How I Built This Website

If you've ever thought of owning your own business or having a website as a source of extra income, read on. If not, skip this.

What To Do?

So there I was, a lawyer/mediator/trainer who'd recently moved to Cape Cod. I'd been coming here all my life and the dream was to eventually move here. When my older son graduated high school, we did it! But what to do?

On top of that, I was coming back from a series of illnesses that had made it impossible for me to work for awhile. I had to rebuild my business, because the work had dried up, but I wasn't sure how. I also loved working from home and had mainly done so for years. And, my only experience with the Internet was surfing. I had no idea who or what Alexa was or that I should care.

What Not To Do

I tried the same old, same old. Marketing to friends, friends of friends and their friends and contacts. The market had changed in the time I had been sick. Outsourcing is the big thing in training, individual companies weren't hiring like they did in the past. Plus, everyone asked the same question. Did I have a website that they could look at? Of course, I didn't. So, I decided to go get one. I knew that setting up a website could be expensive so I decided I would have to go it alone.

I started doing research. I research everything. I found some recommendations for a web host that sounded good. They had templates, some software to do my site and hosting and it was cheap. I ran it by a friend who was computer saavy and he said go for it. So I did. Big mistake! There wasn't one template they offered that I thought looked good. Plus, since I learn new software pretty easily I had chosen the "power" builder rather than regular builder option. It was clunky and difficult to use with few options for customizing.

Then I called customer support. The guy I spoke to made it clear that they were there to sell websites -- not support them. Everything was designed for me to get some sort of website up as fast as possible. Not necessarily a good website, or one that got any traffic, just something so I could say I had one.I opted out, got my money back, and started doing more research.

I next found a company that had nice looking templates, although they had almost no room for information and also promised ten visitors a month to your site. This was the first time that any company had even talked about traffic. But, like the hero in one of my favorite books, Hope for the Flowers, I felt there was something more.

The Epiphany

As I continued searching -- but now with a focus on traffic rather than hosting --one company kept coming up in my searches, SiteBuildIt and SiteSell. They promised they could teach me how to build a site, and how to do it so that it got traffic and made money. What's more I could write about what I loved, conflict resolution, which is what my business is about and about Chatham, where I live. Plus for information junkies, like me, they had tons of information I could sink my teeth into!

They gave lots of specifics on how to do what they promised I would learn to do with lots of stories from satisfied customers with successful websites I could find on the web! The $299 price tag was not out of line with what they were offering. My first cheapo web host had wanted about $100 for a year of hosting. The great template group wanted around $150 for the site and hosting plus another $150 for the ten visitors a month. And, SiteSell had a money back guarantee. So I went for it!

And Then the Work

That was 3 months ago at the end of March, 2008. As promised SBI provided all of the tools I needed with no extra cost. I started working on the site 7 days a week for as many hours a day as I could, sometimes 2 sometimes 8. Since I have a twelve year son still at home, I had to work piecemeal in between carpooling, homework, and such. And, they didn't have me start by building the site. They taught me how to build and analyze a business plan first. Something I had never done although I have had a successful business for the last 20 years.

They have an Action Guide which I followed closely. Each step was broken down for me. Sometimes when I didn't understand what I was reading, I forced myself to take the next steps as they were written anyway. They worked! And, there are forums where you can get help from more experienced SBIers. Plus customer support has proven very friendly and helpful.

I Have a Website!

At the end of April, almost 1 month to the day, I posted my home page on the web and felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment! I spent May and June building up the site and finishing most of the Action Guide. By the end of June I had added over 20 pages. It is now the end of July and I have over 35. I am working on the last steps of the Action Guide now. Sometimes it was a struggle, sometimes great fun. It has been a lot of work but I also have new skills.

What I Got

Working From Home

First and foremost I got a website that I can be proud of that makes a contribution in its field. I liked building an informational site that could help people. I liked SBI's win/win/win philosophy. I also liked that I was able to do it mostly on my own with some help and support. I particularly liked doing it while being able to be home after school for my son.

I Found a Way Back into the Work World

As important, I found a way back. I was somewhat nervous, after my absence, about getting back into work; although I have worked my entire life. What I had found during my convalesence was a strategy that had brought me success. It simply is, show up, follow the rules, and do the work. I had used this strategy to recover from hip replacement surgery and resume an active life. I used it to lose 40 pounds over 4 months at Weight Watchers. I used it for a whole bunch of other stuff and I knew it worked. SBI gave me a way to use it professionally! All I did everyday was to show up, i.e. get on the computer, following the rules, the Action Guide and related videos, and do the work they laid out.

Doing Something I Love

Best of all I am doing something that I love! I have had a successful business for many years, and it always came from following my passion. When I did that, the money followed. SBI has allowed me to do that and still be there for my son. There are over 55,000,000 websites in the world with more being added everyday. Mine started at somewhere over 11,500,000 at the end of May and had only 1 daily visitor, me. In June, I kept building. My ranking dropped to just over 6,000,000 and I averaged 3 visitors a day. In early July my ranking was in the 5,000,000s and I was averaging 13 visitors a day, although I have had as many as 40 in one day. By the beginning of August my ranking dropped again to somewhere over 4,000,000 and my visitor count continued to go up.

In July, I submitted the website first to the major search engines and then to the Yahoo Directory as well as some other directories. SBI told me how to do it. Yahoo was my only other major cash outlay. Another $299, but it is an important traffic builder, and I am anxious to share my new wonderful site with the world! I was accepted last week so it is too soon for me to report the results. Google has picked up my site and started referring traffic and LiveSearch started listing it two days ago. I am still waiting for Ask and the Yahoo search engine.

The Future

SBI offers the tools to make a website, and much more. Remember the business plan? SBI helps you build a customized online business. There are several strategies that you can pursue. Previously, I have always made money from my trainings, mediations and consulting. However, when I couldn't work, my sources of income dried up. My site can make money for me even if I can't work.

SBI has a complete strategy for building traffic. Once you have the traffic you can then monetize. For more in depth, check out and download, Make Your Site Sell. It's free.

I have just added Google Adsense to many of my pages. I am also recommending some products and services I believe in. Plans are underway for a conflict resolution key chain, and new ideas keep occurring everyday. A friend just suggested some Chatham key chains he makes which went up on the site this week.

My Quest for a Better Alexa Rating

How do I know my site's ranking? Remember the Alexa I talked about earlier? It is a company that ranks all websites by the traffic they receive. There are many SBI sites in the Alexa top 3% and even 1%. Stay tuned. I plan to regularly report my progress as I continue to build this site toward the top 1%. Wish me luck!

The SBI Process

I haven't explained the SBI process in detail because I could never do it as well as the SBI folks themselves. So, if you are interested, pour yourself a cup of coffee or a cold drink, settle back and click on this video tour to learn more.

If you want to talk more about building a site or have questions for me, use the Contact Us form on the NavBar.

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Read more stories of real people who have built successful sites with SBI.

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Go to the SBI order page,

I recommend SiteBuildIt and SiteSell because I know they work. They have made a difference in my life and can in yours too. Share the adventure!

For more information about conflict resolution, click on any of the links below.

All Things ADR

All Things Arbitration

All Things Conflict Resolution.

About Us page.

Collaborative Divorce page.

All Things Mediation.

All Things Negotiation

To learn more about Chatham, my hometown, click on the link below:

All Things Chatham

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