Site Building Tools

I originally built this website using Site Build It! which is an all-in-one website building, hosting and promotional system. I’ve been building websites for the best part of 15 years now and I wanted to see how using Site Build It!’s point and click approach would compare to the more standard approach of building webpages as well as how useful its sitebuilding and other site promotion tools would turn out to be.

I was pleasantly surprised. While I don’t want to go into a spiel about how good the system is, I can speak from experience. Newsletter management is a case in point. With some of my other websites, the administration of newsletters is handled by AWEBER, probably the best such independent system available, but it does mean it’s yet another site to log into, make payments to, track stats, etc. While SBI’s newsletter handing isn’t as sophisticated as that of AWEBER, in practice it’s met all my requirements.

Site Build It! also submits your website to the major search engines regularly (a task usually carried out manually by webmasters) and lets you see how individual pages on your website rank with them. Great for tweaking low-ranked pages. And there’s a tool for brainstorming keywords so you can build pages around keywords and topics that have high demand but low supply. They’ll even take you by the hand and show you how to monetize your pages.

Using RSS Feeds

One thing that Site Build It! can’t currently do though is allow RSS feeds to be embedded in your webpages. You can do it through using JavaScript but Search engines won’t recognize the changing content on your site (even though your visitors will). So I hosted the RSS-fed pages for the Great Landscape Photography website on a different server – one that can support embedded RSS.

If you’d like to know more about SBI, you’ll find a complete rundown at: The Complete Site Build It! Reference Center.

[Update]: After being with Site Build It for 8 years, I decided to move the site over to WordPress. I had specific logistical reasons for doing this and as a result I’ve lost the backlinking feature that’s built into SBI! So any backlinks I create in the future will have to be built manually. I guess there are always compromises, no matter what you do. One reason I wanted to move to WordPress is that I am turning Great Landscape Photography into a showcase site for my WordPress blog building service.

Spicing Up Your Website

Websites need pictures to illustrate the subjects covered and provide a bit of visual interest for visitors. The Great Landscape Photography site features my own photography, along with some photos contributed by visitors. So one way of getting pictures is to ask your readers to send some to you. But, if you’re looking for photos of something specific, finding the right picture can be a real problem. You can hunt around for images doing a Google Image Search, but you need to be careful about using such images as they may have a copyright notice attached. Online Stock Photo agencies supply photos for as little as $1.00 per download that you can use in any way you want. This is probably the quickest way of building a set of pictures for your website (even if it does cost a few bucks). The two agencies I’ve used (both to submit photos to and download from) are ShutterStock and DreamsTime.

You can do a quick search of ShutterStock’s inventory here:

ShutterStock Stock Photo Keyword Search:

Search Terms: