By Margit Streifeneder
I thought I'd set aside a page on my site to talk about one option retirees are using to boost their retirement income. They're creating their own online businesses and having a lot of fun doing it.
Sounds too difficult? It doesn't have to be. Even complete Internet and business newbies can do it. You can start at your kitchen table and work in your pajamas if you want.
I'm specifically talking about using Solo Build It! (SBI! for short), which will help you learn to set up a website and grow it into an online business.
In case you've never heard of SBI!, it's been around for 20 years and has helped thousands earn an income online, including me. I've been using it since 2006, so I'm well-versed in its features and performance.
I can tell you that Solo Build It! includes all the software, training and tools you need to get your site online and grow it into a business. It also provides support and friendly help while learning and a comprehensive library of business knowledge for your ongoing development.
Have you ever tried to learn something new but didn't know what it was about it that you didn't know? SBI! is the solution to that for online business.
Since everything is in one place, you don't have to run all over, piecing together different products, hoping they'll work while you also do the math on how much it all really costs.
All you have to do is start and follow the directions. You don't have to know everything in advance because you'll be learning as you go, step-by-step.
My fellow SBI! members Milly Frances and Paula Fitzpatrick say it well...
SBI! has legions of raving fans, but one site builder that's risen to prominence over the years is WordPress. A lot of people who use it, love it. In the past, people wished they could use SBI! with their WordPress site, or apply some of the WordPress features to their SBI! sites, but it just wasn't possible.
That's all changed now and SBI! is finally available as a plug-in for WordPress. It's called SBI! for WordPress (SBI! for WP) and it brings with it all the business-building power of SBI! to your WordPress site.
If you've ever heard of Solo Build It!, you might be wondering, "What's the difference between straight SBI! and SBI! for WordPress?" In a nutshell, you get all the education, support and advice with the plug-in that you get with SBI!, but since you'd be using WordPress anyway, you don't get the SBI! drag-and-drop site builder and the tools connected with that.
In fact, I'd like to talk about one of the most important SBI! tools that comes with the WordPress plug-in to give everyone some insight on how both versions help you achieve online success.
The tool I'm referring to is SBI!'s brainstorming tool, aptly named Brainstorm It!. It comes with both versions and is the tool that helps you choose a winning site concept, then helps you building winning pages. Let's take a quick look at this tool.
Once you've installed it, you'll find the SBI! for WP plugin on the left-hand menu in your WordPress interface. The icon looks like the image to the right.
Locate that and you'll find Brainstorm It! in its submenu. Click on its link, a separate tab opens and you're off to the races!
Now, before we examine Brainstorm It! more closely, let's look at what this tool is about and how SBI! can give you an edge over your online competition.
Some people have an idea for an online business theme before they get started. It's not really necessary with SBI! and can sometimes be better if you don't. That's because SBI! teaches you to research your idea for viability. There's no sense spending time and effort on a non-viable niche!
On the other hand, don't worry if you don’t have any ideas, either. The training provides tons of ways to come up with ideas, plus the friendly people in the SBI! forums can help you, too.
Incidentally, you'll be looking for subjects you know a lot about and especially subjects you have a passion for, because the more you know and love about your topic, the greater your competitive edge!
Brainstorm It! itself has a niche chooser that takes your rough ideas and collects all the data on related concepts and brings back the numbers so you can analyze them. Just one brainstorm can bring back a wealth of possibilities.
The next thing you'll do with Brainstorm It! is take each of the niche or website topic ideas you've come up with and brainstorm interest and competition levels for each. In other words, you'll research how many people are looking for your topic and how many sites already exist.
You'll also brainstorm more deeply to find out if there's a unique spin on that niche that would be more attractive and you'll also look for ways to monetize each of your ideas, deciding whether it's possible to create a viable business with any of them.
Comparing several themes like this helps you choose the best route to get your business off the ground. It's crucial to do this step thoroughly because it's the very important foundation for your business.
If your theme is the foundation for your website business, your site’s pages and content are the framework. All of this is covered in the step-by-step tutorials (called the Action Guide) which gives you the what, how and why of building an online business.
You'll learn all about this in detail in both SBI! and SBI! for WP, but for now, just understand that knowing the content your visitor is seeking is the first step in turning your visitors into warm, willing-to-buy leads.
This is another place Brainstorm It! plays a crucial role in your competitive edge. By researching your topic well and using that data to build winning content pages, you will ensure your site is providing the valuable information your visitors seek. This helps your visitors find you, they tell their friends about you and in turn the search engines like you.
The key to Brainstorm It! is locating areas of interest. Brainstorm it gets its data from various sources all over the Web.
When you enter a search term and click the Brainstorm It! button, it searches through all its files to bring back every term people have used to search for your topic. You'll get the number of times people searched for it ("Demand") and how many sites have covered the topic ("Supply").
Here's what the Brainstorm It! tool looks like. As you can see, you can use the tool to do 3
types of searches. For now, we're going to search for terms that contain our
seed word. We use the word "retirement" for our example.*
* Click on the images to view them in full size.
We'll search for both singular and plural versions of our term…
Once you click the Brainstorm It! button, a window will appear letting you know your task is underway…
When it's done searching, the results are listed in the Master Keyword List (MKL, for short). The MKL is where you'll sort the list, compare and research each keyword. This is what the MKL looks like and the various data sets you'll get.
Voila! Here is our list of keywords rendered by our Brainstorm It! search. With 800 keywords, the list is comprehensive and results are sortable by any of the columns called Keyword, Interest, Competition or Potential.
The other columns you see to the right allow you to search deeper into specifics related to that particular keyword and make notes you can refer to later. On the left, you can group keywords together, filter results and manipulate your columns.
Once you have your Master Keyword List, you'll cherry pick the keywords based on your personal knowledge base, as well as the interest and competition levels. In essence, you'll advance-plan a blueprint for your whole website using the numbers in the research. Then you'll use this research to build your site, one page at a time.
If done properly, over time you will be found for each of the keywords you write about, expanding your online footprint and bringing more and more visitors to your site.
Eventually, many SBIers (aka SBI! members) become known as authorities in their niches and it's this credibility that goes on to help you monetize and grow your site into a thriving online business.
This SBI! for WordPress review covers just the Brainstorm It! tool. It comes with both SBI! and the WordPress plug-in. It's just one way SBI! can help you construct a site that visitors will love and a business that will serve you well for many years.
The tutorials you get are easy to follow so I know you can do this, even if you are a complete Internet newbie! I was one too when I started in 2006. ;-)
If you've ever thought about starting an online business but didn't know how to go about doing it, I recommend you give SBI! a shot.
If you're a WordPress
fan and want to stick with them, you no longer have to make a choice. You can
have your WordPress cake and eat it, too. Just download the SBI! for WP plug in
and take advantage of the free trial.
Either way, with all the training, help and support, you can build an online business to help you reach your retirement goals.
Best of luck!
Like I said in the beginning, I am a long term Solo Build It! user. I also work as a
freelance consultant for SiteSell, the company who created Solo Build It! and Solo Build It! for
WP. As a member of their affiliate program, I will earn a commission if you
purchase one of their products through any of the links above. Thought you should
know before making a decision.