The Basics of SEO Every Business Should Know

SEO is a term that gets thrown around a lot… and frankly, many business professionals don’t fully understand the meaning and relevance that SEO has for their business.

In fact, we see it often – lots of business owners and company employees dump a lot of money into SEO and don’t really see the results they want.

Rest assured, this doesn’t have to be your experience…

Your SEO Success Starts With Understanding What SEO Is

Before your business can grow and thrive on the back of SEO, it’s really important that you understand what it is and how it benefits your business — sales specifically. 

Everything starts with understanding what SEO is.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. 

To break this down, the goal of search engine optimization — SEO — is for your business to be easily found when people search industry related topics, services, or products. And the only way you’re going to accomplish that is by making sure you speak the same language as search engines (Google, Bing, Duck Duck Go, etc.). 

Basics of SEO and Keywords in Headings
Do you know where to place your keywords for the greatest impact in SEO for your website?

Speaking the same language as the search engines allows Google and other engines to work with you — not against you.

This is a BIG DEAL for your business. 

If you want to be found online (which we’re guessing you do), you want to make sure you speak the search engine language. 

Basics of SEO Designed to Move Your Company Forward
Creating a plan to use search engines to drive traffic opens up an entirely new type of lead — one that isn’t based upon people remembering to refer work to you, but rather, you actively marketing your business to new audiences who have, most likely, never heard of you.

Making SEO Count for Your Business (Don’t Waste Time)

There are a lot of details you can get caught up in when it comes to SEO… believe us, we know. 

As a business owner, not only do you not have the time to play in the weeds, and good news for you, there’s really only a couple of areas to be aware of to ensure you’re tapping into the power of SEO for your business. 

The first area to be aware of is actually asking a question: “how is your website driving generating new leads that turn into sales?” Is your website designed to move your company forward?

Let’s start with how your website is driving business for you… in other words, is your website set up in a way that’s actually pushing you and your company forward?

Most business websites generate referral leads. A current or past client had a great experience, tells a friend or colleague about your company, and that friend or colleague visits your website and fills out the contact form. Not much different than word of mouth and business cards.

Creating a plan to use search engines to drive traffic opens up an entirely new type of lead — one that isn’t based upon people remembering to refer work to you, but rather, you actively marketing your business to new audiences who have, most likely, never heard of you.

More leads outside of your current network can lead to more business and ultimately grow your company to a preferred future.

Your SEO plan starts with identifying the subjects, topics, and questions that capture the heart of what your business does — and putting content on your website directly related to what you identify.

But before you get to work creating content there is a bit of information you need to know to make sure you’re creating the right content.

Let’s break down the two different types of SEO.

The Two Types of SEO You Need to Know About

Not all SEO is the same. While there are more ‘micro’ categories of SEO that we won’t get into in this piece, there are only two main types of SEO that most businesses need to focus on.

Local SEO and non-local SEO.

Which one is most important to you? Keep reading to find out.

Local SEO

Local SEO is vital for brick and mortar companies – those with store fronts. If that’s you, then you need to have a local SEO strategy. 

Local SEO starts with something called citations. Citations are essentially mentions of your business across various platforms, indexes, and directories.

Citations are the backbone of a solid SEO strategy. Get your citations right and you will see results.

So how do you get a citation right? It’s easy… when you create a listing anywhere (Facebook, Yelp, Google, any directory) it must include:

  • Business Name
  • Business Website
  • Business Address
  • Business Phone Number

The important part of these citations is they are IDENTICAL across all platforms. 

If you abbreviate Road to Rd in your address on one, do it for all. 

If you say Suite #101 in one listing, use the same format for all listings.

You may already be listed on the big sites — Google, Yelp, Bing, Facebook, etc — so audit those listings and make sure the citations are identical from platform to platform.

This one detail will improve your authority with search engines. The consistency confirms that your business as listed on website A is the same business appearing on website B and will improve your overall SEO ranking. 

Non Local SEO

While local SEO is largely everything that takes place off of your website (directories and listings) non-local SEO is a combination of on-site, off-site work you do to rank higher in searches that are unrelated to geography.

For businesses that do not have a physical storefront and, for the most part, can conduct business across city and state lines, non-local SEO is where you will spend nearly all of your time.

If you have a business that falls into this category, your journey to SEO success starts with identifying keywords that relate to your business.

Basics of SEO and Keywords
A keyword is simply a phrase or question potential clients use when searching for solutions that your business provides

What Is A Keyword?

As it relates to SEO, a keyword is a word or combination of words to create a phrase that people use when conducting a search using a search engine like Google or Bing. In addition to a main keyword, you will also have synonym keywords. These are keywords or phrases that are similar in nature to your main keyword or directly related to the larger topic of your main keyword.

What phrases or questions are potential clients using when searching for solutions that your business provides? 

So let’s look at a tangible example to give you an idea of what we mean.

Let’s say you have an online ecommerce shop that sells replacement auto parts. You might find that specific keywords someone could be using related to your industry would be something like: 

“Toyota touch screen digitizer”

When someone searches “Toyota touch screen digitizers” you want your website to come up at the top of the search — ideally, this would translate into sales for your business.

So how do you rank at the top of this search and other searches similar to it?

In short, the content on your site needs to provide authoritative information on the topic keyword of “Toyota touch screen digitizer” and answer any questions a user may have related to that particular unit. 

Why Choosing the Right Keywords Matter

Identifying the right keyword and synonym keywords for a specific topic is important to you because you want to create content for the terms actually being searched for. We’re not talking about stuffing blog posts with the same keyword over and over… that won’t get you very far. We are talking about providing quality content on a very specific topic.

If you want specific results, get specific in your content.

For our Toyota touch screen digitizer keyword, we will want to create a single page or post on our website that incorporates the keyword in in the following ways:

  • What you need to know about a Toyota touch screen digitizer.
  • What is a touch screen digitizer?
  • Replacing your Toyota touch screen digitizer.
  • Where to buy a replacement touch screen digitizer for Toyotas
  • Do you have a broken Toyota touch screen? Chances are it is the touch screen digitizer that needs to be replaced.
  • How to repair a Toyota touch screen digitizer.

This communicates to search engines that the content on your page is a good match for people inputting the search query “Toyota touch screen digitizer” and they will most likely find what they are looking for on your website.

The number one goal of any search engine is to find the best, most relevant results for every user — this keeps users coming back to that search engine over and over again because they routinely are able to find what they are looking for.

When Google determines that your content is providing answers, they increase your ranking, elevate your search result, and factor it all into how they treat your website as a whole across more searches.

The higher you rank in search, the more website visitors. The more website visitors, the greater potential there is to create a match with a new client… this drives your sales!

What keywords do you need to rank for?

Basics of SEO and Making It Work
Start by identifying what keywords matter most to your business and then move on to creating an outline of “if I were to talk about everything I know related to this keyword, what would that talk include?”

Anyone Can Make SEO Work For Them

Whether you are the business owner, a marketing employee, or an entrepreneurial minded individual just wanting to learn more about making SEO work for you there is good news… anyone can get search engine results!

Pay attention to the basics. 

Learn the language of search engines (headings, titles, descriptions, alt titles, etc)

Optimize your image dimensions

Optimize your image file sizes

Optimize your image naming

Write for humans, not for robots

Be comprehensive

Create backlinks to your content

Just looking at that list can feel overwhelming — it is a lot to consider. Don’t let it get you down. Start by identifying what keywords matter most to your business and then move on to creating an outline of “if I were to talk about everything I know related to this keyword, what would that talk include?”

With that piece in place and a passion for what you do you are in good shape to produce content that search engines will eat up. If in doubt, bring in an expert to help. That could be in an advisory role, an administrative or writing role, or an agency that can run from start to finish with the project.

As long as you understand the basics of SEO (everything we’ve covered is truly the basics) and practice these simple tactics, making SEO work for you and your business will help you get there. 

My .com is Taken! How to Choose the Best Domain Name Alternative

You have worked hard to come up with the perfect business name; your next step is to see if the .com is taken or, if by some providence from on high, it is still available. Before even searching, you already have a feeling that the .com is not going to be available.

You visit your favorite domain name registrar, type in your business name and you see the message, “Sorry, yourdomain.com is already taken.” It’s kind of what you expected, but it’s still a bit deflating because now you have to begin the process of thinking of another domain.

It’s a major bummer to finally land on a business name only to find that the .com is already taken.

But wait, that domain name registrar has offered up a bunch of alternative domain name extensions. There is a .net, a .org, a .us, a .info and probably over a dozen other suggestions. So the question now is, “If the .com is taken, what is the next best domain name extension?”

Getting your domain name right is important and in this article you will learn how to walk through the process of either coming up with a .com that is still available and will work for your business or selecting a .net, .me, .us, or any one of the other options that are still available.

At the end of the article, the question that we will answer is, is using something other than a .com domain name an acceptable alternative in today’s online business landscape and is there a next best alternative to the .com?

What You Need to Know About The .com Extension And SEO

Having a .com for your business name is the holy grail of domain names. However, did you know that it doesn’t actually have any technical or analytical impact or advantage for your website? Each domain name extension has a general association with it, but as far as giving you a better ranking in Google, there really isn’t evidence that having the actual .com promotes your site over an equal competitor.

Historically, the .com stands for a website meant for commercial intent or a commerce enterprise. Obviously, it’s become synonymous with the internet at large, it’s the most common domain name extension, and it is the most recognized. But as far as having the most influence on where your website ranks in searches, there is no weight given to the .com extension.

Now, having a domain name that contains the term you want to rank for, yes, that does play some part in rankings. After all, if you want to rank for movies, and you own movies.com, there’s not a whole lot of words better in your website url than movies. However, you could have movies.com, movies.org, movies.net, movies.info, movies.us, or movies.me and technically speaking, they would all be on an even playing field based on domain name alone.

You probably already know this, but for those who do not, the next most popular extension is going to be .org and historically, .org is meant for non-profit organizations. After .org, you have .net, which historically has been associated with net infrastructure companies like Comcast or Cox. To round out the top six, you have .mil which is for military, .gov which is for government, and lastly .edu which is explicitly for education.

  • .com
  • .org
  • .net
  • .mil
  • .gov
  • .edu

In the late 2000s, new domain name extensions started to be made available, and today, new domain name extensions are slated for release every year. Some of the new domain names you can purchase include:

  • .church
  • .media
  • .cafe
  • .us
  • .me
  • .info
  • .biz
  • .io
  • .shop
  • .online

Again, that’s just a few. Do a quick search for “domain name extension release calendar” and you will find dozens of new domains scheduled to be released in the coming calendar year.

When the .com is taken, many business owners will take a look at .org and .net because they are the second and third most commonly recognized domains. But what if you’re not a non-profit organization or you’re not a net infrastructure company? Are those options off limits?

Can I Use A .org or .net Domain Name If I’m Not A Non-Profit Or Internet Service Provider?

So if .net and .org are the best alternatives, it does make sense to want to use them for your business, at least so far as they will be easy to remember and easily recognizable.

So can you if you’re not a non-profit or a net infrastructure company? The short answer is yes, you can.

There are no regulators, no government politicians, no special interest groups that are scouring the internet just waiting for a business like yours to register an incorrect domain name extension so they can pounce on you and take you down. This is especially good with all those new extensions becoming available. You don’t have to be a coffee house to use the .cafe domain name extension. Rejoice!

This is not an opinion piece, however. As someone who has worked in the online world for nearly 15 years, I would say that very rarely do I see a business that is a for profit using the .org extension. While you will be able to find plenty of organizations and businesses using .net, .org typically remains a sought after domain for true nonprofits. Nothing’s stopping you from using a .org for your for profit business, but it’s not something you’ll find many others doing.

Are The Newer Domain Name Extensions Just As Good As .com, .org, And .net?

One of the best features many domain name registrars offer is actually showing you other domain name extensions or providing you with alternative versions of the .com that you were trying to buy but is already taken. You’ll see several very short extensions such as .co, .me, or .cc as options. These extensions are less desirable, however, you have probably started to notice more and more of these domains being used for newer websites, online services, and shopping sites. If you can’t get yourbusinessnam.com, is there any reason why you wouldn’t want to use some of these alternatives?

Sites like GoDaddy will give you filters to help find an alternative domain name using your preference for extension.

A simple search on GoDaddy will render a dozen or more alternative suggestions if your ideal domain is taken. Some of the alternative extensions that are new since 2012 would be .co, .me or .cc. These extensions are less popular and you’ll most likely find that while that perfect .com isn’t available, the .co, .me or .cc is available. Is there any reason why you wouldn’t use these extensions to secure that perfect business name?

One word of caution, if you do choose to use a lesser known domain name, try and choose one that can’t be confused with the big three, particularly .co.

When your domain name is yourbusinessname.co, it is very likely that some who are typing in your domain will mistake .co for .com, thinking that the m was accidentally left off. It’s a small thing, and they’ll most likely be able to put the pieces together when they realize that .com is not your business. However, do you want to risk that they can put the pieces together?

If it’s imperative that you have your ideal domain name, just minus the .com, scroll through the list of alternatives that domain name registrars will offer up. Sometimes, they’ll have a very creative alternative.

The Simple Truth About Domain Name Alternatives

There are three truths that you need to know about as you make a decision on what your domain name will be and which extension you want to use.

You Should Choose .com First

The first truth is .com is still, and for the foreseeable future will be, the most desirable domain name extension. If you can secure a .com for your business with your perfect name or a variant of your perfect name, that should be your first option. This is the best practice for domain names, and unless you have a good reason why a variant of your perfect .com won’t work for you, it should be your choice.

If You Don’t Use .com It’s Not The End Of The World

The second truth is that in nearly all scenarios, your domain name or domain extension will not make or break your business. Being awesome, providing value, and having sought after products and services is what will make or break your business.

Don’t blame your domain name when you don’t garner as much traffic as you thought you would. Don’t point to the domain name when your business doesn’t take off the way you thought it should. The domain name is one piece of the puzzle and just like getting a .com doesn’t ensure success, anything other than .com doesn’t doom you from the start.

Domain Names And Search Engine Optimization

Finally, as mentioned above, your domain name will have an impact on your search results to a certain extent. If you are a New York sandwich shop and you can secure newyorksandwichshop.com that will play a factor into people searching for New York sandwich shops. If newyorksandwichshop.com is already taken, maybe consider newyorksandwiches.com and if that’s taken, try newyorksandwich.com.

If all those are taken and you still want New York Sandwiches to be in your name, then explore a domain like newyorksandwichshop.us. The SEO juice isn’t in the .com or .us, it is found in the newyorksandwichshop.

Then there are instances when your domain name itself will not help your business. For instance, if you like Johnny Cupcakes and your domain has nothing to do with cupcakes, you won’t find yourself ranking for cupcake searches because your site won’t talk about cupcakes.

Check out JohnnyCupcakes.com to see what I mean.

Just Tell Me, Am I Okay Buying Something Other Than A .com?’

Don’t kill the messenger – there is one more thing you should know before the final answer on alternative domains when yours is taken.

Your domain will be attached to a domain name history and search history.

Why does this matter?

Let’s say you wanted ceramiccoffeemugs.com but your .com was taken. So you purchase perfectcoffeemugs.us and begin building your online business using that domain. Every month that goes by, every product you add, every time someone shares a link to your site, and every time you publish a new blog post, you are building your domain rating and developing a domain ranking. You are building a rapport with search engines like Google.

In the same way you can build a good rapport and healthy domain, you can also build a bad rapport and have a domain name that is penalized.

Websites will be given unofficial healthgrades, and when business owners implement bad practices trying to trick search engines, they are found out and penalized.

When you commit to your domain name, don’t plan on changing it. Don’t plan on purchasing the .com down the road and switching everything over. If it comes to that point, great, but commit to building up your domain name health and building a strong reputation online with search engines and with users.

Overtime you will develop a domain rating, ranking, and overall SEO profile. It is a very big deal to switch your domain and should be done with GREAT CARE!

If the opportunity to purchase the .com of your domain name arises, talk about it with a SEO expert and decide if it’s worth the cost of transitioning. Do your research on the new domain and be in agreement with those whom you’re trusting for advice on the transition.

Just Tell Me What I Should Buy If My .com Is Taken

Your .com is the criteria you should use as you choose what to buy as an alternative.

  1. Your domain name should be easy to remember
  2. Your domain name should be clear over clever (don’t go with gr8successonline.com)
  3. Your domain name should be proper spelling if possible
  4. Prioritize getting a .com
  5. Look at what is available as a .net if you are unhappy with all .com options
  6. Look at .cc, .biz, .io, or .us as your next option
  7. Avoid .co because people will think it’s supposed to be .com

Once you buy your business domain, commit to it. Don’t switch domains four months into your website. Commit to the domain you bought and begin investing in the domain name quality. Create great content, submit your website sitemap to Google. Publish regularly and build a good reputation with search engines. What you publish on your website will be the determining factor for whether or not your online presence sinks or swims – not your domain name.

Even after this article, it’s quite possible that you still have questions. If you would like to bounce a few ideas off of our team, we would love to hear from you. You can send us a message through our contact form just letting us know what you’re considering. It would be our pleasure to give you some insight into how we would approach the situation and hopefully give you a greater level of confidence moving forward with your purchase.

Do not let your domain name anxiety prevent you from getting your business online. Get your site launched ASAP and start the building process.

How to Make A Splash Page Website

The moment a business owner makes the decision (or gives the go ahead) to create a new business website, or upgrade the site that’s been a ‘placeholder’ for the last 10 years, the first step is often to make a list of what the site will need before the launch. You start thinking through your products, your services, your staff, your contact information, your social media, and more. Now that you’re on board with the idea of investing in a strong online presence, the last thing you really want is a page that says, “Under Construction.” The good news is that the days of the flashing red lights and the yellow and black road barrier illustrations are gone.

In this post you will discover how to make a splash page website and why it is the best option for many business leaders who want to immediately begin reaping the rewards that come with caring about how your business is perceived online.

Example of a maintenance page version of a splash page website

While a maintenance page is acceptable for when your website is down for, well, maintenance, this type of page misses on all accounts as a long-term page solution.

Everything You Want Live On Your Website at Launch

Going back to the list you’ve made, you will probably want your new site to launch with a combination of the following:

  • About our company page
  • Contact information page
  • Home page (duh)
  • 5-10 blog entries (for SEO, right?)
  • A well done welcome video
  • Products or services page (obviously)

In years past, the process for creating a temporary website to serve as a quality placeholder while you build the full scale would have both been the same. The cost might have been a bit lower for the temporary website, but the process of working with a web company to bring that temporary site online would have been very close to the same.

Long gone are the days of having to make the choice of launching a full scale web design project or attempting to build your own website using Geo Cities. Today there is a simple solution known as a splash page website and gives you the ability to create a simple, one-page website with all the essential information so you can be useful to customers right away as well as providing search engines content to begin scraping and serving up in their search results.

How to Make A Splash Page

So what is a splash page website? A splash page website is essentially a single page website that contains the most basic information about your business or brand. Rather than your website visitors being met with a “this site will be live soon” construction page (or a domain holding page like the GoDaddy example below), visitors will have access to the essential details of your business, allowing them to confirm you are a real entity and provide them with what they need in order to contact you about your products or services.

Mockup of GoDaddy's standard splash page website for all new domains

GoDaddy creates a placeholder ‘webpage’ for all new domains registered with their service. This is their version of a splash page website.

How to start a splash page website comes down to adding the following content to one single page:

  • Your name
  • Your business name
  • A subtitle of what you do
  • Your logo (if you have one)
  • Your physical address (if you have one)
  • Your mailing address (if necessary)
  • Your email address or contact form
  • A photo of you, your business building or your team
  • A brief statement about what you do

That’s it. A well planned, well designed splash page at your domain URL you can begin sending clients, leads and visitors to your website knowing that they will discover an accurate picture of who you are, what you do, how you help people and how they can work with you.

Business owners are asked all the time, “What’s your website?” they’ll respond with something along the lines of, “well, I will be able to make it live once I finish writing several blogs, record our welcome video, have professional headshots taken and list all our products and services.”

Accomplishing all this “stuff” can take four to six months to accomplish – not because it should but because that’s just what happens. In some cases, it will take years. Or worse, never launch.

If you want to see an example of a website that launched relatively quickly, you can look at Blue Fox Branding. Their website is relatively small, however, the time and effort put into doing the strategy and design right put the launch of the site at 120 days. A new company like BFB couldn’t afford to wait 120 days to start sharing their website. Most businesses can’t.

When you decide to create a splash page website for your business, you get ahead of the competition still waiting for things to be in place.

The Website Launch Heard Around the World

You might be wondering if splash page websites are so great, why haven’t you heard of the concept more?

Splash pages aren’t as widely used as they should be. In our experience clients will often have what our team calls a “website launch heard around the world” mentality. This essentially means that there is a belief that as soon as you click a big “GO LIVE” button, thousands of visitors will immediately bombard your website, clamoring for the content you’ve created.

This is rarely the case – and by rarely, we mean RARELY. However, let’s just pretend that this is how it happens… just for the sake of my next point.

If you believe that hundreds of visitors every day, thousands every week, will come to your site as soon as you launch, you wouldn’t be able to handle the traffic.

Why?

Because you’ve probably skimped on a decent web hosting plan. You probably have tried to find the cheapest hosting plan available and are paying something like $4 a month to share a server with 998 other websites. If your site launched to thousands of visitors, your host would be crippled, providing slow load times and driving people away by the hundreds.

See this post on selecting a web server on my personal blog.

Or, let’s take another angle. Let’s say that you click “GO LIVE” and thousands of visitors in one month come to visit. If that were the case, why wouldn’t you launch your site sooner with a splash page? Wouldn’t you want to capitalize on the weeks or months of traffic with a splash page website rather than waiting for a full scale launch?

Back to reality – your site will not launch to thousands. It won’t launch to hundreds. Chances are there is a completely different launch scenario that you haven’t considered but is more realistic for you.

The Real Story of How Your Website Will Launch

You are excited about the launch of your new website, and you should be. Your employees and teammates are probably excited too, and they should be.

But outside of your company, very few people are waiting for your website to launch. Unless you ran a successful marketing campaign or a crowdfunding campaign (see the Coolest cooler) and your new fans are eager to learn more about you and your company, you won’t have a significant source of traffic for when your site launches.

You are brand new to the online marketplace – even if you’ve had a website in the past, you’re just now getting serious about utilizing the online space. You may be a brick-and-mortar marketplace, maybe even going on decades of business, but to the online world, you are new.

When you launch your new website it’s most likely that each of the following will be true:

  • People who have caught wind of your name, through referrals and recommendations, will find your website when they search your name.
  • In your next email to clients, you’ll announce that your business has a new website and 10-18% of those who open your message will visit your site for a few seconds.
  • You will share your new website with friends, family, colleagues and on social media, giving you a few dozen, maybe even a couple hundred visits in the first month.

That’s it. That’s the reality of what a business website launch looks like in the modern day when done without a major launch campaign behind it.

 

How to Incorporate Blog Entries Into a Splash Page Website Launch

Perhaps now that you are more acquainted with the idea of a splash page website, you’re on board with the idea but you really need to launch with a few blog posts and maybe some additional content… not a problem at all.

If you must launch with blog posts, then you want at least one post to cover each topic you will discuss on your website – or one for each product/service. The concept of one blog post for each product or service provides enough strategic direction for your company blog without overcomplicating the process of launching a splash page website.

In fact, the first site for Shrein Media was a single page where we focused a few blog posts on web, social media, and email marketing.

Shrein Media example of a one-page website

Shrein Media’s first website was a single page with all essential information.

You will be able to write additional blog posts in the future, but for your splash page website you want to focus on only the most essential posts and place the rest of your attention on launching your full-scale website!

How to Actually Create a Splash Page Website

So let’s talk about the practical steps now for how to launch a splash page website.

First and foremost, you need to pick your website builder. What builder are you going to use? Here are a few options:

  • WordPress (we’ll cover steps in launching via WordPress below)
  • Squarespace (our recommendation if you’re not going to use WordPress and the company developing your full-scale website isn’t going to build a splash page for you).
  • Wix
  • Weebly
  • WordPress.com

If you are using a website builder such as Squarespace or something similar, they will have sample splash page templates that you can access. There are other services out there, and the reason why Squarespace would be elevated above the others is because it gives you less control over look. You want a professional look and unless you’re a web designer or graphic designer, you want a template that has already been developed for you where you can fill in the blanks.

If you’re like most online businesses, you’ll want to use WordPress because of it’s flexibility, ease of use and overall feature set (through plugins and themes). When our team builds out a splash page for a client like Pilates by Jean we will publish the splash page using WordPress and work on the complete site behind the scenes of that WordPress site. In the case of PBJ specifically, we actually published individual pages as they were ready and link to them from the splash page.

If you’re ready to give a go at creating your own splash page website using WordPress, here are the very basic steps for you to follow in order to publish your splash page website this week.

Step 1: Secure Web hosting

If you have not yet secured web hosting, that is where you will want to start. I have put together a post here on my personal website that will help you navigate selecting a host that suits you.

At Shrein Media, we have begun recommending WPEngine for a ‘host’ of reasons.

  • Amazing support for customers through 24/7 live chat
  • Great administrator tools for managing site performance
  • Fast servers and SSD hosting equipment
  • High performance caching
  • Built in content delivery network (CDN)
  • Oh, and one more time, their AMAZING support

WP is a professional solution. You will be able to find cheaper hosting and though cheap hosting can sometimes work out, our approach is that a professional website deserves professional hosting to produce a professional experience.

You can learn more about WPEngine using our affiliation link here and save 20% off your first payment.

Step 2: Install WordPress

WordPress can be installed in one of two ways: manually and through an install script.

Manual installation will require you to create a MySQL database and user – super easy but I know that even looking at the letters “MySQL” can be intimidating to any business owner. If you’re interested in knowing how to install WordPress manually, you can watch this video which does a decent job of explaining the process.

Most web providers, including WPEngine which installs WordPress for you on the moment of account creation, will have script installers that allow you to install WordPress on your server with one click. This is going to be the preferred method of installation for most people.

The ONLY downside is that typically web hosts will have deals with other businesses and when you install WordPress, a few plugins may install as well. For instance, one provider I was using was installing Mojo Themes with every new WordPress plugin. This is very similar to buying a new PC and upon starting for the first time there is a ton of “bloatware” installed that you never wanted in the first place.

how you can start a website with a splash page using a WordPress script installer

WordPress can be installed using script installers on just about any web hosting plan for individuals. It’s a quick way to launch your splash page website.

All that said, there is nothing wrong with installing via script.

Step 3: Purchase A Website Theme

In the past you might have tried to go the ‘free route’ but now that you’re serious about expanding your income sources to the internet you do not want to use a free theme. Free themes will typically put your site at security risk, are not well maintained, not often updated, and you will not find any support when you get stuck.

At the time of this writing, Shrein Media exclusively uses the Enfold Theme by Kriesi to implement every online business strategy we draft for our clients. You can use any theme you want but for a splash page website to be an option you want a theme that offers you the ability to hide sidebars, main navigation, footers, leaving only the main body content. Using the Enfold Theme, you can select a template that does this very thing.

If this is already sounding too complicated but you do want to explore a splash page website, we would be happy to talk and see if working together would be a fit. You can submit a ‘Get Started’ request here to get the conversation started.

Along with recommending the Enfold Theme specifically, I also recommend using a theme that has a drag-and-drop editor, as Enfold does. Another theme that many love for this same reason is Divi Theme by Nick Roach and the folks at Elegant Themes. You can learn more about Divi and Elegant themes using our affiliation link here.

Both Divi and Enfold are fantastic themes. The important thing is that you get a theme which allows you to achieve the look you want through a simple, easy to use interface.

Step 4: Select Colors for Your Business or Brand

If you’re brand new to online business, or business in general, chances are you don’t yet have a logo or a color palette. While you can get more “official” in the future, the goal here is to be as quick as possible. You will want to select a temporary color palette to use for your splash page website; if you want to change it in the future, you can.

Adobe provides one of the best color resources on the web appropriately titled Adobe Color CC. You can easily create a palette of complimentary colors based upon a single color you have a taste for, or you can use their explore tab to search thousands of palettes that others have created and uploaded to Adobe.

I have used the explore tab more than once to provide a nice palette for clients; you should be able to find something that you’ll really like using either one of these features.

One other website that does a similar function to Adobe Color CC is Coolors.co. It’s a very straight forward color palette service that allows you to select a combination of five colors. It’s worth a look.

Step 5: Design Your Splash Page Website

Designing your splash page doesn’t need to be hard. Why? Because there are so many examples on the web that you can follow. Here are a few examples you can begin with, then if you need more, I’d encourage you to click here for more options.

As I mentioned before, don’t forget to include the following content on your splash page website.

  • Your name
  • Your business name
  • A subtitle of what you do
  • Your logo (if you have one)
  • Your physical address (if you have one)
  • Your mailing address (if necessary)
  • Your email address or contact form
  • A photo of you, your business building or your team
  • A brief statement about what you do

There is a lot you can do for a splash page. The bottom line is that you want your splash page website to be simple, communicative and reflective of your business or brand.

Step 6: Get a Second Opinion

You’re not a website expert. You never wanted to be. You are only doing this because it is a necessity to launch your online business.

No matter how much you like (or dislike) what you create, you want to get a second opinion. Good web design is not about preference but rather art and science. There are people who spend their entire lives dedicated to understanding the art of the human brain and how it interacts with design experiences.

You will benefit greatly from getting several eyes on your splash page. You want to ask folks who will be honest with you and are on your team. People who want you to succeed at your work and who will tell you the truth versus affirm what you’ve done.

Never Wait for Your Website

As helpful as a website will be in attracting clients and securing work, it is a tool, it is not a substitute for good business and a solid sales process. The belief that a website will do all the hard work and you can sit back and do nothing once it’s live, is a false belief that will leave you with very little to show for the time and money you invest in a site.

If you ever find yourself saying something like, “once my website goes live, then I can start making sales,” it probably means you have unreal expectations for your site. and you’ll be left disappointed.

There are, of course, exceptions. If you’re selling a product and taking sales through your website, yes, you need to have a website. Using a splash page website, you can sign up for a simple tool like SendOwl (learn more about SendOwl here using our affiliation link) to facilitate the sale of your product online until your full website is done.

Online business is an all hands on deck effort, and your website will work in harmony with your social media, email marketing and in-person sales processes. Even if one is down – i.e., you’re finishing your website – you need to keep the others running so you can continue to grow your business, brand and authority.

Building Your Pilates Studio Website

For Pilates by Jean, a Phoenix Pilates studio, their website exists for people who are looking for a Pilates studio. There is some education for people who do not know anything about Pilates and there are tools for current members, but the main purpose of the website is to help the Pilates seeker decide if this is the right studio for them.

See the entire Pilates by Jean case study