Solo Build It (SBI), previously known as Site Build It, is another option for building a website and online system for your Complementary Therapy Business. The question you may be wondering is ‘should I use ‘Solo Build It’ to build my website?’ This article will discuss this.
In a previous article, I discussed some of the differences, pros and cons of using either WordPress.org or WordPress.com as a website platform for a complementary therapy business. However, not everyone wants to go the WordPress route. So for this article, I wanted to discuss using Solo Build It (SBI), previously known as Site Build It, as a website platform for a complementary therapy business.
Your business needs to have an online presence
Choosing the right website platform is a really important step for creating an online presence and to help promote your business. In this age of social media and the internet, having a website is becoming more and more essential. Whilst there are still many therapists around who rely on word of mouth or a reputation built up over decades of practice, the next generation of therapists will need to adopt the online world as a part of their advertising and promotion. The reason for this is that the coming of age generations – the Millennials (Generation Y) will be using the internet as their first port of call, when searching for a therapist. Creating and building the right website will be a significant part of capturing this market.
What I’ve noticed about my client demographic
In the last few years, the vast majority of my clients have come to me through online searches. Either they found my website directly through a search engine like Google, or they found me through certain online Therapy Directories that I have signed up with. Only a few have come to me through promotional events, flyers or word of mouth.
Most telling is the age bracket of the people finding me – 27-55, with the majority of them being in the 35-45 age group. These age groups are also the kind of people that are more familiar and more active with the internet.
There have been some exceptions of course. I had one client who was in her 70’s find me through my website. When I met her she carried her Apple Tablet with her and she was always replying to my emails through her iPhone. In her case, she had embraced smartphones and the internet. On the other hand, my father who is in the same age group chooses Osteopathy as his therapy of choice. However, he would never use Google to search for a practitioner. His port of call is the local classified ads in his local newspaper. And I think for a certain age group, this would be the most suitable place to advertise.
The younger demographics prefer searching online
But with the relatively younger generations Gen X and the Millennials (Gen Y), It is more and more likely, that if they want to seek out a complementary therapy practitioner, they are more likely to use the internet to do so. I mean, if you look around at people everywhere you go, people are glued to their smartphones browsing or playing games. For example, when people are bored, they will browse for shopping sites. When people are lonely, they will browse dating sites of aps. And if they are sick, they will browse for solutions on the internet. And this is where you want them to find you.
You need to have a robust online presence. You need a website that promotes you and your business, but also tells your message. Your website has to communicate to the reader that you are the person that can help them. There are lots of websites on the net, millions in fact, but you want them to find yours. And more importantly, you want them to stick around on your website getting to know you. And there are various ways to do that. I’ve also explained several methods in my eBook on ‘How to Set up a Complementary Therapy Business on a Budget‘.
Why Solo Build It?
I mentioned in my precious article on WordPress, about how I spent several months deciding on which platform to use – Yes, several months. I think you may agree, that this is too long a time to make a decision. Well the reason for my indecision was because I was torn between whether I should use WordPress.com or Solo Build It. And in fact, I initially signed up for both. It was after I signed up to Solo Build It, that my head was a little blown away and my understanding of the concept of websites was widened. I’ll explain why.
My Online Goals
I knew that I wanted to build a large website with lots of pages, resources, and where I could sell some of my own eBooks, as well as to promote my own physical business. I just didn’t have enough knowledge of how to do all this. And though a lot of bloggers recommend to use WordPress, I was swayed by a certain recommendation for SBI, by one of my most favourite bloggers on the internet. So I finally took the plunge and signed up.
And it was like entering the Matrix. I had never really given any deep thought to what a website actually is. I just thought that all it is, is a place to show your contact details, the type of treatment you practice, where you work, and what you charge. Then for the more creative people, you can include pictures, and maybe a blog where you can talk a little health advice.
But that’s not enough
And that is all very good, but it is highly likely your website will get lost among many other complementary therapy practitioners websites who have done exactly the same thing. It is unlikely you will rank on page 1 of any search result in google if you live in a city area with lots of other therapists, unless you do paid advertising. In fact you will be lucky to get in any of the first 3 pages of Google in a city like London. Although, it may be different in a small town.
Solo Build it made me stop – really stop – and think
So if you are serious about creating a really robust website, you have to think a lot deeper than this. And this is what Solo Build It did to me. This is because, SBI is also a training programme, just as much as it is a website platform.
On the SBI programme – before you can build your website and even before you are allowed to choose a domain name, you have to work your way through lots of training materials. For example, one of the first things that SBI asks of you is to consider your niche. Also where do you stand out?
It also starts off with getting you thinking about Keywords. They have their own brainstorming programme where you can pick and test certain keywords related to your business to see how they perform and rank in online searches.
Keyword searching and SEO are important considerations, because, choosing the right keywords can help some of your content become more visible on the internet. There are millions of blogs and websites on the internet now, so you have to work harder to get found. Keywords and SEO is one way of doing this. Once you identify some keywords, you can start to apply them into your website pages.
With SBI, the focus is on creating an Online Business
SBI is also very clear upfront about the idea – that your website can be a business that has the potential to generate income. And this is something worth considering, because any extra income is always welcome. You have the choice to insert Absence if you want, but you would do well to promote your own products, books or services.
Call to action
An important consideration is the Call to Action. This is a simple concept that a lot of websites made by Complementary Therapy Practitioners do not consider. Basically, a call to action is to focus on – what do you want from your viewers when they come to your website?
Solo Build It for WordPress
Apparently, Solo Build It now have a ‘SBI for WordPress’ plug-in. I do not know how that works as I have not used it, but it may be that if you already have a WordPress.org website, you may be able to utilise SBI into it, although you will have to pay a subscription. Click on this link for more information on SBI for WordPress.
My criticisms of SBI
I would say the hardest thing is the learning curve at the beginning. There is a lot of information to read and study at the beginning before you can even get started on building your website. It is kind of like having to do an online training course on website design.
On the plus side, it is kind of like doing an online training course on website design. You will learn a lot about what goes into planning and making a website.
It is not just signing up to a platform, writing a bit of text, uploading a photos and then sitting back and waiting for people to come. They won’t. You need to put some thought into your website if you want people to come to you. You have to learn how to plan out your pages and think about how they connect to each other. This is what SBI teaches you.
I would advise that if you really do find working with computers challenging, then this may not be for you as you do need to spend some time planning and thinking about the structure of your website.
However, it is all down to you and your personal learning preferences. We are all different. I found it challenging. You may find it easy to learn.
Solo Build It Websites
I think that these days, WordPress templates are very common, so much so, that even though I am not a website expert, I can pretty much immediately recognise if an organisation or person is using a WordPress template for their website. One question that comes to mind, is how these templates will date? How will they look in 5 or 10 years time? I have seen a few SBI websites, and can see they are generally different to WordPress. So in this respect, it can help to stick out a bit from the crowd.
If you sign up to Solo Build It, you will get regular newsletters sent to you which have advice and gives other examples of other SBI’s who have made fairly profitable websites. There are SBI forums where you can communicate and get advice from other SBI users. Also the customer support is quite proactive as they understand they are competing with other website platforms so they need to support their customers as best they can.
A little more human
The founder of SBI is someone called Ken Evoy and his presence is made very clear in kind of a similar way as Colonel Sanders does for Kentucky Fried Chicken. Basically, the company has a specific identity. You will receive newsletters and guides from him. Also help-guide videos are available. And they are not all slick like a lot of videos are these days, which makes them a little more authentic.
I suppose that with WordPress.com, I can’t help feeling like it is a little bit of a big faceless company, which I suppose is standard for most companies that deal with millions of customers wordwide.
SBI is payable either monthly ($29.99) or annually ($299) and there is no contract, which basically puts it in the same price range as WordPress.com. You get a trial period and one of the great things, is that if you pay monthly, you can cancel your subscription at any time (which I did) if it isn’t working for you. This process does require you having to contact their customer support and requesting to end your contract by email, but they will pretty much carry it out straightaway.
Ultimately, why I left SBI
For a while, I considered building two websites – one for WordPress.com and one for Solo Build It. However, I knew it wasn’t tenable to run two websites. I had to focus on one. There was no major reason for my decision. I just felt WordPress.com resonated more with me. However, I did learn a lot from SBI and I think it helped me clarify my mind on what exactly I wanted for my website. Since then, I have looked at a lot of other blogs and websites and noticed the differences in those, where the creator clearly understands what his objective are and where they don’t.
On the other hand, I have given thought to returning to SBI in the future if I decide to create a new website. I feel that having some website diversity and understanding of different platforms could be useful knowledge for me.
Should I use Solo Build It?
I would say that if you want to learn how to plan, structure and create an online business and you do not have prior knowledge, then, I would consider it. At the same, time, if you are really serious, I would recomend, that you also carry out your own online learning by studying other websites, particularly made by other Complementary Therapy Practitioners and observe their approach. Then with this, you can model the best of them and consider the best way to optimise your own website.
If you want some more guidance in this area, then check out my guide: ‘How to Set up a Complementary Therapy Business on a Budget‘, available as a Kindle eBook (free to Kindle-unlimited subscribers). Or you can get it for free in a PDF format, by signing up to my mailing list.
For more information on SBI
If you would like more information on the Solo Build It programme, click on the links below:
For a SBI video tour on how it works: click here
For SBI case studies of people who have used SBI to build an online business: click here
But the way… in case anyone is wondering why I am using anime-cosplay-type pictures for my articles about WordPress.com and WordPress.org and Solo Build It – there is a reason for it.
I am trying to create a kind of action, battle-type vibe to reflect what is effectively a business competition between the two WordPress’s and Solo Build It. Think of it as a sophisticated metaphor. And I also want to make it lighthearted, hence the anime-cosplay picture.
Actually, that’s not the only truth. I simply like anime and cosplay and wanted to use these pictures rather than something boring, like the logos of those respective companies.
Picture Accreditation: Copyright: esolex / 123RF Stock Photo