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What You Really Need To Know About Your Food
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What You Really Need To Know About Your Food

  • Hello Again! An update and news!

    Hello Again!

     

    I realize it's been a long time since I've said anything on this blog, so I wanted to touch base and give everyone some results and news...

     

    A few years ago, I was picked for a free SBI web site from Dollar Strecher.  I was given a free year of service, a training class, and support from SBI to create a new web site.  I created Food-Safety-and-You.com which I commented and blogged on for a few weeks.

     

    Now, a few years later, food-safety-and-you.com is still up and growing.  To be compeltely honest, I had to put it on the shelf for about a year and just watched it grow.  Currently, I have about 5,000 visitors each month to the site, rising a little bit more during certain holiday months (like Easter and Thanksgiving).  I have about 30 different sites linking in to the site, many where I've shared links (meaning that I linked to thier site and they linked to mine).  

     

    Is it making a ton of money?  Not really what I hoped, but it is still there.  There is still potential that I will be focusing on.

     

    However, I wanted to bring to light a new SBI site that I'm working on... www.cooking-substitutions.com.  It was created with the thought process "Help, I'm out of ______" when cooking and need to know what you can substitute.  It could be a life changer for people who are looking to go with vegeratian substitutes or low-fat/healthy options as well.  

     

    If you want to check out my new site, www.cooking-substitutions.com, or check out my old site, Food-Safety-and-You.com, I would love to hear your feedback.  Or if you have any tips that you would like me to explore for you, I would love to hear from you!

     

    To the Dollar Strecher community - thank you very much for everyone's tips, thoughts and money-saving ideas - you all have saved me a lot of money over the years!

     

    Matt

    http://www.sitesell.com/lichlyter.html
  • Update for the new year!

     

    Now, I've spent a lot of time talking about how much I've learned from SBI,
    but I wanted to give you a few thoughts from the past few months.

    First of all, happy new year to everyone! It's pretty cool that we're in
    2010. I can remember thinking as a kid that this year we would be flying
    cars instead of driving them on roads, traveling to the moon for vacations,
    things like that. Oh well, not happening as of now, but who knows!
    OK - enough nostalgia.  
    I will be honest, I haven't been working on the site too much.  I had
    surgery on my knee (planned out) in December and the holidays are always
    stressful, so I didn't get a lot of work done on it.

    So, here I sit with not a LOT of new things to talk about. But I have come
    across some things that if you're thinking of building a SBI website, you
    should know.

    1 - Choose your topic well. Here's the deal - I won this because I pitched
    an idea to the contest. When I was in the middle of the training, I
    realized that the topic I picked wasn't going to be THAT profitable. Food
    Safety as a topic isn't news unless things go bad - kind of like the weather
    in San Diego - unless it's bad, you don't worry about it. I went ahead and
    build the site the way I committed to when I won, even though there might
    have been some better ideas.

    As of right now, my incoming traffic from search engines has topped out
    around 50 unique visitors per day. Not huge numbers that I was hoping. For
    the most part, I'm hitting in the top sites when you do a search. For
    instance, from Google.com, type in "food safety history" and you'll usually
    find me somewhere between website #4 and #8. That means that the search
    engines like my site for certain key words, which is the point of SBI.
    However, how many people are really looking for Food Safety History? Not
    that many. So, if you ever decide to do an SBI site, make sure that you go
    through all your homework when you build your site - SBI tells you if it
    should be a good business money maker or not. However, if you choose a
    topic that works and follow what SBI tells you, you WILL be successful.

    2 - Don't be afraid to try. When I went through the class, there were 8 of
    us in the group that got started. A few of us had experience with the web
    and with web marketing or web page design, but most didn't. Of the 8, only
    myself and one other individual got a web site up and running. The others
    either dropped out of the class or completed the class and didn't do
    anything since then! I would point you to some of their sites, but that
    would just be mean. However, to be nice, I will point you to the other
    site that is still being built: www.ask-how-to-grow-it.com. I just checked
    it out and they are still working on it.

    I say "don't be afraid to try" because even if you think you're doing
    something that someone else is going do also, chances are, they won't
    finish! Most people don't finish what they start! New Year's resolutions,
    diets, etc fail all the time. Don't give up!

    Even though I've had difficulty with my site and it's not performing like I
    want it to right now, I'm impressed that I build a 80+ page site, and I've
    learned HOW to do it! Which is going to help me with my new project that
    I'm starting to work on right now - a business to business food safety
    training site. I'm not giving up on www.food-safety-and-you.com by any
    means - I'm just going to step ahead and make another site.

    To everyone - hope you have a happy, prosperous new year.
     
    I'll let you know when I get back to my original web site!

    Matt
  • Some Lessons that I've learned on this Journey

    I got an email from a former friend of mine who came across the web site that I built, www.Food-Safety-and-You.com.  I’m not going to print the entire email here, but I thought I’d share parts of it. 

    “Hey Matt,

    "Can’t believe you got that site together!  I remember you and I talking about the idea years ago, and here you are making a HUGE web site that does exactly what you were talking about!  Awesome…  One of the things that I’m impressed with is how you tried to take off your professional hat and make it real for people [and, he had some negative comments here that I’m working on] 

    “What I think is amazing is that you have made a business here that will grow…

    “Great job, bud. 

    “-Darrell”

     

    OK, so I’m editing out the negative and personal jokes he threw at me, but it got me thinking: Things that I have learned about building a web business...  so I thought I would share some of these with you…

    1 – There is no such thing as a “quick fix” in business: you hear a lot about how to make money easily on the web, and I’m ashamed to say that I’ve been there, done that.  I tried a lot of things and while I learned a lot, I also found I lost more money that I ever made.  When I received this opportunity, I made it a point to spend the time to get this web site done.  It was a ton of hours that I squeezed in, and my wife, bless her, agreed to let me lock myself in my office whenever I could.  I also had some great support from other family members, but this wasn’t an easy road… and it’s not over yet.

    2 – Web sites can be a good business if you do it smart: That’s a loaded statement and I know that… but it’s can be true.  In a conventional business, you must “open for business” every day (or at least your scheduled hours) to bring retail customers or clients in.  A part time contractor has to find clients or work.  A writer, even part time or freelance, has to do the writing to get paid.  The web is different.  I got really busy the last two weeks with some catering jobs and family stuff, and my web site still attracted about 60 people a day to the web site.  And it became more popular by Alexa, the internet ranking system (as of today, I’m about 1,200,000 out of the millions and millions of web sites out there – not where I want to be, but I’m getting there!).  I wrote two pages that I’m going to be putting up Thanksgiving day, but other than that, I didn’t get much work done – if this had been a “conventional” business, I wouldn’t have anything happening.

    3 –Do your homework:  I picked a topic for my business that I know a lot about, but I still found that I should do more checking and background on certain topics.  I spent a lot of time checking and making sure that I had my facts straight – in doing so, I was also able to approach things from different angles.  When you start out on any business venture, keep with your plans, but look out for other angles and info. 

    4 – Take the step!  If you need to make more money, want to start a new business, or just want to do something that you’ve always to (i.e. this web site that I talked out with Darrell years ago).  I had the opportunity to get this web site up – and I appreciate it…  but it was something that I was going to do down the road when I had the dough to start up with.

     

    Other developments in the web site… I’ve found a few other SBI sites to link to who have linked to my site as well – check them out if you’re on my site – one of them is a chef who’s got some great recipes, and the other one is an expert in nutritional supplements which can help you decide how to help keep yourself healthy.

     

    I’ll keep you up to date on how things are going… going to start working on more of the fun pages about roaches and flies soon…

    Thanks Dollar Strecher and SBI…

  • Testing SBI to see how it works...

    Hello again! 

    So, after a few more weeks, I was able to put up a few new pages, and I decided to test something out.  With Thanksgiving coming up, I decided to make a page about turkey food safety (http://www.food-safety-and-you.com/TurkeyFoodSafety.html); I wanted to see how long it would take the Google “spiders” to find the site and how fast traffic would come.

    Page went up about a week ago.  I had a chef who also has pages with SBI contact me about hooking up a link between the two pages (her link is about ¾ of the way down – and it is a pretty good recipe if you want to check it out).  I then checked traffic and the first few days I got about 4 or 5 visitors.  Then Google found the page about 3 days after I put it up.  Now I’m getting more traffic and hopefully will still be able to rank the pages.

    I did the test to see how fast SBI works – I had a friend who also makes pages and it took weeks for them to be found by Google. 

    Here’s the point – there are a lot of different programs out there and SBI is the best outside of paying someone thousands of dollars on someone professionally doing it for you.  If you’re thinking about building a web site you should check out SBI and see what can happen – it is a lot of work, but if you have the time and the passion for the topic, you just might have a lot of fun doing it.

    I considered www.Food-Safety-and-You.com a gift and I’m working my butt off to make it work – this blog has become a “praise SBI” blog that I didn’t really mean for it to become, but I can’t believe how much I’ve learned and done with this program.

    Hope everyone has a enjoyable and safe Thanksgiving. 

     

  • SBI Lesson Learned.. or learning

    So, here I am working on my web site, www.food-safety-and-you.com.  I had a challenge because my topic, food safety, really didn’t fit the plans that SBI sets up.  But, because I’m stubborn enough (and my wife says it’s a guy thing) I plugged away and worked on building the site.

    So, I finished Phase 1 and was moving into Phase 2, when I had someone visit my site who has built a number of SBI sites.  They immediately gave me what I would call open heart surgery without anesthetic.  The thing was, in my determination to do this, I tried to ignore some of the warning signs that the warning that SBI gave me.  As a result, I had built over 60 pages with many of them set up incorrectly.  While you wouldn’t be able to see it from the visitor perspective; the errors were in planning the backend of the web site (what SBI calls Site Central). 

    To fix them cost me a lot of time… and my wife sitting over my shoulder saying “How come men can never follow directions!”  (OK, if you’re married, you know what I’m saying – don’t get me wrong, I have a great relationship with her, but she does rub in her perfection every once in a while – and I can’t blame here).

    So, I’m still making changes.  But the changes that I’m making are already paying off.  Alexa is a program that ranks web sites – I went from being just under 2 million down to 1,600,000 (or close to that) within a few days.  So, I’m still working on it.

    The lesson learned?  SBI knows what it’s doing – I should have done it right the first time.  But, live and learn.

     

     

    PS : If you're thinking about building an SBI site, you want to check out thier Holloween special! 

  • Phase One of www.Food-Safety-and-You.com completed...

    Hello again! Once I got the idea of how SBI works, I put together an action plan divided in phases.  Finally, I finished stage 1 a few weeks ago and this week launched into phase 2. Phase 1 goals:

    -          Build all the pages that I originally intended to.  I had a gameplan layout (which SBI teaches you how to do) with about 25 pages initially.  What I came to realize is that each page is it’s own “show”.  While it talks about information related to the web site, it has to stand on it’s own.  It then shows you where you can go (links) within the web page which makes your page “flow” into each other.  But each page is important.  My original plan was to have about 25 pages – but as you’re building, you get new ideas, some which got turned into their own pages and some that I had to put on the shelf until later.  So, what started out as a 25 page goal turned into about 45, but some of them were pretty easy pages.

    -          Have traffic coming to the site and have the search engines like my site.  It took some learning and rethinking, but I was able to find ways to get the google “spiders” to like me.  Again, SBI teaches you how to do it, but it took some tweaking on my end.  As of right now, I’m averaging about 30 visitors a day to the site.  And if you type in “history of food safety” and other words related to my web site (“grocery store food safety” “meat department food safety” and others) I’m in the top 8 for a number of them – not everything, so I’m still working on it, but the google spiders like me!

    So, it was time to start Phase 2.  The first thing I did was go back and play with the layout of my web site.  I didn’t like it.  So I spent a few weeks playing with ideas.  If you haven’t checked out my site recently, check it out: www.Food-Safety-and-You.com.  Make sure to hit F5 on your keyboard – this clears out your computer’s memory of the site.  You’ll see a different look with the header (the graphic above the page), different look to the background, and a look at the navigation bar (nav bar) on the left.  I think it’s much clearer and cleaner.  The content didn’t change, but the overall look did.  Give me your feedback!

    Next step in Phase 2 was to add the “monetization” factor.  I didn’t want this web site scream “Click on ads” like a lot do, but it’s one way that the web site makes money.  It is a business after all.  Until I get some other things in place, like my newsletter and a few other ideas, this is my plan to start making a few extra bucks.  I started placing ads on pages – the hope is that someone who is reading my site will click on an ad; it’s just like renting out space on your building for advertizing.  The difference being that you collect a check up front if they are putting up an ad on your building, here you are waiting for someone to click on an ad while visiting your page.  (So, if you’re checking out my site, please feel free to click on ANY ad you see!  Thanks!)

    The other part of Phase 2 is to ad a story or contribution area… in other words, a place for people to share their stories.  I actually put this up a few weeks ago, and had a few people submit their stories… they are posted here: http://www.food-safety-and-you.com/NightmareStories.html.   And if you want to share your story (we protect the innocent and guilty, but I would appreciate it), please click here: http://www.food-safety-and-you.com/ShareYourStory.html.  I really do appreciate it!

    Anyway, continuing to work on phase 2 and I’ll be working on phase 3 down the road. 

    I want to thank you all for checking out the site and giving me feedback, either here or on the site contact us section.  It’s really helps a lot!

    See ya in a few weeks! 

    PS – If you have been thinking about SBI, you really should check it out!  If you know about something, you could build an SBI site. 

  • Wrapping up the month…

    To be honest, I kind of lost momentum on the web site (www.Food-Safety-and-You.com for anyone who doesn’t know)…Between my “real job” being a pretty busy wrapping up the quarter, and then my desktop computer crashing (thankfully, Carbonite came to the rescue) I lost my momentum on the web site. But I got started again this week. My web site was up for a full month! The class ended the beginning of the month, so I was going to be interested in seeing how traffic numbers ended up.  For those who don’t know, “traffic” is the amount of times people visit your web page. The more people who visit your pages, the more chances you have to become one of the top web sites, and, depending on your web site, might be more money that you make on the site. For September, I averaged 24 visits a day according to the SBI numbers; according to Google, it was more like 28 average visitors per day. Not really sure what to expect, but according to all the training we had, an average of 20 shouldn’t be expected until the third or fourth month of business. So, I guess that’s petty good. What I’m working on is refining some of the pages and starting to work on making some money on the site. My plan is to use the site to sell some creative food safety gifts through Zazzle.com and then do work with Google to put up some marketing on some of the pages. I’m also hoping to do a couple more things down the road, but we’ll see. This will be a business, after all, trying to get some money after all is said and done. I was explaining it to someone about how SBI works, and he stated that he would love to build a web site, but he just didn’t think he could. The thing about SBI… as long as you commit to doing it the way they want you to, you can create a site. It is a lot of work, but it can pay off! SBI does a lot of the marketing and training for you – you can make it as simple as you want, or as complex as you want, but you CAN make a profitable web site if you really commit to it! “OK, enough already” I’m hearing… “SBI is great”… Trust me, it’s a lot of work, but if you’re thinking of creating a second stream of income, and don’t have time to get a second job, this could be a great answer!
  • And Class Is Over… But The Fun Is Still Going...

    It’s been a fast ten weeks  - it’s been absolutely an incredible experience working on www.Food-Safety-and-You.com.  I have spent a lot of time on this blog talking about how SBI works and what I’ve done…  and I’m going to continue to do so!

    Our last class was last week.  Looking back over the last few weeks, it’s been an interesting ride. 

    I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do when I first learned I was going to be participating in this SBI, so I had written a lot of ideas and thought I knew how this was going to work.  I was shocked right off the bat to learn that we didn’t even register a domain name until four or five weeks into the class! 

    But the first few weeks turned out to be a great learning experience – Site Build It taught you HOW the internet works and helped you realize how to take an idea (your topic for your website) and determine if it’s going to be a profitable topic.  The SBI tools and training show you how to analyize what you’re thinking of doing.  This is the first time I ran into problems – my topic, food safety for the public, hit a roadblock.  The SBI tools were saying that there was a TON of demand for a small part of the topic, but it looked like it wouldn’t be the best topic.  So I had a decision to make – do stick with what I wanted to do, or do I change my topic – since I won the SBI scholarship based on the idea of food safety, I stuck with it.  I’m not upset with my decision – even though I bucked the system.  And I’m glad I did – I’m getting good results as I’m putting this together.

    The next steps were to focus on building the site.  I had a lot of ideas already in drafts and some good help getting the text edited, so for me it was learning how to build a website.  Before I started this, I didn’t know how to do anything in HTML.  Now, I know how to program codes, links, and pictures for web pages.  But here’s the beautiful thing – you don’t need to learn that!  In fact, my instructor didn’t really even get as much into learning HTML as I did!  Yet, he’s got 5 different SBI sites out there! 

    If you are thinking about doing a side business, and have the disciple to do a web page on your own (and it is a lot of work, but if done right, it does pay off), then you want to check out SBI.  Anything that you know a lot about can become a web site.  Transferring your knowledge from your hobbies, professional life, experiences, travels, or anything else that you are interested in can turn out to be a very profitable business. 

    As of 10 weeks or so later, I’m up to about 40 pages built on my site: www.Food-Safety-and-You.com.  I’m getting about 30 people a day visiting my site and most of them are finding my site on Google through a search. 

    If you want to learn more or have specific questions, please comment here. 

    I’m going to keep updating the blog every few weeks to let people know how it’s going!

  • Another week, another few pages, another idea…

    Wow… time flies!  I went back and looked at my past few weeks and months and can’t believe that I’ve been able to launch a web site that I hope and pray will become a small business all by itself!

    SBI’s focus is to develop a foundation that you can build on and create a web site business that works, both with your dedication and their systems.  Is it working?  Well, in 7 days, I have 81 different visitors through just the Google search engine; the driving force of most traffic.  When I saw that I nearly had a heart attack.  81 people found me on Google… without me getting everything done.

    One of the differences between SBI and all those other template or one-night success sites is that the SBI program actually teaches you how to help search engines find you; that’s “free” traffic that can grow your web site and business, not stuff that you have to pay someone to come to your site! 

    OK… enough singing the praises of SBI, let me tell you how it’s going.  As of right now, I have 23 pages built and up.  Google has found 15 of them (which means that Google has spidered them and has them at least in the data base).  I’m still writing pages as fast as I can and now I think I’ve figured out what the site will look like and how it “sounds” (how I’m going to present myself).  Thankfully, I have some very helpful friends and family members who help me with reviewing stuff before it goes on the site.  My goal is to have 30 pages built by the end of the class and I think I’ll make it!

    I actually got a little bit behind in the classroom material; I just keep writing stuff for the web site.  But I can tell you that SBI really is everything that a business web site that is based on INFORMATION, not selling needs.  I came in with a little bit of understanding, but if you do the course correctly, and you work on it, you’ll be successful.

    Now, one thing that I’ve learned, it takes a lot more time that I thought it would.  I figured out that I’ve probably spent about 100 hours at this point around life and work to get where I am, and that’s with having some ideas already in place before we started.  That’s a lot of work.  But I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  Learning how to do something right is always worth the time in my book.  And this is a business, after-all.   If you know a business where you get something for not working, besides a political job or grant, let me know!  (but there I go again preaching about SBI)

    OK – there’s a page that Gary and Gill asked me to do…  here it is…  Picnic food safety tips…  http://www.food-safety-and-you.com/PicnicandPotLuckFoodSafety.html .  Check it out when you can!  And if you want to view the home page and see the whole site, check out http://www.food-safety-and-you.com 

    If you haven’t done so for me, please do the survey at www.tinyurl.com/FoodSafetySurvey– it will help me decide how I’m going to do some things.  Thanks!

  • Week 8 - And it starts to come together!!! Oh Boy!

    I figured out something about SBI about two weeks ago:  YOU CAN’T BREAK IT! 

    The only thing you can do is NOT USE IT!

    SBI is set up so that even the most on-line rookie will do fine.  In fact, one of the thing that my instructor, Bernie, says is those who have never done much on the web before usually get a site up faster with SBI than those who come to SBI with experience.  Those with experience want to “tweak” SBI to make it work with what they are experienced with, while those who never have done anything before just follow the instructions!

    Anyway, I’m a combination of both – I realized that I was getting caught up in the details that I really didn’t need to worry about.  So I pressed on.  My site might have a whole new look down the road, but for now, I’m just focusing on the content.

    So, this week we started talking about how to get traffic to the web site in addition to the strategies that SBI does with the search engines.  Pretty cool stuff, but I was more excited about what happened without me knowing about it.

    You see, I had (as of the day of the class) 16 pages total.  Without me doing ANYTHING to let Google know about my site, I was getting traffic… possibly thanks to everyone here who is also checking out my site as we go, but also there were a number of people who “stumbled” on my site.  As of right now, I’m averaging 11 people a day looking at my site!  That’s with my half completed and changing web pages!  Wow!  I was blown away!  SBI works!

    So… what am I doing… in addition to the work that I have done on tweaking the pages currently written (poke around and see how they are looking – I’m really going to recommend that you check this page: http://www.food-safety-and-you.com/HowDoesFoodGoBad.html ) I’m back to writing more pages.

    If you’ve ever thought about building a business website, regardless of your experience, take a close look at SBI.  I’ve been blown away… what I’m learning here will change my strategies and plans for the future!  One of the people who works for SBI told me that “Anyone who is willing to work and knows or wants to know about something can build a successful web site”.  And I believe that is true!

    Thanks for poking around – my home page is http://www.food-safety-and-you.com.  If you haven’t done so, please do my quick survey at www.tinyurl.com/FoodSafetySurvey.This is helping me put together my plans for down the road!

    Until next week!


     


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