It’s no secret that I spend my days working for SiteSell. I joined the SiteSell developer team as a Perl programmer in 2010 to work on their SBI! product. This was shortly before starting to develop WordPress plugins during my free time.
SBI! is a suite of tools to help entrepreneurs build online businesses, regardless of the niche – from cat pictures, to everything asphalt, birthday cakes, costumes – you name it, I’ve seen it! And they’re all very happy campers. SBI! offers them the Action Guide (a huge online book containing steps to follow to get their business up and running), hosting, a site builder, and a ton of other support tools. Perhaps one of the most important is Brainstorm It! – a keyword tool that helps people find their niche and decide which keywords to use in their content, based on interest (monthly searches) and competition (number of sites using the keyword).
One thing SBI! wasn’t prepared to do, however, was help struggling WordPress users with their own sites. So I took it upon myself to try and convince management to address this problem, due to my love of WordPress and its plugin interface.
Fast forward a few years and I find myself as the lead developer for SiteSell’s WordPress division, working on SBI! for WP, an adaptation of the tried and tested SBI! product.
Mike Allton, Susanna Perkins, and myself made up a team tasked with using The Lean Start Up methodology to find out how to best supply SBI! tools to a WordPress audience. After several months talking to bloggers and infopreneurs, we came to the conclusion that adapting Brainstorm It! to work within WordPress would be the best way to get started. And so SBI! for WP was born.
Review of the SBI! for WordPress Initial Process
When a user signs up for SBI! for WP, they get access to a fully revised Action Guide (aka the AG), especially tailored for WordPress users – from choosing hosting to how to select the best plugins . The AG was structured as an online course for ease of use, with completion progress and even a points system.
Once the user is familiar with the steps he needs to take, he can go to the Brainstorm It! tool (on SiteSell’s servers) to set up his niche and Master Keyword List (the MKL) – a list of up to 5000 keywords related to the business, along with the numbers for interest, competition, and potential.
Review of the SBI! for WP Technical Background
The next step is to download and install the SBI! for WP plugin on their own site (my pride and joy). It’s hard not to get too technical, but this is a technical site so bear with me. I used the MVC Starter Plugin for WordPress (by yours truly), so the code is clean and concise, neatly separated into Models, Views, and Controllers. Communication with SiteSell’s servers is done via back-end API calls, and only when absolutely necessary.
For performance purposes, and as this is purely an Admin tool, it doesn’t even get instantiated on the front end. Once the user installs it, they receive a Welcome admin pointer with the option to take a tour of the settings. When the user connects to SiteSell’s servers, their MKL is downloaded to their site so that they have quick access to the keywords while writing posts or pages (or whatever other Custom Post Type they choose to use the keywords on).
If they want to use a keyword that is not in their MKL, they have the option to add it from the WordPress admin, and both systems are kept in sync. For larger systems that have multiple roles creating/editing content, the admin can choose which roles will have access to the keywords.
When using the keywords in the Edit Post/Page screen, the user also has access to Competitive Insights – a list of sites that use the selected keyword, offering opportunity to reach out and make partnerships. We also keep track of all posts and pages using that keyword within the user’s site.
All in all, SBI! for WP is an awesome service/plugin and I’m tremendously proud to be a part of it!