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Cost Study: Site Build It (SBI) Vs. Building Your Own Site or Blog

This has been a long awaited post and I am finally glad to be getting around to it because the questions are just mounting up. Is it better to go with Site Build It (SBI) or is it better to put the pieces together yourself when starting your website or blog?

Why so many questions? Because I own over 20 niche websites, and many of them are on the SBI platform. In fact, my most successful and profitable niche site is on the SBI program.

If you don’t know what SBI is, it is a website building suite or program that comes with all the components you need to build a website and run a successful online business, except everything is already there and built for you. All you need to do is start creating your content or website material.

It is an all in one, single stop package developed for individuals who do not have the ability to or simply don’t want to go through the learning curve involved in setting up websites and blogs. It works particularly well for busy individuals such as successful corporate professionals who are looking to establish additional income streams on the side.

The individuals have the discretionary cash, but don’t have the time or the interest to dive into the technicalities of online business.  These individuals have the knowledge capital because they are already successful in their careers, and are now looking to transpose their knowledge into a web based business to achieve greater scaleability.

Because I have numerous websites that are successful both on the SBI platform and outside (good old HTML static sites as well as WordPress sites), many people ask me which is the better route to go.  The answer depends on the type of individual you are, what you want and how much you are willing to spend on your business.

While I will cover the qualitative aspects of the comparison a bit later, I want to first focus on the quantitative aspect of the equation because many people immediately discount SBI when they first see its price tag. Truth is, the price isn’t that much more than putting the pieces together, and definitely well worth the amount of time you save in the process at least in my opinion.

So let’s have a look . . .

Cost of SBI

All Inclusive Annually $299

Cost of Building Your Own Site

Domain $10.99

Hosting ($5/month) $60

Total $71 Annually

Purely from a financial perspective, SBI will cost you $228 more per year to operate a static website or blog with no other bells and whistles.  This is fine if you want a small family or hobby site that you do nothing with once you build it.  But what if you want to build a successful long term online business which require tools such as an email autoresponder and a keyword research tool for SEO purposes?

Let’s have a look one more time . . .

Cost of SBI

All Inclusive Annually $299

Cost of Building Your Own Site

Domain $10.99

Hosting ($5/month) $60

Keyword Tool $97 (Market Samurai is the most cost effective)

Email Autoresponder ($20/month) $250 (Aweber is the most cost effective)

SEO Checker Tool $97 (Traffic Travis is the most cost effective)

Total $505 Annually

So it turns out that SBI is cheaper by $206 during your first year

Note that the cost of the keyword tool and SEO checker tool drops after year one because it’s a one time charge which brings the cost down to $311.  The results?

SBI is cheaper by $12 annually.

So there you have it purely from a financial perspective.  SBI is actually a more cost efficient option when you take into account the bells and whistles many new internet entrepreneurs would want to have.  For those who don’t want to fork up the $299 all at once, SBI also allows you to subscribe on a monthly basis instead so you can try the program and see whether you want to stick around, making it much more affordable from a working capital or cash flow perspective.

I understand there are nuances involved that impact our decisions, such as differences between the keyword tool SBI uses vs. the alternatives, and the same goes for the email autoresponder and many other factors. However, all that just comes down to personal preference and comfort level using the tools.

For example, a more advanced internet entrepreneur may prefer a more robust email autoresponder such as Aweber while someone relatively new can be totally overwhelmed by it, not that it is too complicated but you get the point. There will always be nuances involved in the different components that go into running a successful online business that trigger differences in opinion. The important thing is that all these components work.

Disadvantages Using SBI

Building your own website or blog with WordPress or a static HTML program like Dreamweaver will give you more flexibility in terms of the look and feel of your website in terms of how you want to design it and the elements you want to embed within.  However, this requires some knowledge of coding/programming in order to implement.

For example, with WordPress, you have several plugins that are available that you can use to enhance or modify the look, feel and functionality of your site.  Although there is some learning curve involved in understanding what plugins are, what they do and how to implement and use them successfully, they are relatively automated compared to having to manually code in the functionality they delivery.

There is some flexibility with SBI as well, however this too requires some programming/coding skills. At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself whether you are willing to invest the time to learn what it takes to implement such design changes. More importantly, are the design tweaks you want to implement important enough to impact your decision?

Another disadvantage of SBI is you can only host one domain in your account.  This become a moot point if you only want to establish one website. But if you want to establish several more down the road, getting your own hosting account will work out better if you want to host multiple domain names on it.

Basically, considering your own hosting account comes into play when scaleability is at stake because you can scale the use of other web components mentioned above as well such as the email autoresponder program.

Advantages Using SBI

  • Easy to learn and use
  • Step by step business and site building coaching
  • Several behind the scenes tools, both impacting the site itself and others that impact your business
  • Excellent support system
  • Plug and Play system perfect for busy people who don’t have the time or don’t want to learn the technical aspects of doing business but just want to turn their passion into a successful online business

Real Advantages Using SBI

While there are a few things to consider when deciding whether to go with SBI or put the pieces together building your own website or blog, the real advantage in using SBI in my opinion is everything else that goes way beyond the website itself. I am not saying the website is not good. It is. But what’s even better is all the bells and whistles that come with the program.

More than anything else, the step by step training you receive is fantastic. Before you even start building your website, SBI provides a multi-modular interactive training course that gets you up to speed on internet business. Literally, a novice can take the training and be on their way to establishing a successful online business. I can argue that this in itself is well worth the price of the program.

In addition, SBI has several behind the scenes tools that are invaluable, including a very large and deeply involved forum where thousands of SBIers regularly interact, share experiences and help each other out. SBI’s support network is the one of the best I have personally experienced among online tools, which outside of the SBI community you would have to build on your own, most often paying for it.

And the biggest advantage of all in my opinion is the time and pain you save in the process. You completely skip the growing pains and overcome the learning curve immediately because of the training you are provided with.  Outside of SBI, this training costs a significant amount of money.

Getting SBI is like getting a private tutor, or paying for coaching which not only takes heavy monetary investment, but also time and patience to learn, understand and implement.  With SBI, if you are ever stuck at any point, simply shoot out an email to the support team or post in the forums.  Responses come flooding in quick.

Concluding Thoughts

If you are a seasoned internet entrepreneur, you may not get all the value from SBI that it is meant to deliver. You likely already know a lot of it. However, if you are relatively new in the internet space and are interested in building a successful and long term online business, SBI is an invaluable tool that I highly recommend you at least try.

They have a money back guarantee you can take advantage of, and most importantly you don’t have to pay all $299 upfront if you don’t want to. You can subscribe to their monthly plan.

Remember that SBI teaches you how to build a solid, successful and long term online business, so it’s much more than just a website or blog building suite. You not only get the start to finish coaching needed to figure out what niche you should pursue, but also all the tools to start building your website without figuring out how to. All you need to do is type.  In addition, you get all the coaching and support needed to establish a successful long term and sustainable online business.

I personally like SBI for several other reasons as well that go beyond the scope of this post, but then again, I might be biased because it is said that one never forgets their first love.  I am not saying I dislike other methods. In fact I have several niche sites that are on WordPress as well as static HTML sites built with Dreamweaver. In fact, once you get some experience and feel you no longer need some of the bells and whistles that SBI provides, you may very well opt to build your own website or blog for less than SBI’s annual cost. That said, my most profitable website is running on the SBI platform.

You can see how several others like me are making SBI successfully work well for them here.

Do you prefer to build your own website or blog rather than using a comprehensive suite of tools like SBI? Why or why not? What are your main questions and concerns when deciding?

Full Disclosure: I have an affiliate relationship with SBI and get paid a commission each time someone I refer to it makes a purchase. I have been acquainted with SBI since 2007 and have several profitable websites built and running on the SBI platform.

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38 Responses to “Cost Study: Site Build It (SBI) Vs. Building Your Own Site or Blog”

  1. I have heard of SBI before and I have read good things about it. I am not using it but I am very inclined to use it for a niche site. I am a little confused though, so the cost of a SBI is $299 per year and that includes hosting and keyword tool exclusive of domain name. Basically I get the domain name and use SBI that includes hosting as well. Other question, what if I want to transfer all posts to WordPress, how hard/easy is it? But anyhow, all in all seems like a decent package as far as SEO is concerned with keyword tool.

    • Sunil says:

      yes, $299 includes everything in it, and you can use the keyword tool for any other site as well (they used to provide 25 searches before, which was more than enough for me – but you have to check – in either case you can purchase more searches for very cheap). yes, you can transfer all pages using a free program you can download online. I have done it on several sites. I always tell people who are interested to try it. one can always switch over.

  2. Theodore.N says:

    It seems SBI a very useful tool that all new Internet Marketer should not ignore, I will definitely give it a trial in my next blog. I can’t wait to rock all these wonderful features.

    Thanks for sharing Sunil. I want to write a blog post about you and other Top Bloggers but i can’t find your picture here. Please how can i find one?

  3. Ruth says:

    I’ve read as much as my poor brain could take in the last 48 hours on SBI and niche websites. Am I ready to start one of my own? YES! And time will tell how successful I can make it.

    Actually, I have about 10 niche websites that I plan on starting

    • Sunil says:

      haha. start with 1 Ruth and give it your all, complete the project and when you feel you’ve done all you could, move to the next. I wish I had done that (could do that)!

  4. Oliver says:

    Hey, Sunil.

    What an excellent, informative post you have conjured up here. I enjoyed reading it, although, I really have no interest in SBI, I have heard many in the business recommend it. Personally, I believe doing it with your own domain and hosting and such is the best way.

    From what I have read, it does seem like SBI offers quite an extensive list of features. Personally, I didn’t start with SBI and maybe that is the main reason why I wouldn’t recommend it, but thanks for giving me a new outlook on a program that I otherwise might never have looked into recommending.


    • Sunil says:

      thanks Oliver – your domain is still yours, but I know what you mean. not everyone is in your situation however. many simply don’t want to deal with the technicalities, no matter how easy you or I may think. that is the value prop of SBI that made me dive in, and with no regrets. I learned everything else along the way. the key here is that there are options.

  5. Evan says:

    I have never used SBI, but isn’t the ninja keyword cost a one time thing? Also, you could easily use mail chimp which would be free.

    With SBI do you own everything? because giving up control seems a bit scary. What if they change their terms?

    • Sunil says:

      a kw tool is a one time cost if bought elsewhere, that is why I backed out the cost from the one time charges in the comparison. the value prop which separates SBI in my opinion is two fold: 1) skip the learning curve/technicalities 2) the “business” education one needs to do well online. that said, there are tools you can get to piece the puzzle if you’re willing to invest the time in learning. I started with SBI and learned everything else along the way, so I felt that I didn’t lose time from the time I decided to pursue doing business online. yes you own everything (domain, hosting, webpages/content) and can transfer anytime like I have done on a few sites to a wordpress or static HTML platform. it’s quite easy.

  6. First, thanks for the Facebook add! I’ve been reading your blog for a good while now. I also have my father and wife blogging now. My father has a travel business and he got into SBI. Now I can show him some REAL benefits! I always send him your links …maybe he’ll subscribe this time!

  7. Elizabeth Kern says:

    Hi Sunil!
    Very informative article. I have heard of SBI before, but the cost did turn me away. Do you know where on the website you can sign up for the monthly payment plan. The link that was provided said you could try it 90 days risk free, but you still have to come up with $300. Thanks!

    • Sunil says:

      I know – it comes off scary especially when we hear about $4.95 hosting plans all the time. I felt this analysis was necessary. on their order pages, they have the following option “Please Select Order Preference” under which you can select annual or monthly. hope that helps

  8. Freddie D. says:

    Great article, however I would like to point out that you the costs could actually vary when creating your own site vs. a site building kit. For instance the keyword tool and SEO checker tool aren’t necessary if you have hookups with people that provide this service for a lower fee. But it does require more work on your own!

  9. Hi Sunil,

    I didn’t hear till today about SBI. Is it stable? How many websites you can host on it? What is the platform (WP or something else)?

    Thanks for sharing,


    • Sunil says:

      very stable as far back as I can think. one subscription gives you hosting, domain and all the other tools. you can only host one website, but you can use the tools for any other website as well (that’s what I do). the platform is a unique blend of HTML and wordpress because it has the wordpress ping technology each time you create/update a page. it also automatically recreates your sitemap and submits it. pretty neat.

      • James says:

        That is pretty handy that it pings every time you create/update a page. Also having it automatically update your sitemap is really nice. I have to manually do all that stuff with my standalone site. Kind of tiresome but I end up doing it every few articles I create.

        However there are benefits as you pointed out of having a standalone site which I really like. I guess its a bit of give and take.

        • Sunil says:

          definitely James. wordpress also has that capability if you were to install a sitemap plugin, which is supposed to act in the same way. when SBI released that feature, it felt that they were light years ahead of the curve as no site had that capability

  10. Adam says:

    Omg, I didn’t know that SBI is cheaper by $12 annually. Anyhow, thank you for sharing this great ideas about SBI and Building your own site.


    • Sunil says:

      welcome Adam. it’s really how you look at it – you’ve got to weight out what you need vs how much you want to spend (not just money but more so time)

  11. ag says:

    it’s definitely a good tool for a noob starting out in IM. My biggest problem with SBI was the outdated look of their theme templates. Hopefully they’ve been updated over the past few years.

    • Sunil says:

      when did you last visit ag? there have definitely been some significant improvements in design/theme options. it is now also drag and drop for more ease and flexibility.

  12. chichi says:

    My own point is this,does SBI make money for people,and can I see your site with SBI.maybe it can encourage me to go with them

  13. James says:

    Hey Sunil –

    Thanks for your post about SBI vs. a standalone site. I’ve seen tons of people talking about SBI but never really saw the benefit in it as I know how to create my own sites and can optimize them exactly to how I want with HTML.

    Maybe after I finish my next authority site via standalone HTML I’ll try a site with SBI and see the difference.

    Thanks again.

    • Sunil says:

      curious, if you already know the technicality, why try SBI? strictly as a case study to see which performs better?

      • James says:

        Yeah as a case study I was thinking. Just to see if a website would rank faster on a SBI platform compared to standalone HTML. Maybe there is something I am overlooking when I develop my sites.

        • Sunil says:

          tell you what James, be in touch. if the experiment calls for it, I’d love to feature the case study on the blog if you are up for it. I think it would benefit many. we can keep the URLs anonymous if you wish. would you be interested?

          • James says:

            Hey Sunil – thank you very much for the offer!

            To be honest my initial standalone website is going to take me time to build as I want to put 100 pages to start and hopefully 500 to a 1000 later. Plus I am writing all the articles myself. So I’m only around 35 pages in but making some good progress.

            Maybe a year down the road I can finish up this one and a SBI and track the results and show the case study anonymously.

            Let’s stay in touch for the future. I follow your blog regularly anyways so I’ll be around.

  14. Suresh says:

    Sunil, I am using individual resources and not as SBI as consolidated package. May be I need to look into this. But your post gave me some idea sbout SBI


  15. Hi Sunil. I’m in a similar boat to you having built sites in WordPress, managing a Joomla site and also through a Nice Website membership program that comes with a site builder platform (not SBI). I’m basically using the rule of building simple niche sites through the site builder and anything where I see a future need for a more robust site through WordPress. Starting out though, I’d always suggest a site builder option. Saves time.

    • Sunil says:

      right on Greg. that is the best way to get started for someone new who has fire under their belly. get the business going and learn everything else along the way rather than spin wheels and take longer to get in. the longer you wait the more the fire dies down and discourages you. many just don’t have the appetite to deal with ftp programs, plugins etc no matter how simple you and I think they can be. jump right in, learn along the way and make changes later as you see fit. many realize profits a lot earlier this way and reinvest them and hire someone to modify their sites. yet another approach

  16. Nanya says:

    Hello Sunil,
    would you still recommend SBI in 2014? And i will also like to know how their autoresponder works. Thanks for your efforts.

    • Sunil says:

      it has been performing strong for me. i have not started an SBI site from scratch lately so i may not be the best person to ask. existing sites are doing well though. why not wordpress?

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