(This is a supplemental post to the main Site Build It Scam post.)

The Site Build It marketing pages rely heavily on impressing prospective buyers with information from Alexa.com. They use claims like “35% of SBI! sites [are] ranked in the top 1% of all sites” to make their product sound really impressive.

According to their marketing info, landing in the top 1% requires an Alexa rank of 1,000,000 or below. So is that impressive?

Interestingly, what you won’t find anywhere in their marketing info is how those Alexa ranks translate into dollars and cents. After all, isn’t that what they’re selling? Profitable online businesses?

You can’t have profit if you’re not making money! And you can’t make money without traffic!

So let’s talk money.

My site, Addicted 2 Decorating, currently gets an average of 6,200 visitors per day, with just over 16,000 page views per day.

That amount of traffic has earned me an Alexa rank of 104,374 as of this writing. (Remember, with Alexa, the lower the number the better the rank.)

I have my site monetized with pay per click third-party advertising, pay per impression third-party advertising, direct sales of advertising space, and paid guest posts/reviews.

So how much money do I make?

The amount of money I can count on from my website each month is $2,000.

That number varies each month.  Some months are $2,500.  My highest month has been just under $4,000.  But $2000 is the amount that I can count on every single month, without question. I can’t count on those “nice surprises” that I get some months.

That means that if I worked full-time in an office, and had my website on the side, and I was trying to determine if I could quit my job and live on my website earnings, the number that I could plug into a monthly budget would be $2000. Yes, sometimes it’s more. Sometimes it’s alot more. But that “more” isn’t reliable. $2000 is reliable.

So let me ask you…could you quit your job, live comfortably, and experience life-changing financial freedom by making $2,000 per month?

Of course not!!  Neither can I.  And that’s why I have other streams of income.  My blog income is a nice padding, and those months when it creeps up towards $4000 are a really nice surprise, but $2000 a month certainly isn’t the kind of income that would make you quit your day job.

Now let’s look at a few more examples from this list.

  • Money Dummy has an Alexa rank of 94,047 and an estimated monthly earnings of $1,977.
  • Dooce has an Alexa rank of 17,498 and an estimated monthly earnings of $6,965.

I won’t go on, but you can see what kind of Alexa rank is needed to earn good money online, right?

Now one more bit of information…

As I was checking all of the actual Alexa ranks of the sites listed on the SBI! “Proof” page, I actually came across one that had “Certified Site Metrics” on their Alexa page.  I’ve never heard of this, but evidently it tracks the visitors and page views.  Here’s the numbers it showed for this particular site:

  • Alexa rank:  335,007
  • Daily visitors: 990
  • Daily page views: 1413

So if I earn at least $2,000 per month on my site with an Alexa rank of 104,374, that gets 6200 visitors a day with just over 16,000 page views, then how much do you think the site above makes?

Well, simple math would give us an estimate of just under $180 per month (based on page views).

So based on that information, how much do you think an owner of a site with an Alexa rank of 690,529 would make?

Where did I get that number?  Well, that just so happens to be the average Alexa rank of the sites listed on SBI’s “Proof” page.

Does it sound like Site Sell is making good on those promises of helping people create thriving, “life-changing”, money-making online websites?  On their site they claim:

SBI! delivers profitable businesses.

The numbers clearly indicate that they don’t.

Site Sell claims:

Tens of thousands of people who own SBI! have eliminated all doubt simply by using it. They build e-businesses that change their lives.

And the most outlandish claim can be found on the SiteSell Facebook page:

Really?  Tens of thousands?  Hundreds of thousands??!!!!

That’s an unbelievably absurd claim considering the fact that I can’t find any evidence anywhere, not even on their own list of 375 “success stories” in their marketing information, that even as few as one hundred people have built websites that generate enough traffic to “change their lives.”

Actually, if Slick Ken Evoy, the owner of the company, wanted to be perfectly honest, his marketing claim would read something like this:

Please purchase my product, because I’ve become used to a certain lifestyle here at my villa on the beaches of Anguilla, and I need your money to keep up that lifestyle.

But your online success with my product is really nothing more than a crapshoot. And in fact, the odds are against you. So, good luck with that! Please send your money.

Your success with Site Build It is definitely nothing more than a crapshoot. Let’s take one more closer look to prove that point. 

Based on the numbers above, let’s just use the Alexa rank of 100,000 as a threshold for calling website “successful”.  I think that’s pretty fair, right?  Sites above that might make decent money to pad their income from a full-time job, but sites that are ranked below 100,000 most assuredly have more of a chance of turning that website into their full-time job…and the closer to #1 a website gets, the more of a given it is that that website is a money-generating powerhouse of a website.

So, with our threshold of 100,000 established, how many SBI! websites on the “Proof” page would be counted as “successful”?


Yep, twelve sites out of 375 websites that they call “success stories” on their “Proof” page.

So overall, based on the numbers alone, does it sound like the odds are for you, or are the odds against you for building a thriving money-making website with Site Build It?

I think that answer is pretty clear.

Click on the links below to read more about the claims made by Site Build It on their Site Sell marketing pages:

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  1. Kristi… thank you so so much for all the time and work you’ve put into these WordPress vs BSI (opps…. SBI) posts. I was torn between all the advantages of WordPress for a serious business blog (and the steep learning curve… I’m an absolute beginner with big dreams), and the so-called simplicity of SBI. I’m taking your “If I could do it all over again” advice, and jumping head first into all the WordPress tutorials I can find. I suspected Ken’s numbers were probably somewhat padded, you’ve really opened my eyes. For all the wasted time and future aggravation you’ve saved me, “Thank you so much!”

    1. You’re very welcome, Douglas! I’m not sure if you’ve seen this, but I made a “WordPress Overview” video so that people could see the WordPress dashboard, and all of the admin areas of WordPress, and see that there’s nothing to be afraid of. 🙂 It’s really quite user-friendly, and you’ll have the advantage of not having spent time getting used to and learning a different system before using WordPress.


  2. Hi Krsiti – Thanks for all these great informative posts comparing SBI to WordPress. I own an SBI site but have been really frustrated by all the same limitations that led you to switch. I’ve spent a ton of money trying to get my SBI site to “look” like a wordpress site.

    I absolutely HATED block builder’s functionality and designs so I spent an inordinate amount of time learning CSS and HTML so that I could upload my own pages. I also paid a designer TWICE to update the look/feel. It is incredibly frustrating. I recently added a wordpress blog to my SBI site using infinit – and that’s also been a ton of work.

    My niche is wedding planning so my SBI site has the more evergreen articles with ideas and tips, but the wordpress blog will be used to post “Real Weddings”. Now that I’m using wordpress I realize how much easier it is to use and how much more user friendly. I would love to convert my entire SBI site to wordpress but I’m SOOO scared of messing up the little bit of progress I’ve made. I’m scared of having to start from scratch with the engines.

    I have a full time job and am also a wife and mom so I spend less time on the website than I ‘d like. I average about 500-600 unique visitors per day and about 1400 page views. I have a google page rank of 3, and an alexa ranking of 1,400,000. Not very good numbers, I know. I feel like I’ve wasted a ton of time on design and manually adding thumbnails and interlinking related content, etc… If I didn’t have to spend so much time on all those things, I probably could’ve grown my site much more. I really feel like SBI has held me back. But again, I’m scared and overwhelmed at the thought of moving all my content to WordPress and starting from scratch. I wish there was more advice and information on how to do so.

    I agree with nearly everything you say except for one point. It seems like you’re saying that income is directly correlated to Alexa ranking. Based on your findings above, I shouldn’t be making any money with my high alexa ranking.

    In one of your examples, a website with an Alexa rank: 335,007, Daily visitors: 990 would earn an average of $180..

    With my Alexa rank of 1,400,000 I make an average of $500 a month. Some months are much higher, some lower but that’s the least I make. Not a life changing figure obviously 🙂 But my point is that your logic would indicate that I shouldn’t make anywhere near that. I make about $180-200 from adsense and the rest comes from sponsored posts and affiliate links. Not to mention that I turn away a lot of advertisers who proactively approach me, because I don’t have the time or don’t feel like they’re a good fit for my site. I also have very few affiliate links. So, this tells me that if I had an alexa rank of 335,000, I would probably make a lot more 🙂

    I think that the amount of income your site generates has more to do with your niche, and your audience’s propensity to click:) among other things.

    Just my 2 cents:)

    Thanks again for all the great info! I would love to see you write a post on HOW to switch from SBI to WordPress and the potential repercussions of doing so.

  3. Dear Kristi
    I just finished reading through the SBI review article and its subsequent comments, and then went on to read the above. I’m glad I did. I was considering SBI, but as I cannot afford to lose any money, I am very cautious and went looking for reviews. I almost didn’t read yours; I thought, well, from an ex-customer, of course that’s not going to be positive. But your honesty just pours out of your writing, and your words echoed some of the concerns that I already had (or I wouldn’t have gone looking for that review, right?).
    I do not own a website, nor have I ever had a blog. But I’ve been dreaming of being able to make a living from home for a long time already. I’ve just recently been laid off, and almost at the same time diagnosed with a lower back issue that will seriously limit my physical ability to work; don’t worry, I always see the positive side of things, this is probably the kick in the backside (pun intended) that I needed to finally get going.
    After years of searching the Internet, though, all that I’ve learned is to easily identify the get-rich-quick schemes, without even once stumbling upon some real, valuable information. And that’s what I need to get started. Among the comments on your main article, someone mentioned “2createawebsite” as a source for that sort of information. Would you recommend it? I should probably mention that I am a single mother with one adult son still living with me, and the other 3 still depending on me occasionally, I really can’t afford to spend a lot of money on learning all that is needed to get started. If you would recommend an alternative, that’s also fine.
    I hope you will reply to me…
    PS – I love your website, I am a bit of a DIY fanatic myself, and will be spending a lot of time here, checking out your projects, and possibly trying to replicate some of them!

  4. my site is the one that you have spoken about ranked as 690,529!! lol http://mbctimes.com/ but the reality is that I only earn 1 euros a month of a traffic of about 2000 visitors a day. any help i can use to better monitize my site?

    thx for this excellent blog.

  5. Hi Kristi,
    Very interesting information! I am a person who has two small SBI sites (one is mine and one is my husband’s but I will be only keeping one SBI site in 2014.) I have several of my own WordPress sites hosted on Bluehost and create tons of sites for others on WordPress because of my business. I keep my SBI site going because I like to keep in touch with what is happening on SBI, I have a good chunk of clients with SBI sites, I have loads of friends who are also SBI’ers and I personally like the BrainstormIt tool very much.

    I do agree with many of your points about how Sitesell can improve. Your articles and opinions are well written and researched. I do feel that they are slanted, though.

    You had success by not following the Action Guide, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some really successful people making a good living from their SBI sites who did follow the Action Guide. ($4000+ a month, I mean). I think this has a lot more to do with the people involved, what niche(s) they choose (and how easily it monetizes!) and what type of drive they have to work at and think of all of the ways that they can make their business successful. There are tons of people using WordPress who don’t have successful sites too. I know a great many of website owners who were hit with Panda and Penguin. They are using all sorts of philosophies and platforms. It isn’t just SBI. There were a lot of SEO experts telling us to do close to the same thing the Action Guide states- those sites got hit hard too. It’s great that you listened to your gut and decided not to follow everything you read, but I f you did it right and didn’t get spammy (no paid links, not have high instances of exact match keywords) you either didn’t get hit all that hard or took a whopping correction but were able to work your way back up again by following the advice given in the reports. There are SBI’er who did all that work, but aren’t seeing their sites come back, but there are also non-SBI sites in that situation as well.

    I would have loved SBI to have hired an unbiased 3rd party company to evaluate sites for the post Panda/Penguin studies. That would have been much better in my estimation than having volunteer SBI’ers do this and Ken and team evaluating the results. They did at least go through this arduous process, though, and I think helpful info came out of it even if it might not be fully even. Many other companies didn’t even attempt to find out why sites were hit. So I think it was a good thing that they administered this, but don’t love that it was done by a team who could have had some attachment to the outcome. I don’t meant that they blatantly slanted it, but the process was a subjective one- not fully scientific.

    I will say right out that I am a WordPress fan. WordPress has a huge amount to offer over and above SBI as a platform, and I build most of my client sites on WordPress. I also see that at least in my experience, WordPress is not for everybody. SBI’s BB2 builder is really very good. It just doesn’t have some of the functionality that I feel is needed.

    With WordPress, newbies and non-techie people often have a hard time if they want to do more than build a basic site with posts and pages and not too many plugins. It is hard to cobble together WordPress information and get answers to the many questions that come up. There is no easy way to get support.

    I agree, SBI’s support is not adequate for my uses. I don’t want to have to wait 6-8 hours for a reply and I used to feel like there was a lot of stalling and runaround because some of the support team just wasn’t as good as other members, but for the past year, if I was patient, all of my queries were met with good help. The quality of the support has improved a lot- I just don’t want to wait for answers and i want support to be by phone or chat and for it to be part of the package.

    Because WordPress is open source and has thousands of developers working on plugins and plugins don’t always play nice with each other, this can be frustrating for non-techie site owners. I love that there are so many plugins to choose from and they are vetted by the rating process compared to the number of downloads.

    SBI (to me) has an advantage over WordPress in the education department and in some of their tools. They offer great info via reading and videos about how to build a business online, and when you are new, it is hugely helpful to have it all in one place. I can honestly say that I would not be successful today had it not been for the education I got and the other SBI’ers I met along the way since I first started in 2007.

    Re. this particular article, it is interesting and I see that you put a lot of time and thought into it, but I see a bit of a flaw in the Alexa ranking:monthly income ratio theory because you are primarily using your own monetization model to base your calculations on.

    Many SBI’ers have moved past the advertising monetization model or supplemented it with other types of monetization to grow their business.

    In some ways, your comparison is valid because you ARE basically comparing the common SBI model of using “advertising-based-on-content as the model” which is similar to your own model, but I know other small business owners with sites on SBI that make a truly stellar and self-sustaining income even with Alexa rankings that are not that stellar. Not every type of business needs a huge traffic flow to be successful. They just need the RIGHT traffic flow. Obviously, if you stick solely to the advertising monetization model, you will definitely need tons of traffic for both contextual ads and to draw the interest of companies who will pay you for placement of their ads.

    But search engine traffic is not always as important for certain types of business and monetization models. Think about all of the sites that have added other ways to monetize for instance. I have one SBI friend that makes a fabulous income that sustains his family and he doesn’t use Adsense or ad hosting in his model. He sells his time and expertise in consulting and training others at a pretty high cost per client, so he doesn’t have to have all that many people interact with his site to make a great living this way. I have another dear friend who has an SBI site that she directly links to a wholesaler that drop ships for her. She also has literally thousands of pages that link to affiliate products and because she has taken the time to build all of these optimized pages and work with 3rd party distributors, she makes an extremely enviable income. She has a great Alexa ranking, but she has done a lot of supplementation of monetization models. The point is that both of these individuals are not content with collecting passive income from advertising, so they have pushed beyond and built something more. This has made them successful.

    Some businesses are not and don’t have to be as reliant on Google traffic, and others offer services or downloadable products. I personally know several SBI’ers who rely on their earnings from these to support themselves and are doing quite well. I actually know a good number of SBI’ers who are making a good living from their site(s) and I know many others who are struggling, so it’s a mix. There are no easy answers and too many factors to speculate without studying stats in combination with a good review of the sites themselves.

    One of the biggest misses for SBI in my opinion is that SBI could make the road to making money much easier and better. Now that Google corrections have hit and the previous monetization model is less likely to work on its own, SBI’ers need some new ways to make their businesses viable rather than to keep struggling with the contextual advertising/affilliate model.

    I would love to see SBI bring in a way to add eCommerce to their sites, slicker membership site features and other supplementation that will help those make their way out of the Adsense/affiliate model to something healthier if they aren’t getting absolutely tons of traffic. I can do way more with my WordPress sites in terms of eCommerce if I want too(affiliate products, hard good drop shipping and downloadable products).

    I’m truly happy that you have found a good way to make a living from your business. I’m hoping that everyone who wants to do the same in 2014 can also do that using the ways that make the most sense for them.

    Thanks for listening!

    1. Lori – yes, yes, and yes! Fantastic post; I agree with absolutely everything you said.

      I have had an SBI site for six years. I don’t do Adsense at all, I only sell my own products (mainly an online video course for $300); and I make about $35,000 – $45,000 per year. My Alexa ranking is horrible and my traffic isn’t that great; only about 350 – 500 visits per day (it was about 1200 per day before Penguin). I don’t really spend the time I should on marketing.

      I also built a site for my dad, who makes beautiful wooden jewelry boxes. His traffic is only 80-180 unique visits per day; which is laughable in the internet world. However, his traffic is highly converting; the people looking for those keywords know what they want, and his gorgeous work is what they are looking for. So he makes about $75,000+ a year in sales, just off his SBI website. He can’t keep up with the orders; he has to turn them away. So from his perspective, his SBI site is incredibly successful; and it’s easy enough that my mom (a COMPLETE non-techie) can go in and update photos and text.

      I only mention this because for some people, SBI works; and I don’t think Kristi should dissuade people so strongly. Clearly, I’m on this page for a reason; I am starting a new site and am thinking of leaving SBI, because my expertise has grown and I feel I’m outgrowing SBI. However, I’ve experimented with a few WordPress sites, and I can honestly say I struggle with WordPress. I am pretty website-savvy, and think I’m pretty dang intelligent 🙂 But I STRUGGLE with WordPress templates, plugins, and how to maximize my SEO. The one WordPress site I started has horrid traffic, and to be honest I’ve never been more frustrated. And when I need help, there’s nowhere to go. So I’m weighing my options. I will be the first to admit I’ve “outgrown” SBI, but the thought of starting over with a WordPress site exhausts me.

      Although Kristi’s article is well researched, I personally feel she’s extremely biased and angry. I don’t understand the need to be quite so hateful of Ken and SBI, and I’ve had nothing but a good experience with the people at SBI. The forums are comparable to none; nowhere else will you ever find a more informative, helpful, supportive group of people.

      So, I think the moral of the story is…..that there is none. 🙂 Each and every site will get different traffic based upon a million things, and each site owner will make different amounts of money based upon a million things, and every person will like one host over another based upon a million things.

      I wish every one the best of luck on your website adventure!

  6. I love your insight and the other comments on this page. it is very difficult to decipher information comparing SBI to WP. I have had my SBI site since 2011 and I have seen gradual traffic increases since I began, my numbers are a little below yours (visitors just hovering under 4K a month, and 16K + pages a month) however not making the same amount of money. Not sure how much of this is me compared to utilizing the SBI model or maybe I am just not monetizing very well, this is a part time job for me that doesn’t pay very well.

    One of my largest frustrations is the lack of ability to create a nice design with the site, while this has improved with the use of BB2, I have to say it still doesn’t even compare to the ease I experienced with blogger which is where I first started.

    I love all of the tools SBI has to offer, I am building my first site so still very new and need to learn more about building a website, however I want to take it further and continue to grow, my alexa is also less than 600K.

    I am still debating if I should take the leap to WP or stick it out with SBI, I am very limited with my knowledge of CSS or html.

    I would love to see a side to side chart comparison of SBI and WP to make a more informed decision. I’m not sure if I switched to WP if it would end of costing me more as well.

  7. Lots of great in insightful information Kristi, the monetization model of affiliate/advertising was a somewhat easy way to make money back when online marketing was new. Over the years we have seen eCommerce grow for everyday items that were difficult to get when all of this was in it’s infancy. I think if you have a good product or service and learn how to build your business online you COULD supplement your local income. Gone are the days of making money easily reselling others products. Though there are massive sites that do this, eg: ebay, alibaba, amazon… etc. If you have a good product/service to sell a site is a must these days but approaching online marketing when you don’t have a product/service with just a dream of making money online is a fools dream.

  8. Hi , thank you very much for the info , I was just about to fell prey toSBI but the old look of the sites they claim as proof made me research more I,m glad I found your posts , thank you !!

  9. Wow! I really admire your openness and honesty in sharing the money you make on your site and how you make it! Thank you for sharing your knowledge, it’s very generous of you!

  10. Knowing what I know now, I’d have been better off creating my site with WordPress. SBI is NOT all it’s cracked up to be. Now that I’ve had self-hosted WordPress sites, it’s clear to me that SBI overstates the “downsides” getting your own hosting and installing WordPress. Having used both, I can say self-hosted WordPress is WAY superior to a site on SBI.

    By all means, sign up for SBI for WordPress and learn their philosophy for website building if you want (although you can get that for free mostly on various blogs)… but do NOT build your site on SBI – it’s too limiting, and if you ever want to move it, you’ll be so, so, so sorry due to all the hassle you’ll be facing.

    I don’t know if Ken Evoy is really lying his face off about the success of SBI sites compared to WordPress on purpose, or is merely overenthusiastic about his product, but after being with SBI for a very long time I’ve come to regret my decision to build my site with SBI. And in regards to whether or not he lied intentionally, honestly, he seems like a smart guy… so how could he NOT know that his comparisons were misleading.

    Eventually, I’ll move my site from SBI to WordPress. But I’m putting it off since it’s a large site, converting every page to WordPress will be a tedious process that I do NOT look forward to, and setting up all the redirects or whatever if I want to switch to WordPress-style urls (i.e. NOT ending in .html) is a PITA.

    In 2012 when SBI changed their page builder to their shiny new BB2, lots of successful SBI’ers moved their site because of the terrible way SBI handled the migration, and all the needless manual work that SBI created.

    Now it’s 2017 and another big change is being handled clumsily, with too little regard to the effects of their decisions on owners of large SBI websites. In 2012, I gave them the benefit of the doubt. But now they’re doing it AGAIN and I can no longer overlook it.

    Google is releasing a new version of Chrome tomorrow (Oct 17), that will show all pages with forms as NOT SECURE, and as of this moment that I’m writing this, SBI’ers are STILL waiting for SBI to make available their tool to convert our sites to https. People with WordPress sites were able to do this months ago. Since when is it a good idea for a money-making website – a business – to change their site to https literally the day before (if we’re lucky) or day of, or days AFTER google’s change to Chrome and have website visitors scared off by insecure warnings about their site. I’m pissed off. Time’s ticking and still no ability for us to change our sites to https. It’s being tested by beta testers at the moment, and the rest of us are stuck waiting.

    If anyone reading this wants to build a website that makes money, build it as a self-hosted WordPress site. While SBI has a few things going for it, those are outnumbered by the negatives.

  11. Your reasoning here is flawed. The way you’ve chosen to earn your income is basically lazy, through passive ads. If you created your own online course, membership site or coaching program, for example, you would make far more than what you are ($2000/month).

    For example, if you converted just 1% of monthly traffic into a $25 product, you would earn $45,000/month. 180000 visitors x 1% = 1800 sales x $25 = $45000.

    So, if someone with a site only getting 30000 visitors per month converted at these numbers, they could make more than what you are comparing (passive ads).

    In the above scenario, they would be at $7500 per month.

    I don’t have any care about this SBI!, WP, etc issue.

    Just commenting on the fact that you can’t compare traffic to any direct relationship to money earned. Alexa ranking has no bearing whatsoever on revenue as you don’t know how each site is actually monetizing their site.

    You would do well to move from the lazy way you’re monetizing and get to work building your own product offerings. It would open your world up to Fulltime income and would prevent you from spreading the same misinformation you’re accusing this other company of doing.

    Be careful when presenting your content with the tone you do, as you might not be as smart as you think 🙂

    1. You realize you’re commenting on a 7-year-old post, right? And my blog now makes $15,000/month in passive display ad income. And you can disagree with me all you want, but a website without traffic can’t make money, no matter how the site is monetized.

      Be careful when jumping to conclusions, as you may end up looking like a jackass.

  12. Thank you so much for the time you put into this. Early 2000’s I was paying their monthly fee. I did that for about a year and half. I know the internet was still ‘young’ then but I found SBI to be ‘clunky’ if that makes sense. And I found all their customers ‘ websites down-right ugly. I never moved forward with their product because something just didn’t feel right. I’m so glad I listened to my gut and didn’t dive into it. I’ve learned so much since then and none of it has come from SBI.