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What You Really Need To Know About Your Food

  • Week 7 - and it starts to come together.


    Wow – I’ve had a fun couple weeks and the work is finally paying off!

    I’m one of these people who once they start something, they like to get it as right as they can (or as right as they can for that minute) and then move on to something else, so I ended up spending a lot more time that I wanted to with my home page for the web site: www.food-safety-and-you.com.  First, I didn’t like the graphics that I was using – they were too complicated and confusing, although cool.  The problem was that I was using old publishing software that would “scramble” my layout when I moved it over to SBI.  So, after playing with it for a few hours, I went into the “forum” which is a online community help area of SBI, and read through a number of suggestions.  Finally, one person suggested free graphic software which I downloaded and was able to figure out how to make it work!  And NOW I had a page that I liked a lot more!

    The next step was to start making the text of the home page look much more appealing to the eye.  When you hit a home page, unless it’s exactly what you’re looking for, people tend to “scan” quickly.  So I wanted to be able to let people’s eyes catch things that would make them stop and spend some time on the page. 

    Again, I went through the training classes, but there wasn’t a lot about some of the things that I figured I could do, so I went into the forums again.  Again, a lot of help there, and I also found some web sites that would help me too.  The next thing I know, I’m actually understanding HTML, which I must say is NOT what I expected to be able to do EVER!  It’s not that complicated once you understand the through process.  So, NOW I have a home page that I think works a lot better!  If you haven’t checked it out, please do so!  Again, I’ll take any comments.

    Now I started building pages.  Even before the class began, I started writing pages – I cheated, but you have to understand that this have been a goal of mine for years, so I had pages written in my head and rough drafts everywhere.  So I organized them and started building the pages.  It’s pretty cool and not that hard.  SBI has a way of making you build pages “block-by-block” so you understand and make the spiders and people “like” you.  SBI also checks your layout and gives you the best practice ideals so that the spiders who help you get traffic find you!  Between understanding and building the pages, with a little bit of HTML, my web site was starting to “breathe”.

    Now, it’s not done by any means.  Not all the pages are up, so some of the links aren’t set up yet and I’m still formatting the pages as I get a chance to look at them.  I didn’t follow the template that SBI suggested because I didn’t know what I wanted these pages to look like yet, but the template is becoming more and more useful now that I know what they should look like!

    So, the adventure continues and we’re finally getting a product to show!  SBI and my instructor, Bernie has been a great resource – what’s been interested to watch in the class is how those who came in with limited or no knowledge of the web and building a web site seem to be right on track with the plan, while those in the class who had a background in web design and marketing get hung up on the details and stall the process (a little bit anyway).  If you’ve never built a web site before, and want a serious one that will make you money, then SBI is the way to go – if you have built web sites, take off that old experience hat and walk in with a fresh approach and you’ll learn a lot!

    Anyway, this has been a lot of work but it’s amazing and how SBI teaches you. 

    I welcome comments – good and bad.  Check out my site: www.food-safety-and-you.com.  Let me know what you think (remember that the site isn’t finished so not all the links are there yet, but coming).

    Also, if you haven’t done my survey yet, I would appreciate you taking a few minutes to do it.  It’s helping me determine how the site will eventually end up going towards.  Check it out here: www.tinyurl.com/FoodSafetySurvey

    Until next week (or so)!



  • Week Six... Something people can see!

     Oh Boy! got to start building!

    Actually, It’s been a crazy week.  My father decided to fall off a ladder while working on his house.  He was in the hospital for a few days with problems.  So, that was distracting.  I’m also traveling for work this full week and next so I have to be living out of hotels and my car right now.

    But, enough about “life”, here’s what’s going on with the web site.  I’m at the point in the class where we start to make the site!  This is where I thought we would be on week one, but a month later is when we started.  The point is, SBI teaches you a foundation to build on – if you understand how the web works then you can build on it.  So, moving slower than I wanted to initially, but what I have learned is so much better than I expected.

    So, once I registered my domain name – www.Food-Safety-And-You.com (which my instructor Bernie suggested), I get access to the tools that SBI uses to make the web site… I got to say it’s pretty cool!  SBI gives you tools that you can use to build your site on your own (yeah right) or you can use the templates that they give you (which are pretty simple but professional), or a combination of the two.  I played around with it, but with time constraints, I chose to stick with a basic template that I could modify – I’ll come back to playing with all the tools later.

    So now it’s building time.  I got the home page up and I am heading to start to building more pages.  I want to still tweak the site as I need to.  

    I would love comments or suggestions – please respond or comment to this blog below and I’ll read them… any ideas, comments, suggestions, or just tell me to jump in the lake if you want me to!  I appreciate it.

    If you have a minute and haven’t done so yet for me, please fill out my survey: www.tinyurl.com/FoodSafetySurvey  It should take a few minutes and it will help me deciding which way I want to go with the web site.

    It’s been a fun ride and I’m looking forward to the coming weeks!

  • Week 5 – I think…

    Oh, I am so embarrassed!  I missed lesson 4!  I just plain skipped it!  I don’t know how or anything.

    Thankfully, I caught it before Wednesday night, the night of my class.  So I did Lesson 4, as we say in the restaurant business, “on the fly”.

    Lesson four is about how you are going to set your web site up to MAKE money… gee, that’s the point I guess.  But what is interesting with the SBI program is that you plan to make money, but you don’t make that your number one goal; I’ve worked on creating web sites where the whole focus was just to make money – so we started out with that in mind.  But SBI is right: those who build their web site to make money only, usually have to “buy” their traffic – either by purchasing ads on Google, buying lists, etc – and they might even go for a long time before it pays off.  SBI starts with Content (the info that people want), which drives Traffic (life blood of a successful website – PEOPLE LOOKING AT THE SITE), then you Pre-Sell (Give your viewers confidence that you know what you are doing, and have something valuable to them to take advantage of not shove down their throat), and finally, Monetize – MAKE money!

    So, anyway, lesson 4 is about how to make money.  I spent a hour looking at successful SBI sites – I was amazed to see all the different ways to make money that they incorporate.  For me, I am going to do Adsence (working with Google to put ads into the web site), I am going to promote my speaking engagements, and I am going to work on developing affiliate selling of books that match up with my focus.  During the class, I also got an idea for another way to sell involving membership site, but I’m not sure how that’s going to work out yet.  So, I am asking for everyone’s help here!

    If you read this, would you please do me a favor and take a quick survey for me… it’s 10 questions and you don’t have to register or anything… I just need some feedback.  I thought it would be a good way to gauge to help me with figuring out what people want in a web site like mine.

    Here’s the link – I appreciate it!:  http://tinyurl.com/FoodSafetySurvey

    I was able to refine my home page homework (that was due this week, not last week) and my instructor gave me some feedback – I tell you what, I’ve learned more for this guy Bernie than I thought!  And we’re not even ½ through yet!

    Thanks for helping me out with the survey!  I appreciate it!

  • Week Three - Decision time...

     Week 3 – Decision time…

    Well, it came down to a choice…

    I had received this opportunity on the premise of focusing on food safety – specifically, putting together my “dream” of having a web site that allows the public to understand and know more about how to keep their food safe and what they aren’t told about the food.

    However, as I explained in a previous blog, I couldn’t find the “ideal” numbers that SBI was saying I should have… so it was stick with the original idea or find something else…  which was a harder decision that I thought.

    I came across an article by Ken Envoy, the founder of SBI, who talked about some who put together a successful web site just because he believed in the topic and understood it, even though the numbers didn’t show it.  The site grew to be successful down the road… despite what the initial numbers said.  The gentleman knew his topic and believed in it, and created a niche of his own.  

    That settled it… I was going to stick with my original idea.

    Now we started to lay out the plan of how the web site pages were going to fit together – I put together an initial plan, but I quickly learned that this is a initial plan when I found I wanted to change it right off the bat – I started adding more pages and details and things started to come together.

    The next step was to find the perfect domain name.  I’m still working on this… I want to get feedback from Bernie first.  It was an interesting theory on domain names.   SBI doesn’t focus on the most “pretty” domain names- they suggest a domain that is more functional and pretty.  And it obviously helps – some of the SBI sites are some of the most viewed in the world!
    I also started working on the content for the web site (finally).  Remember, I thought this was the first thing that we needed to get done, but SBI wanted to create a foundation of knowledge before getting into writing.

    Looking forward to the next class to get some answers!

  • Week 2 with SBI…

    One thing that I have learned about SBI is the basics must be in place.  When you build a house, you need a good plan and foundation to build a successful house; the same is the focus of SBI sites.  

    I wanted to race ahead and start writing pages, get a web site domain name, etc right off the bat, but these week has proven why it is so important.  This week, we started using a tool that SBI has called Brainstormer.  In a nutshell, this tool helps determine what topics would work best and possibly make more money for your site.  SBI is about building a business versus a pretty site.  

    So, basically, I entered my topic that I want to do into the Brainstormer and it searches all of the popular sites and data info and lets me know how it thinks those topics will do on the web.  It points out how many people are looking for that kind of info, how much info is out there, and it projects if you could make money on the topic/keyword.  

    So I ran three topics as our instructor asked – all three seemed to be a little bit “lower” in popularity than the “recommended” topics, but I was surprised to learn and see that my focus topic, food safety, did WORSE than the other two topics.  To be honest, it frustrated me.  Maybe I’m barking up the wrong tree.

    But the cool thing about SBI is that I’ve got a coach, Bernie, who suggested that I run a different test in Brainstormer (one that we would usually do the next week); with that, I found more and more results for various topics dealing with food safety – which made me feel a little bit better.

    My conclusion at this point – I’m still sticking to Food Safety as my main topic, but I’ll have wanted to tailor my individual content pages to some of the other keywords/topics generated by brainstormer.  But I’m also keeping my thoughts wrapped around the other two topics that I tested.

    I heard an analogy on the radio this week about web sites and I had to agree.  “A web site is like putting your sign in a forest of thousands of trees.”  And that’s very true.  Last week when Bernie pointed out that ugly “poem” site, I was not impressed, but the fact that it is built with a good foundation and has people coming to that tree, it makes money regardless of the appearance of the web site.  

  • Week One - Intro to SBI...

     I wasn’t able to start the classes for the first round that they offered me because of a personal commitment, so the start of my SBI experience was delayed by about two weeks.  Wednesday night, we had our first class.

    I made a commitment to myself that I was going to fly through this program; however, as I was starting to do the lessons that SBI sends out, it was clear that SBI didn’t want us to go ahead to quickly.  The two weeks before I was finally able to get into the class, I had spent writing notes, articles, and doing research – heck, I had even started to think about domain names…  I thought I knew exactly what I was going to be asked to do.

    However, once I had the registration stuff for SBI and had a chance to go through everything, I realized that I was moving way to fast.  In fact, SBI told me that I should NEVER be moving ahead like this.  

    You see, SBI lays a foundation of basic understanding of the web pages, e-commerce, and how the most successful websites work BEFORE you begin to actually create “content” (web site information).   The instructor told us to stay with him, not go ahead.

    The first class was what I would call a “Get TO Know You” class.  Bernie, my instructor, and all the students who are in the class (or at least on the call that night), got together on the conference call and talked about their goals and experiences.  It was a lot of fun, I have to admit.  

    My biggest “WOW” moment during the class is when Bernie showed us a website about poems .  The site looked like &#$!  No bells and whistles.  But Bernie explained that it was one of the top web sites because the “spiders” from Google would come to the site and “liked it” so they link to it more and more.  It makes sense – spiders can’t see the cool graphics and such on most web sites.

    Since the class, I have done the other homework, but I also have been doing some random searches on Google just to see what and who is in the lead for different key words – there is a reason why the spiders like these sites.  If you do a generic keyword like “Camping” you’ll find a lot – but there is a reason why the spiders chose those in the top ranked sites over others.

    So, now that I’ve had to slow down and do everything different, I’m analyzing things differently than I used to both on the web and in my goals and dreams.

    I’ll keep everyone updated on how next week goes – we get more into the philosophy behind how SBI works.  

  • Hello! This is going to be interesting and fun!

    So, I'm going to use this blog to let people know how it goes with SBI and how my site comes together...  I'll also discuss my topic along the way - feedback will be appreciated!

    A little bit about me... I live in Littleton, CO, a suburb of Denver.  I'm married and have three girls, ages 8, 5, and 3.  When I was looking at creating a web site income, my goal was to come up with a long term business web site that could generate income to help get them through college.

    My "full time" job is as a food safety educator/consultant.  I work with a national company that consults with hotels, grocery stores, and restaurants in all 50 states and Canada for food safety.  I spend my days working with clients who are serious about improving or maintaining a level of safe food handling to keep their customers and business safe.  

    I have a background similar to that of a health department inspector, but I also have a culinary degree and ran restaurants for a few years, including being a chef and general manager.  So I also have an insider's perspective into working with the restaurant business.

    The focus of the web site that I'm going to be working with SBI on is to educate the average consumer about what they should be looking for from the locations that they frequent - their own grocery store, restaurant or hotel.  My goal will to be to educate the average person about what are serious signs of food mishandling and problems and what are not.  

    If you go on line, you will see a lot of business to business training for the food service industry, and you will also see a lot of home food safety (which I'm planning on touching on), but there is very little education on what the consumer ACTUALLY needs to look for.  Hence the name of this blog: What You Really Need To Know About Your Food

    So, anyway, enough about what I'm thinking - I'll keep this blog updated on how the SBI site comes along... I hope you all will check out the web site when I get it going.  

    Right now, I have registered for the next 12 course that SBI offers and my first class is July 1st... in the meantime, I'm kind of organizing all the thoughts that I've had in the past about what I was going to do if I have the chance to work with SBI.  I basically just created a file in my computer where I can put ideas and thoughts, no matter how random, where I can start to organize myself.  

    So, I'll update this down the road!  

    Thanks to Dollar Stretcher and Gary for giving me this opportunity!


    Matt Lichlyter


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