is more established and it’s worth fiddling with the layout.

Personally I’m at this stage so far. However there are many more tools that I haven’t touched yet, such as C2 (Content 2) for adding extra pages using the help of others who submit tips to your site (and if you roll now your eyes and think ‘who would stick around on my site to send me in tips’, well SBI sites are made for visitors who return and love to send in their tips to be features on the site), using traffic analyzer, a business center, value exchanges, and a bunch of others that I haven’t even touched upon. I’m following right now the action guide to the letter and going through the ‘days’ (which are not really days, they’re more like steps) as I go ahead.

So for now, if you’re asking me if I got a lot out of SBI at $300 a year, I have to safely say, yes I did, and more. Like I mentioned earlier on, I will not host all my sites with SBI, but the one site that I will (actually I’m doing 2 right now with them because I got a 2 in 1 deal that I grabbed in December), will teach me how to setup sites the right way, without following all the many ebooks in the WF for ‘making money fast’ (and then fall flat on your face when Google ‘again’ tweaks their spam algorithm).

There are people at SBI making several hundred dollars from one site per day. Sure, it does take over a year in most cases to reach to that stage, however this earning will be stable because the sites created using their approach are safe sites, good sites, sites that will not give you a high bounce rate and push your visitors to hit the Back button all too soon… These are the sites that will continue making you money year after year – truly on complete autopilot once you’ve done your dues during your first year there.

And if you ask me how would I know, since afterall I’ve only started with SBI, it’s because there are many discussions about it on the forums on how much everyone is making and there is also the huge list of sites made with SBI that reached top 1% in Alexa based on their amount of traffic. And based on this traffic, trust me, these sites DO make money.

Once you’ve checked out those sites, if you decide to join SBI, please do come back to my blog and click through my link if you feel that I’m providing you with useful information :-)

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15 Comment(s)

  1. I have 2 questions about SBI.
    First how does their site building software compare to using WordPress? Is it hard to add posts?

    Second, when looking at those sites that are doing well, they are all older sites. The youngest I could find was 3 years old. So how long does it actually take to get good rankings?

    Cathy | Jan 21, 2011 | Reply

  2. It’s not hard to add posts. I use their block builder. It’s a bit different from WordPress, but I got used to it fast.

    As for the second question, SBI is a great tool, but it’s up to you how fast you start to make money with your site. It all depends on how fast you add content and how fast you start the link building – along with what type of links you add (quality or low level links), just like with every other tool online.

    Marika | Jan 21, 2011 | Reply

  3. Does SBI limit you to how many sites you can have on SBI system?
    Thank you,

    Trace | Jan 22, 2011 | Reply

  4. It is a different mentally there. Each site is actually a business. You don’t do small sites with only a few pages like we usually do out here, just to earn a few dollars each. There a site goes to at least 200 pages or 300 pages, and some have over a thousand pages, which will earn some serious money. That’s why each site is priced separately with its own annual fee.

    It is not only the hosting, domain and the tools but also imagine the traffic that such a huge mega site receives. We’re not talking here about 500 visitors a day, we’re talking about much more. A regular hosting such as Hostgator would simply not allow that kind of traffic through, it’d suspend the site right away until the traffic goes down, and that’s money lost for you. I’m sure you’ve come across that ‘account suspended’ messages – usually that’s what it means, that the servers are overloaded. In this case you have to buy a VPS or a dedicated server, which would cost just as much – without the added benefits that SBI offers.

    Yes $300 a year it seems a lot – and this is actually the main reason why I didn’t join SBI 5 years ago when I fist heard about it – but boy I’m sorry now that I didn’t join at that time. My site by now would be in that top 1% and I wouldn’t have to worry about Google deindexing or penalizing my tiny microniche sites…

    Btw, there is also a monthly option of around $30 a month or so for those who can’t afford the yearly upfront fees. Oups I think I forgot to mention this in my post.

    Marika | Jan 22, 2011 | Reply

  5. Are we able to sell the site?

    Trace | Jan 22, 2011 | Reply

  6. Yep, there is a forum section for selling and buying sites. You can also sell them outside, but SBIers tend to sell and buy among themselves. However site flipping is definitely not the way to go there. Trust me when you’ve brought a site to earning and you see the results, you won’t want to let go of it :-)

    Marika | Jan 22, 2011 | Reply

  7. Hi Marika,

    I appreciate your efforts to put SBI in the best light, especially since you are an affiliate for SBI.

    However, what is you “Proof” that Hostgator can only handle so much bandwidth? You imply that SBI has unlimited bandwidth and can handle all traffic demands. How do you know that for sure?

    Also, if I host on SBI, how do I get my sites backed up? What if I want to move to another hoster after building one up on SBI?

    Finally, the statement that Google show preference to sites hosted on SBI and not other hosting site such as Hostgator seems far fetched and I wonder, again, what facts you base that on?

    Buck Johnson | Feb 16, 2011 | Reply

  8. Before joining SBI I have read a lot on the subject, among others at the WF. Also it has happened to one of my sites that it was ‘suspended’ during the entire night because it suddenly exceeded its bandwidth. I lost quite a lot of traffic there during that night. Plus I have spoken with various people who have Google News sites (you know the E.Brian Rose style sites) who are constantly complaining that Hostgator and other hosting services simply suspend their hosting until the huge amount of traffic goes down. Just check Brian Rose’s forum for details, you’ll be amazed.

    During my time with SBI so far I haven’t found one single person saying that they got their bandwidth cut off because of too many visitors. It just never happened. While this is not proof as such, I think it’s pretty conclusive.

    There are many people who moved their sites from SBI to another hosting. It’s a bit tricky but it can be done. But I won’t go into details here since this is not something that you are intending to do very soon :D

    About your last issue, this is again a perception after discussing with people throughout the years. Don’t forget in SEO there are no ‘proofs’ just educated guesses based on experiences that I’ve seen and read about since I’m in the IM circles. Also my latest experiment. I started an SBI site at the same time I started a site with Xsitepro. The SBI site got indexed within practically a few hours. The Xsitepro site needed 4-5 days.

    If you will tell me now that this is no proof, indeed it is not. It is just my perception. I never said it’s proof, it’s something that I’ve noticed and mentioned.

    Speaking of endorsing affiliate links… I use and at least try for a while every single product that I review here, so yes, if I like a product, I will put it in the best possible light. Just as if I don’t like something, I will say so as well (read some of my past reviews for it). On the other hand can you say the same about the products you promote on your site? (wedidng & co)? I didn’t think so :)

    Marika | Feb 17, 2011 | Reply

  9. Marika,

    Your thoughtful and detailed response to my concerns really helps. Thank you very much.

    No, I have not used the items or merchants shown via Google on my XFactor sites. I do have five daughters, all of whom I have gone thru weddings with, however.

    I have always appreciated your ideas and contributions. I picked up on your efforts when the XFactor forum was up and have continued to follow your work thru this blog.

    I have considered the SBI product for the last three years and now I’m back again looking at it mainly due to your highlights on it. When/if I use SBI, I’ll click on your SBI affiliate link.

    Thanks again,

    Buck Johnson | Feb 17, 2011 | Reply

  10. Hi Marika,

    It’s been a few months, but I think you might remember me from the Xfactor Forum, username “jesseric.” I came to your blog, because I wanted to ask you if you are still using PHPzon API, and if so, how are your conversion rates using it etc.

    However, Your post on SBI intrigued me. I looked into SBI 5 years ago and almost tried it, but went with a Yahoo Stores site instead for an e-commerce site. Since then I’ve have built a bunch of Affiliate and Xfactor style sites with varying results.

    Based on your review, I’m going to revisit SBI and see if it’s the way to go for my next website. I’m really tired of the SEO merry-go-round, and trying to keep all of my sites updated and ranked etc.

    If I decide at some point to go with SBI, I will definitely come back here to buy through your link. I’ve always appreciated your helpful ideas on the Xfactor and Warrior forums, and would like to give you a monetary “thank you” if I can.

    All the best, Jesse

    Jesse | May 11, 2011 | Reply

  11. Cool, thanks Jesse, if you join, looking forward to see you ‘on the other side’ :)

    Marika | May 18, 2011 | Reply

  12. Hello Marika,

    I (and others I imagine) would love to hear an update about your SBI experience now that you have half a year under your belt.

    Phil B

    Phil B | Jun 17, 2011 | Reply

  13. good day Marika,
    thank for your insight of SBI, I would like to know where is all your SBI business backed up? would it be at the SBI offices? What happens if SBI decides to close( I understand this is unthinkable) but big corporate giants have fallen in the past. Does your business get lost as well. We are talking about long hard hours of work poured into the business.I just want to be safe that all the info stays with you. Thanks

    George | Aug 10, 2012 | Reply

  14. Hi George,

    At the moment I’m no longer with SBI. It was a great place to be at some point, however the last few months have seen a strong decline in the SBI support, Ken’s rantings that are just way too much to cope with, and overall the business model – they’re still trying to fix the many screw-ups that they did, features no longer work as expected…

    Overall I’ve become what I didn’t want to become: a dissatisfied customer who took her business elsewhere.

    Marika | Aug 10, 2012 | Reply

  15. Hi Marika, it’s sadening to see that SBI is not living up to what they claim.I wanted to purchase their system today and now i’m not certain. can you give me your advice on what other options are better. thanks
    you can email me if you prefer to keep this private.

    george | Aug 10, 2012 | Reply

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