How I made a website about Whiskey

... here's how you can have a website too:

This page is a continuation of my About me. I never believed that page would have such an impact so I would just like to thank everyone who has taken the time and trouble to give me their feedback.

I really appreciate hearing from those of you out there who I’ve managed to inspire or motivate into finally doing something you've been dreaming of for a long time. Well done and all the best!

I also receive many emails asking me more questions about this website and about SBI. Obviously there is a lot of curiosity about the system, and clearly I didn't do a good enough job when I told you about my path to building whiskeywise.com.

Because the questions are often the same, I’m going to answer as many of them as I can so that you don’t have to leave this page with questions unanswered.

Firstly, some hard numbers

A few people have asked me right out: "How much are you making and how long did it take?"

It is mid December 2008 as I write this, and I have been with SBI for 24 months.

I own just the one SBI website: whiskeywise.com (my first site), but the plan is to launch a second site in 2009. I already have the subject and I’m quite excited about this new venture.

Whiskeywise.com is quite well established. It has approaching 1300 visitors a day and this has really gained momentum as the year has progressed. Some of my pages are ranked at number one on Google, whilst others are consistently high in other search engines. All achieved using the SBI system.

My income from Adsense (those "Ads by Google") adds up to about $150 US a month and I also have income from several other sources. The plan is to introduce other advertisers, and to make money from book and DVD sales in 2009 by telling people where they can buy them, and if someone likes the product and buys it I get a small commission.

I’m not earning enough to ditch the day job, yet, but it's still very welcome and is building.

My whiskey site took a lot of upfront work, but it has now started to pay back the time investment, and it’s so encouraging to see my site traffic growing as the weeks progress.

No doubt my new site will mean I spend most of my time doing the initial work that doesn't immediately translate into money. But it also means that another 6 months or so down the track, I will make a lot more than if I had only one site.

The most important point to take away here, is that my income is steadily growing, day after day after day, whether I work on my website or not!

Of course it grows faster when I do a lot of work, but it still grows while I go to my full time day job as a Sales Director, I earn money while I travel, I earn money while I sleep. It's pretty hard to beat.

What's also hard to beat is the feeling that you own your life and you are in control of what happens to you. As the current economic crisis worsens I have a real feeling of being able to control my own destiny.

If I lose my job I have an income stream that whilst it is still relatively small at the moment, it is growing, and who’s to say that with full-time attention, will not make me the sort of money I’ve been used to and more!

Is this really as easy as it sounds?

That is probably the most common question. The answer is, yes and no. It depends how you define easy.

It certainly isn't a matter of pressing a few buttons and the money starts rolling in. If that's what you meant when you said easy then the answer is no.

The one point I stress in every email, whether people asked this question or not, is this:

It takes time, hard work and commitment to build a successful website. Do not underestimate the amount of time, the amount of hard work, and the amount of commitment involved!

But that's all it takes.

  • It does not take exceptional writing skills
  • It does not take technical knowledge
  • It does not require that you know anything about computers or websites.

You will initially have to learn a lot, but that learning is part of SBI. You will be guided through the whole process. Anybody who is willing to learn and work can do this, no matter what his or her background. So if that's what you wondered, then the answer is yes. It really is that easy

You can do it.

How much time do you spend working on your site?

I still have my day job, so I only work on the weekends, or when I get any other time.

I initially wrote a page or two per week for the first few months.

I changed my job after the first 6 months and really didn’t touch my site, because I just did not seem to have enough hours in the day, but when I came back to the site I was pleasantly surprised, and encouraged to see how my daily traffic had increased.

Since July 2008 I have done a lot more on my site, and my time investment has started to pay off in terms of both traffic and income.

Now my focus is on getting my second site to that stage, too.

It sounds good but I have no idea what I could make a website about.

That is absolutely no problem.

Most people who already have an idea change their mind once they start with SBI.

I had two ideas when I started and dumped them both. SBI came up with the topics for all my websites.

The first thing that SBI teaches you is how to select a profitable topic.

There are no general rules. Everybody is different so this is an individual decision. However, if you are passionate about something, all the easier. You have the knowledge within you.

SBI has brainstorming tools. You use them to generate ideas and to analyse them. You'll see if there is enough interest in a topic, how much competition there is, and if there is money to be made.

To choose a topic for a website is the most important step in the whole process, so you shouldn't do it without SBI anyway.

Don't know what to make your site about? Good!

It says it costs $299 for the first year. What are the costs after that? Are there any financial catches?

No catches :-).

$299 is the yearly subscription fee.

It works out $25 a month, but there is only the yearly payment option.

And there is of course their rock solid money back guarantee.

Don't like it? Just give it back.

There are no catches whatsoever. SBI includes everything you need. There are no hidden costs. You can't go wrong by trying it out.

The way I see it you have everything to win and nothing to lose.

I can’t write content

I thought the same thing when I started.

But as I already mentioned above, SBI teaches you everything you need to know to build a successful website, including how to write compelling content.

Ken Evoy wrote a fabulous book called Make Your Content Pre-Sell.

It teaches how to write for the web. The book has always been part of SBI, available for free for SBIers, but outsiders had to buy it. However, since some time in 2006 it became totally free for non SBIers too.

If someone tells me they worry about their writing, I send them this link: you can Download your free copy here

I think that's it, those are the questions that I've been asked many times.

If I forgot something I'm sure you'll ask and then I'll add it here.

I wish you every success, and I'll leave you with this fellow: Ken Evoy, the founder of SiteSell and the creator of SBI.

If you have broadband just click on the little picture and he will personally show you around Solo Build It via the SBI video clip.

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