Trina from GrowingRaw.com

Posted by on Oct 8, 2011 in Success With Site Build It

Trina from GrowingRaw.com

Trina Cleary initially started a website to save her sanity while she cared for her kids at home until they started school. Her oldest starts school next year and the income from her sites will enable her to continue working from home. The freedom to avoid the child-care and school drop-off shuffle is priceless.

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It’s an unexpected and wonderful feeling, but building my second SBI! site is what has led me to fully believe in myself as an online businesswoman. Let me share why.

Commonly received wisdom amongst seasoned SBI!ers is that the first year of your first site is a learning year. Even with SBI!’s help it takes time to figure out all the pieces of the site-building puzzle.

SBI! never advertises itself as a get-rich-quick scheme; rather it’s a work hard, pay attention and you will succeed beyond your dreams kind of system! However without SBI! I estimate it would take at least 3-4 times as long to accumulate the necessary skills and knowledge to be successful online.

Depending on how much time you have to dedicate towards building your first website, it can also take weeks or months (or even years) of elapsed time to find your content-writing rhythm. It’s generally true that once you get the flow of ideas started, writing pages that will interest human visitors and impress the search engines becomes easier.

Many people, including myself, admit to making silly mistakes with their first site. My blunders with my first site, a healthy eating guide called Growing Raw, include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Choosing a domain name that expressed my ideas completely and accurately at the time – but only to myself!
  • Not clearly identifying my target visitors, their needs and what they would be looking for – instead thinking only of what I wanted to tell them.
  • Biting off more than I could chew – there are at least half a dozen sub-niches within my site that would have worked beautifully as their own focused, clearly identifiable, keyword targeted sites. Alas, my initial site concept is as broad as the Río de la Plata!
  • Confusing the search engines with my diverse range of keywords – even with Tomaz’s cherry-picking method in mind it’s hard to justify the spread of keywords and subtopics I’ve used.
  • Writing the pages I wanted to write rather than heeding the advice of BrainstormIt!, which very clearly indicated the kinds of pages my visitors were actually searching for.
  • Not getting stuck into link-building until Tomaz’s shake-up of everyone in middle of last year – that was at least a year down the track for me and I still have a lot of catching up to do in this area.
  • Last but not least, not feeling confident or experienced enough to really find my own voice and write pages full of character as well as information

Phew! So where’s the good news? Well, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Building a second site can give you the distance and perspective to drastically improve your first site.

You won’t even realize just how much you’ve learned until you start building your next site. Studying the Action Guide, osmosis from the brilliant and friendly SBI forums, guidance and enlightenment from grounding blogs like Freedom Ideas and simply hanging around more online gives you a valuable education.

When you are building your own site, you consciously pick up hundreds of clues about what makes you like or dislike other sites you visit. Being more tuned in to web business strategies also helps you identify and pick the best marketing techniques used by successful sites.

All of the research you’ve done feeds into your second site in the most natural and exhilarating way. As you reach each decision point you have so much more experience and understanding to draw on. With ability and confidence, you can successfully apply what you’ve learned.

It’s also an opportunity to revise the parallel choices you made for your first site. For example, building my second site has prompted me to look back at Growing Raw and:

  • Update tier 2 and the most popular content pages to better reflect my personality and voice – now that I’ve finally found my online charisma 🙂
  • Find ways of reaching out to visitors for my most wanted response, seeking harder for e-zine sign-ups, e-book sales and affiliate clicks. Previously I would have to say that I was barely requesting any action at all from my visitors.
  • Shuffle the tier structure to better reflect the power of my keywords.
  • Regain the passion for my first site as I realise its worth and potential.

Some would argue that this is a case of ‘tweaking’, and they may be right. However, because my interest in my first site was deeply personal as well as professional and financial it is completely worth it for me.

As my passion for the topic becomes more deeply embedded in my lifestyle, the more I wish to successfully reach out to others. You do have to apply the 80/20 rule so you don’t waste time tweaking elements that won’t make much difference though.

Of course, it’s also worth it for me because I can finally see how the site I spent two years of elapsed time building whilst juggling toddlers and part-time work can finally pay a dividend to my family. Traffic for my first site has nearly tripled in the six months since I began my second site. At last this hobby is becoming lucrative!

Bottom line is this. If you’ve spent a year or so building your first site up to 100 pages or more, when you start again from the ground up you can reap exponential benefits. You may find yourself with a fabulous new site to love and a refreshed, reinvigorated and increasingly profitable first site.

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    6 Comments

  1. I made mistakes in my first website too, but it still more than pays for its monthly hosting fees. I have sort of left it to run on its own now. I update it every few months and then leave it again. It still grows monthly some how.

    My second was better but not perfect. But I decided that this was the niche for me and now I am building more sites in the same niche and passing the authority from one to the other as I start new ones.

    Also I have started creating my own e-products and when you have more than one site in an niche, you can promote the same e-products from them all.

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  2. Mark, I am now trying the same strategy with a third site. The niche is related to my first site so I can leverage the e-products I’ve already created.

    My third site is a sub-sub-niche of my first site… I have finally learnt to focus.

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  3. Trina,

    You are so right about the learning experience with SBI. My site is a little over 7 months old now and boy did I make a lot of mistakes at the beginning. I can see how much of a smoother process the second site will be.

    I hope you continue to have much success in the future.

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  4. Trina,
    Thanks for sharing your experiences with SBI. I started my site in August and now have 77 pages – it’s such an exciting time! I’m lucky enough to have the change to work full-time on my site, and it does feel like going back to school.

    I’m so grateful for finding SBI – I’ve been on-line since 2010 and had no luck till I started my SBI site.

    I made all the common mistakes on my first non-SBI site – hiring a designer, having the site hosted by Square Space, etc etc. What a waste of time and money.

    Any hints on what your second site is?

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  5. Brian, I’m hoping for success too! Actually, ‘success’ is starting to creep up on me, my first site is finally making an income that is significant to the family’s bottom line. We couldn’t live on it, but it helps.

    The second site is a smoother process, but also a less anxious process.

    Diane, my second site is still one that is centered around my personal interests rather than specifically targeting a profit, but it’s a much more monetizable theme. It’s called campingmum.com and has a narrower target audience than my first site.

    By the way, I don’t think hiring a designer is a necessarily a mistake. Having a great look and feel can really boost your professionalism.

    Trina

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  6. Hi,
    Thanks for the success stories. I have been using SBI – my website is almost 2 years old. I have been thinking of starting another site as well…It’s a lot of fun!

    [Reply]

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