Interview With Ken Evoy – Part I – The 80:20 Of Building A Successful Website

Interview With Ken Evoy – Part I – The 80:20 Of Building A Successful Website

Posted by on Mar 4, 2008 in Site Build It

This is the first part of my interview with Ken Evoy which took place on the SBI cruise in January 2008.

I am very grateful and honored that Ken took the time to answer my questions and allow me to publish this interview here on this blog.

Just a short introduction to the first question: if you are not yet familiar with the 80:20 term, then follow the link to the Pareto principle to understand it better.

I first wanted to ask Ken, what he sees as the most important parts of building a website – from the view of tools and from the view of personality traits…

Tomaz: What is the 80:20 to building a successful website? What is your opinion from the view of tools?

Ken: There’s an 80:20 to process, and there’s an 80:20 to tools. The 80:20 to process is you have to fundamentally understand how the Internet works. And one of the primary functions that people use the Internet for is to search for information.

So naturally, the way to build a website is to deliver the information that people search for. That’s logical, but very few people actually think about it.

Instead, they just put up a pretty fancy website or a gimmicky website, but they don’t really think about the customer, the business that they are in, the theme that is related to the business, and what people are looking for.

But when you think about all that, then you find what people are looking for and you build the content that builds the traffic. And if your content is good, original, and delivering the information that people are looking for, you start to deliver what we call a brand because the average small business person of course has no brand.

Like the dentist in the village who is only known by the village people but not by the people from the next village—he has little brand locally but has no brand globally. With a website, this dentist will be known by the people in the neighboring village just like a dentist in Los Angeles who becomes known to people in Las Vegas.

So you start to expand. You become credible and then and only then do you monetize. So that’s the 80:20 in terms of process.

Once you understand the process, then you need to have the tools to execute the process. You have to figure out all of the best tools needed to execute every single step that’s involved.

The process here is putting up content that builds traffic that presells. This process also involves little steps that need tools to be able to accelerate the implementation of those steps.

So what is the best brainstormer? People spend so much energy worrying what’s the best instead of worrying about the content that they should be delivering.

And when they find the best they don’t know how to structure a page to both make the search engine and the human being happy—so all the energy is spent in the wrong places finding complicated or bad tools.

And it’s time wasted to put all these tools together instead of accelerating the process and looking for something just be able to put up a website, build traffic, monetize, and get on.

That’s the 80:20 for both process and tools.

Tomaz: Okay. And what do you think is the 80:20 for people, like personality traits, to build a successful website?

Ken: We live in a world that everybody wants everything tomorrow or in thirty minutes. Like when you’re ordering a pizza or a book from Amazon or an e-book or an iTune from Apple. It better be there the next day.

And somehow people translate that to building a business online. They don’t translate that to building a business offline. In offline business, people understand that they are going to spend $200,000 to merchandise the store.

They are going to commit themselves to a lease for two years where they have a risk of another couple thousands dollars. They understand that its going to take a few months just to get off the ground with significant negative cash flow, and that it’s probably a year before they become profitable. That’s offline.

Tomaz: Actually in Slovenia, there isn’t any tax the first year you start your business because they know what’s going on typically with small businesses.

Ken: Yeah. But online people put up a website and expect money to come in the next day. And the Internet doesn’t suspend the basic. It doesn’t suspend the law of business. It takes time to build a real business.

So the 80:20 in terms of personality is people who have the patience or the brain in terms of knowledge, the attitude in terms of patience, and the motivation in terms of working at it. Those people are the 80:20.

The people who spend a lot of money to have a beautiful site tomorrow are obliged to spend thousands of dollars a month on Google AdWords because that’s the only way they can get traffic or those people who fall for get-rich-quick scams or put up a site quickly on one of the big web hosts and then they just work at it.

Working at the wrong things, no process, no patience, they give up that site, they try another site, they try another guy, they fall for this, and they literally waste years and thousands of dollars getting nowhere.

The 80:20 is just do it right, be patient, understand the process, execute, believe in it, and it’s not going to happen in a month, in a week, in three months.

It starts to happen in six months, in a year. It grows and grows and grows. But that’s really the 80:20.

It’s all about attitude and motivation.

Tomaz: Yeah, I’m actually quite lucky because I’ve only fallen one time for the wrong company.

Ken: What did you do?

Tomaz: I asked a friend, I said, “I need a website. I need to publish my brain. I know so much about tennis and it’s nowhere. So I see the potential of the Internet, and I see I want to put it on the web.”

He was one of my best friends so he suggested a company there: one Slovenian web designer IT company. And he said these are good guys.

So they built me a website that cost me about $700, and I could upload text and graphics and that’s it. I didn’t know anything about the titles, the keywords, nothing, just, “Here is your website.” So I didn’t know about Internet at all.

And then later I read that having a list is very good so I said, “I would like a newsletter module.” They said, “Sure, that’s not a problem. That’s 300 dollars.”

And then I started to think:”What about the RSS (really simple syndication) and blog and this and this and this and $300 and $300 and $300.”

NO, that’s not what I want. And also, the other problem was sometimes I asked them for something and they said, “Well, can you wait for a week? We’re just having a lot of work with this big company, blah, blah, blah.”

So I was like waiting for one week for one little change. So I was stuck. I couldn’t do anything with the website. I just put up text.

Ken: And a lot of people fall for that trap. There’s a web master who can put a site up but that’s it, it sits there. It might as well be in the North Pole.

There’s a chief economist who’s put in charge of a big brokerage house in Kazakhstan. They have wasted thousands and thousands of dollars with Russian designers putting up fancy sites. This economist, who doesn’t understand anything, lists technical meetings. He faxed us and said, “You know I read that book that we first wrote, How to Make Your Site Sell, a 600-page book. I read it three times.”

He goes, “You may think it’s funny to read a book three times. But the first time, I read it just quickly to understand it. The second time, I read it really to understand it. And the third time, I read it to use it.”

And then one day, he says, “All the designers are there, and they’re tucking with JavaScript and all that.” Then he goes, “Wait! Stop! What’s our most wanted response? No more talking until we figure out what’s our most wanted response. Because this site has no direction.”

And then he goes on and now his site is the no.1 site in Kazakhstan ahead of all the big film sites and it just comes from common sense. And to think that you can put an economist in charge of the website that the boss is basically giving up on.

Because economists are not marketers, right? What they are is they are very good researchers and thinkers. He knew how to make the site sell, came over, started a site builder site, and then just kept going and going and going.

It’s a great story of how conventional webmasters really don’t understand a simple logical process. And they do what they want to do. They do what they are good at instead of what the client needs and what the client’s client needs.

Tomaz: Yeah, they do what they feel safe at.

Ken: Exactly.

Part II – The biggest obstacles of online success

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  1. I’ve always been interested in the 80:20 phenomenon and how it works in the social lives of humans.

    The interview brought up an interesting point regarding the economist. But overall, I was hoping for a more simplified explaination of that phenomenon with regards to earning an income online.

    I understand its like 80% of your income come from 20% of your efforts. But what I’d be interested in would be how one goes about to differentiate the 20% of the efforts generating the 80% from the 80% of efforts generating the 20% of the income.

    Maybe you could give your personal opinions on it?

    Hope I didnt confuse you! 😀


  2. Yes, I had to read that twice to get it. 😉

    I believe the only way is through experience. You can read so many contradicting information online. And there are so many experts in various fields. Some are experts on Squidoo lenses and build links and traffic through that.

    Others are masters of social bookmarking and getting traffic from there. There are of course hundreds of other ways of building links and traffic.

    I’ve tried many of these tactics and I now try to use those that work for me. I also look for those, that don’t take too much time.

    I can never get back my time. But I can get my money back. 😉


  3. Hi Tomaz,
    In the era of instant coffee, microwave ovens, and next-day air, the concepts of “practicing patience” and “sticking to a well-thought-out plan” appear to be challenging for many would-be internet marketers. Yet, these same concepts also seem to be cornerstones in Ken’s & the SBI approach to online success.
    Regards, DR



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