For serious Entrepreneurs that need a better blog, website, or landing page to get more clients…
Your business needs to always have a reliable presence that sends the right message to your current or potential business clients, with the right answers to the questions that they have. These clients want to know that your sales acquisition service is reputable, that as a entrepreneur your trustworthy, and most important, they want to be able to find this out themselves reading through the content on your blog, website, or landing pages. You don’t have to produce a lot of content to have a successful blog, you can have just a stand-alone website that introduces your business and the sales acquisition services you offer to your clients. Now, if you want to give greater support to your business, you can create really compelling blog content on a regular basis that addresses many of your client‘s problems, that also supports your sales acquisition service.
So, you can just have a website dedicated to your business and also write really great content, or you can dedicate yourself to writing really great content about Entrepreneurs, business client problems, and businesses that solve them.
Finally, whether you’re just interested in supporting a website with content that is written for your business clients or if your interested in becoming the premier blogger for entrepreneurs, you still need to understand the importance of landing page optimization. As soon as your clients reach your website or blog, you want them to get the content as fast as possible, you want them to be engaged by that content, and you need them to be focused on your call-to-actions, plus, you want to give them the best impression for your business.
This is a blog guide, not a website guide ( maybe it’s a website with a blog guide ), and certainly not a landing page guide. If your in the business of attracting clients, then at some point, you’re going to be operating a blog, website, or landing pages, so that’s the intent of this guide, to use your blog, website, or landing page to get more clients.
To make sure that you get the most out of this post, I broke it up into ( 4 ) sections:
Getting Started Blogging
I’m going to use a real world example of a blogger that used her personal interest and her life to capture the attention of an audience and continues to keep them captivated. I think this will be a great way to show you one basic method for starting a blog, choosing topics, consistency, identifying with your audience, and employing social media as a tool to get the word out for new content you write.
So, I’m really impressed with Ree Drummond and her thepioneerwoman.com blog. Today it’s a powerhouse of a website that hosts her many recipes and her confessions of living on a ranch in the middle of nowhere with her family. She started out in much the same way anyone else would have, she was looking for a creative outlet. That outlet came in her passion for taking pictures and sharing her life with others. That’s a really important concept, if you want to capture the attention of an audience, you need to first identify with them, then you need to be able to satisfy their needs as well. In her case, it was mothers that were interested in her life, because it was different, picturesque, and she was letting them in.
Types of Blogs
A blog is going to be a representation of you and your creativity. You can write about your personal life and transition it into your business or you can write about a specific topic that would be of interest to your business clients, or you can write about topics in a category, such as specifically for entrepreneurs. Each has their challenge for starting and getting your audience of clients, or of other entrepreneurs, built up to where you have a following.
You as the Subject
Without judging, is your life just as impressive as the life of Ree Drummond and her family? You very well may have a compelling story to tell each day. Maybe you and your business have a unique aspect that is not only impressive, but it’s shareable. And at the end of the day, someone has to want to share your content, introduce you to their friends and family, and ultimately justify the time, effort, and energy your asking of them to connect.
Ree used what she had, it could have been really unimpressive and she could have not seen positive results. In your case you need to be nimble enough to try new ways to tell a story and reach that audience.
You might not think that your life ties into your business, but most successful people that use social media regularly mix their personal posts with those of their business. Why? Because your clients want to trust you, and what better way is there to trust you than to experience along with you the personal daily happenings that your sharing.
So what if you want to write about a specific topic, such as the business services you offer. Well, your going to have to be an expert or provide enough content that your perceived as an expert. So, why is this important? Good question, it’s because there are probably 100s or 1,000s of blogs that are dedicated to the sales acquisition topic. See the difference between “Your Life”, plus “You as a Entrepreneur“, and a specific topic, there’s only one “you” writing about “you”.
Category of Topics
You can very well start a blog that caters entirely to a sales acquisition category with multiple topics and hover around the problems that your clients are suffering from and the business services that you offer that solve them. This is a much more difficult approach to blogging, since now your writing posts that pertain to multiple topics.
To make a blog successful, it really is an uphill battle, hence why there are so many that start but very quickly come to a complete stop. While it’s difficult, it’s not impossible. If you can master the art of storytelling by offering unique content that can’t be found anywhere else or is better than what is currently out there, then there’s no reason why you can’t succeed at blogging.
No matter if you choose to blog about your personal and entrepreneur life or a specific sales acquisition topic, the best way to start is focusing on a very granular level of information. In the example of Ree Drummond, she used her pictures to tell her unique story, she included in her posts images of living on the ranch, her kids, and the delicious food she would prepare each day for them. I think if she had expanded her storytelling in the beginning, such as the state she lived in and other ranches similar to that of hers, I believe she would not have captivated her audience as much as she has.
From a personal perspective, think about all the things that you love, and come up with different hyper focused stories that you could tell about those things. The best content your going to produce is going to come from something that you know about implicitly or your so passionate about that you keep finding examples of things you personally didn’t know about. From here you can find those granular nuggets that you can share with your audience.
From the perspective of your business, you can create content that incorporates several items to educate your clients, such as identifying the problem that their experiencing, introducing the solution, and putting together very compelling testimonials from previous clients. You can be equally as passionate as a Entrepreneur as you’re about those things you love in your personal life. You can’t fake that kind of passion and your clients will recognize the authenticity.
There are two ways to think about the schedule you keep in writing new content for your blogs. First, is make sure you write often enough that your audience will visit your website periodically. There are several problems with this mindset, especially when your starting out. Writing a good story is not easy, it takes time to put something good together. Since your starting out, there isn’t going to be much of an audience, so your really writing for the future, not today.
Second, is to write a really good story, I mean really good that it’s so impressive that everyone that reads it shares it. I believe this is the best method for a variety of reasons. If you do your job right, those people that are so impressed with your story are going to find your audience for you. Your audience might not be your next client, but they may share your story with your next client. Those new people are going to find your older stories and guess what, their going to be even more impressed.
In the Ree Drummond example, I’m sure a new person found her then just became mesmerized by her older stories, and I bet you they kept coming back. Why? Because she told great stories that were hyper focused to just her ranch, her family, and her food.
Quality Over Quantity
You need to focus entirely on telling a quality story that just grabs the attention of each current or potential client that is reading it. You’re probably asking, how do you write a quality story? Well, I’m going to tell you that I’m sure Ree Drummond wasn’t trying to write a quality story, she just posted a story that she felt was good enough for her. By dissecting those posts, I can tell you they contain dramatic scenic pictures, heartfelt notes about her kids, and you can feel her passion. That level of quality is not generic, it’s authentic and it can’t be faked. Your audience will catch on real fast if your just putting out generic stories in an effort to fill your website.
I’m often asked, is the length of the story a sign of good quality? It depends, did you need a longer story to get your point across to the reader? Look at your competition and ask yourself if they are getting their point across with their stories. Then write a better story that has more emphasis on the topic, more pictures, and if necessary longer. Yes, longer and with greater quality. If you can’t write a longer story that is 100% quality, don’t write it. You probably need more inspiration or it’s not granular enough. If you have a very specific topic, you can easily write enough about it and then expand out to the greater topic. So, using Ree Drummond as an example again, if she were losing inspiration one day, and just could not offer a good enough story within the confines of her ranch or her home, then that would be a good time to introduce a neighbor ranch or the nearest town.
If you want to build a really vibrant audience of current or potential clients, you need to give them an opportunity to interact with you and each other. Commenting on your stories is a really great way to see what your users think about each post or a good time to get ideas about new posts. A comment gives a future client an opportunity to see the impact your having on others and give them a reason to participate. The more comments that you can create, the better your stories are going to be perceived.
For a WordPress website, the software has a built in commenting feature, but I don’t believe it’s the best option. You need to reduce the obstructions for engagement, using the built-in feature either will require you to allow non-member comments, which is a bad idea, or require each commenter to register as a member of your website.
So, is there a better way? Yes, there is, you can either use Facebook comments or you can use Disqus. If you choose to use Facebook comments, then a user will automatically be signed into their Facebook account and each comment they leave for a story will be verified as them. If that wasn’t good enough, if you share your story to your Facebook page, those comments will be associated with the share post at Facebook and your website. The other option is Disqus, aside from not having the user base as large as Facebook, they offer a community of commenters that spans across other websites that also use the service. They offer a similar sign-in feature where their profile is added to the comment. These both are really good options for using an existing social network to power your comments.
It goes without saying that social media is an incredibly important method of getting the word out about new posts that you publish, especially to your clients. Let’s go back to my Ree Drummond example, take a look at her Tweets and her Facebook posts. You can see that she regularly shares her content across multiple platforms. Why? Because her audience is spread out, and it’s to her benefit to reach out to them often. Why again? Because your getting your blog ready and your going to do everything necessary to get the attention of her audience. This isn’t a far fetched idea, good content is found, great content is shared, and I bet you can create the best content!
There’s an alternative to writing about a specific topic or even your life. You can vlog, which is a video blog. Using videos to tell a story is incredibly compelling, especially to a younger generation of clients that is constantly on the go with their smartphone in-hand. If you have a good amount of comfort in creating short videos of yourself, then this might be your creative outlet. The same rules apply, in order to capture the attention of an audience, you’re going to have to produce high quality video, and the storytelling is going to have to be better than you competition. Also, you have options to back into an already existing user-base, YouTube, which can get you a ton of exposure if executed correctly.
While, I didn’t discuss too much about monetizing your blog, website, or landing pages, I need to make sure that you understand, if you make an endorsement, for a product, service, or a sponsored post, in the United States, you must comply with the FTC’s Endorsement Guides. Complying is as easy as identifying the endorsement or sponsorship to the reader, one way is to use “Sponsored” or “Sponsored by”. Wording and placement is subjective, meaning there are no clear guidelines, the intent is to inform your reader, so in this case you should find the best way to be transparent about your sponsorship. Click here to get more information regarding FTC guidelines.
A Few Things About the Internet
You might be very well versed on how the Internet actually works and what details you need to understand in order to get your blog, website, or landing pages to function properly. If so, click here to take you to the next section, which is to Start Publishing with WordPress.
Since your sticking around, I want you to know that I’m going to be introducing the topic of the Internet in general, how it works, websites, and how they operate. You might be thinking, I already know how they work? We’ll, it’s incredibly important, no different from a professional NASCAR driver’s knowledge of the material used on a track’s surface and the tire composition and how they relate to each other. These are the things that are going to keep coming up, this will serve as a reference whenever you have a question about this topic.
I’m approaching the topic of the Internet in a very broad way because it’s very technically complicated. The Internet functions across many different web servers, you might have heard of the cloud, well, this cloud is software that allows an application, whether it be an app on your phone or a blog, to function and be accessible online, all the time, across a single or multiple servers that can be spread out all over the world. So, the cloud is going to allow your business clients to access the blog for your business.
When your client types in a domain name into their web browser, immediately, a request is sent from their Internet Service Provider ( ISP ) to top-level servers that are managed by the Internet’s overseers, ICANN. These servers are considered to be the top-level Domain Name Servers ( DNS ), which host all the resolving records for all the IP Addresses that are available. These IP Addresses are normally issued to ISPs and hosting companies to be issued to internet account holders and servers.
That request that was sent is asking for the resolving record for the domain name and the DNS addresses that are associated with it. As soon as this information is received, another request is sent to those DNS servers that are hosting the local record for the domain name. With this local record, which is the IP Address of the server that is hosting your blog, the browser can then be directed to this server, the software hosting the blog will begin the process of drawing the blog onto your client‘s web browser.
That is the most simplistic explanation of how the Internet works with a blog request from your browser. The reason why it’s important is because one of the drawbacks of other guides and online courses is they leave a lot of this up to you to figure out. Below you will see that I’m going to emphasize the most important parts of this process and why it is necessary for you to understand it.
So now that you understand how the background of the cloud works, we can now lead into how the front-facing part works. This is where you will be spending more of your time and I will not be continuing to address the back-end very much because it really isn’t necessary.
As described above, the hosting environment is an important part of how the Internet works. It is the service that allows access for you to be able to take that idea you have and host it so that a current or potential client can come to your blog, visit, and take action. A good hosting provider is going to take the complication of the Internet, the IP addresses, and the servers that those IP addresses resolve to, and provide you with a very user-friendly interface to manage that relationship.
As a beginner the IP Address for your blog should not be of importance. You really don’t have control of it, since it’s not issued directly to you. In a web hosting environment, it’s in the providers best interest to host as many websites on a server as possible. With this said, IP Addresses are scarce in comparison to the number of hardware devices that exist on the Internet, therefore, these providers issue one IP Address to a server that can host hundreds, if not thousands of websites.
So why is this a problem? First, imagine driving on a freeway where thousands of cars are also traveling alongside of you. Your not going to be doing much moving down that freeway, at least quickly you won’t. Same works for a Shared Hosting service, those hundreds or thousands of websites have users that are trying to access their pages, so when your clients access your pages, they’re going to experience a slow retrieval. Guess what happens when your site is slow? Your client will leave, and your business will suffer.
Second problem, imagine having a neighbor that is constantly playing their music loudly, all day or all night, I bet you wouldn’t like it very much. If your blog is hosted on a Shared Hosting service and one or many of the websites that are also hosted there are not doing business ethically, let’s say by Google standards, than Google will flag that IP Address as a problem. This will effect your blog as well.
You really don’t have much control over this if your just starting out, but it’s something to think about. There are also other options that can minimize these type of issues, but they are advanced choices which require more technical understandings.
Blog, Website, or Landing Pages
When you decide on starting a blog or to setup a website that you can use to get more clients, your going to have to decide on how your going to create it. Your can either have a custom blog or website designed and programmed for you, this will require a sizable investment and expertise. Or, you can use Free publishing platforms that give you the opportunity to create a website with minimal expertise. I will not be focusing on custom blog or website development since it requires a much more advanced understanding of the subject. I feel there are enough publishing platforms that exist to satisfy a wide variety of business types or even for a specific method.
A publishing platform works to take all the technical aspects of setting up a website and confine them into a simple to install package. Typically, hosting providers will offer these platforms as part of their basic service. For instance the most popular platform is WordPress, it’s an open-source piece of software, which means that there is a whole community of developers that continually contribute to making it better. This is great for you ,since it’s a stable product that is reliable, but more importantly the community offers plugin software that is made to answer most of your business needs. There are other publishing platforms such as Joomla and Drupal, which if you were to proceed with a customized approach, these would be great choices to start with.
Your top-level domain name is the start of the branding message for your business. I’m very opinionated on the choice of a domain name, it should only consist of the following to eliminate confusion:
- .com only
- 1 or 2 or 3 words, but less is better
- Use a keyword that identifies what you do
- Words should not end and start with the same letter ( i.e. SidsServiceEmporium.com )
- Don’t use hyphens, “-“, between words
Now, this is only my opinion and you’ll need to make the best decision for you. There are other options that are more popular within the startup world:
- The use of the .io top-level domain for software or developer oriented businesses ( i.e. market.io )
- “ly” after a standard word or the use of the .ly top-level domain ( i.e. marketly or market.ly )
- Spelling your business name without the vowels ( i.e. mrktr )
There are differing opinions on whether it really matters. From my experience, when a business does take off and you didn’t take the time to acquire the right domain name for it, you may have lost the opportunity to ever get it.
There are a lot of great domain name providers. Your average price will be around $10-$12 per year for the domain name. The difference in providers is going to be the software that they allow you to use to manage your domain name, their support, and the DNS servers that are required in order for you to point to a website.
GoDaddy is a very popular domain service and is big enough as a company where they are not going to be having frequent outages.
As I stated in my incredibly descriptive explanation of how the Internet works, the DNS that is assigned to a domain name needs to be reliable in order to fulfill a request from your client and send them to your blog. In most cases, the domain name providers, such as GoDaddy, will be your DNS host, and if they are experiencing an outage, that client request will not be arriving at your blog.
CloudFlare, DNS, and SSL
As an alternative to just using the DNS of your domain name provider, you have the option of using a Content Delivery Network ( CDN ) as well. A CDN is a series of servers that are placed around the world and each has a copy of your blog on them. When a client from the United States accesses your website, they are directed to the server that is nearest to them to reduce the time it takes to load into their web browser.
CloudFlare is a very popular choice to have your blog distributed across several regions of the world to speed up access and ensure you have reliable uptime. They are a CDN but they also offer other services, such as managing your DNS, which I think is much better and much easier to use then what GoDaddy offers. The setup is simple, at GoDaddy you would assign CloudFlare DNS servers to your domain name, then when that is done, you would assign the IP Address of your website in the CloudFlare interface. CloudFlare would then be responsible for resolving your domain name to the IP Address of your website.
For basic features, CloudFlare is Free, which is sufficient for most blogs. Since it does not cost you anything to be offered a really great service, why would you not use it? CloudFlare offers the same service of placing a copy of your blog across their network of servers as they do for their paying customers. It’s an advantage that you can use to your benefit. As you grow your blog, you can then upgrade to one of their paid packages. Their support is superb as well, so your never left without help.
The best advice I can give you regarding your brand, is to be consistent. That extends to the email address you use. For example, your email address should be the domain you use for your business, not Gmail.com. The Google Gmail service is a great product that you should use, but if at all possible, pay for the service and add your domain name, your business clients will be able to reach you at [email protected]. If you do pay for the service, your charged per user but you can add multiple domain names, which comes in handy when your operating multiple websites and you want to maintain your brand for each when communicating with your client.
Hosting for Platforms
There are a wide variety of hosting options for publishing platforms. I’m only focusing on WordPress, since it’s the easiest, most reliable, and well supported platform for a beginner. As I had mentioned previously, a Shared Hosting environment is a great way to start without a lot of money. The major drawbacks of a Shared Hosting environment have already been outlined. Some hosting providers offer specialized hosting that is dedicated just for WordPress and there are even hosting providers that only host WordPress websites. The advantages are that you will be working with a support team that are made up of experts in working with the WordPress platform and more often than not, these providers don’t oversubscribe their servers.
Start Publishing with WordPress
As discussed earlier, there are several very popular Content Management Systems ( CMS ) that you can use to publish your website, blog, or landing pages. Many CMS services are built using an open-source version of Joomla or Drupal, then offered with enhanced features. The most popular CMS is WordPress, which is also open-source and supported by an extensive developer community. WordPress is a good choice for keeping costs down, but still having options for building out a version that fits into your business.
I’m going to cover only the most important points you need to know about the WordPress publishing platform and how it can be used to support your efforts to get clients. WordPress is a very intricate piece of software and there are so many ways that it can be used. I’m going to approach this subject at a beginner level, so I can really only touch on a handful of things that I think are vital, but at the same time not technically difficult. In my experience, I have used WordPress for a number of projects, some were very simple installations, and others were very complex where I modified the programming code to serve my business needs. It’s a very powerful platform to start a business on.
Every hosting provider has their own system for managing a hosting client. WordPress is a packaged piece of software, so even for a beginner, these hosting providers make it incredibly easy to install, sometimes with just a click of a button. Now, once WordPress is installed, this is where you need to make decisions that are appropriate for you.
WordPress.org vs. WordPress.com
The WordPress software is an open-source software that can be used by anyone, and it’s Free. There is a robust community of developers that constantly contribute to the betterment of the software. WordPress.org is the repository of that open-source community. You can find all the support documentation at http://codex.wordpress.org/, plugins at http://wordpress.org/plugins/, themes at http://wordpress.org/themes/, and for the most part, they are all Free ( some may be offered Free but have upgrade options for unlocking unavailable features ).
WordPress.com is a for-profit extension of WordPress.org. It’s run by the Automatic Corporation, which is the original inspirers of the WordPress software and the open-source direction. They even offer hosting packages for WordPress websites and they are involved with the development of plugins that help to enhance an installation.
While as a beginner, a server stack is not too important since all of this will be handled by your hosting provider, it’s important to at least briefly go over it. The server stack is the multiple pieces of software that are used to allow your WordPress installation to function. The most common server stack is “LAMP”, which stands for:
- Linux – This is the server software that has all the server level settings that are needed to allow server-to-server or server-to-internet-to-server communications;
- Apache – This is the web server software that has the settings that allows the server to communicate with the supporting software;
- mySQL – This is the database supporting software where all the data from WordPress is stored;
- PHP – This is the supporting software that reads a specific programming language instructions that are developed into WordPress.
This is only one example of a server stack. There are a number of open-source options and for-profit options available at each level of the stack, but these would be better discussed in an advanced post.
As I have said, WordPress is supported by a very large and loyal community. Besides the documentation that is available at http://codex.wordpress.org/, there are developer communities where you can ask a question about anything related to WordPress, and you can get varying levels of support for those questions. The best community is http://stackoverflow.com/, which is very well monitored to ensure that questions are not left unanswered or you’re provided with direction if the question has already been answered elsewhere.
You will need to know how to access your domain, the DNS server settings, the DNS settings, and the IP Address where your WordPress website will be hosted. If you already setup CloudFlare to be used with your domain, then this should be an easy setup, just add the IP Address using the instructions below. If you haven’t already, you can just go to CloudFlare, and setup an account.
To start with, installing WordPress software directly onto your hosting provider server is not something that i’m going to cover. Instead we are going to start from where the hosting provider has setup their interface to initiate the installation, which is not technical at all, it’s just a matter of following their pre-set steps.
Many hosting providers use a server management software called, cPanel. It is used to manage the hosting service for an individual user. It gives you all the options you need to find a software package, in our case WordPress, and then have it installed onto the server without any further administrative functions. When you install WordPress through cPanel, it will also install a SQL database, which will be used to store all of your WordPress data. There are some hosting providers that have developed their own server management software, such as GoDaddy, WPEngine, and Kinsta to offer better service for their client needs, in those cases their setup processes are outlined in their how-to guides.
No matter what hosting provider you choose, the WordPress installation process is going to require several pieces of information, starting with:
- Site Title – This is the name of the WordPress website ( it can be changed at a later date )
Admin Username – This is a unique username that you will use to log into your WordPress admin area. You will not be able to change this.
Admin Password – Choose a secure password.
Admin Email – This is an email that you will need to access to receive a confirmation message.
At this point, if your using CloudFlare and you followed the instructions for adding a new website, that is updating your domain DNS record to point to the IP Address of the server that is hosting your WordPress website, then your changes should be ready within 15 minutes. If your not using CloudFlare to manage your DNS settings, then your changes may require up to 24-hours to completely propagate to each primary DNS server across the Internet.
As soon as the propagation has completed, you will then be able to access your new WordPress website at the following URL:
It is important to note that your website is assigned a sub-domain for access. Using their internal DNS servers, your hosting provider will assign the sub-domain, usually the username of your account, it would look something like this:
So, if you were waiting for your DNS records to propagate, you would still be able to access your WordPress admin dashboard using this URL:
What is a Theme?
Since WordPress is an open-source software that is supported by a large developer community, you will find that there are a lot of software add-ons that can be added to your WordPress installation. One example is a pre-designed and pre-formatted theme that can easily be applied to your WordPress website. First, all WordPress installations have a theme assigned to them, it is the default Twenty “Seventeen”. If you wanted a theme that is more inline with the objective of your website, you would look for theme sellers or a theme marketplace, such as themeforest.net to locate a design and layout that best fits your needs.
The theme itself is easy to install, it will be sold to you as a zipped software package, then you would go to your WordPress admin dashboard,
- Go to: http://businessdomain.com/wp-admin/;
- From the side menu go to: Appearance;
- From the side menu then to to: Themes;
- At the top of the Themes page, click or tap on the Add New button at the top of the page;
- At the top of the Add Themes page, click or tap on the Upload Theme button at the top of the page;
- You will be prompted with an option to choose a file, click on the button and upload the zipped software package containing the theme files and click on the Install Now button;
- You would then hover your mouse over the theme image and proceed to either review the theme by clicking or tapping the Live Preview button or you can set the theme by clicking or tapping the Activate button;
Ideally, you should choose a theme that best fits your business. For instance if you plan on pursuing a blog, then you should choose a theme that supports blogging. If you use themeforest.net to locate a theme, than you will be able to filter to only see search results for blog related themes. You can always change your theme in the future, but as your website grows, you want to do less manipulation to ensure that you don’t shut it down by accident.
What Are Plugins?
Similar to a theme, plugins are small pieces of software that integrate seamlessly with your WordPress installation. They don’t require technical skills, since the installation of the plugin is initiated and performed within the WordPress admin dashboard. Plugins serve a wide range of purposes. Some plugins will perform a simple task, like setup a contact form, or a newsletter, or even suggest the newest story you just published. For the most part, plugins are Free, but there are many that revolve around a business model where you install a Free version, then you’re offered access to more features with a one-time payment.
You’ll see Plugins listed on the side menu of your WordPress admin dashboard. From there you can see the plugins that are already installed and if you click or tap on the Add New button at the top of the page, you will be taken to the Add Plugins page, where you can search for a plugin for mostly any specific function.
The better developers will not only support their plugins but they will keep updating them as well. If there is a new version of the plugin available, you will see a notice next to the Plugins link on the side menu of your WordPress admin dashboard. When you click on the Plugins link, scroll until you see the cream colored notice beneath the individual plugin, there you will see the Update Details and Update Now links. Click or tap on the Update Now link and the software will be automatically downloaded and installed.
To start off with, there are a handful of plugins that you need to help manage your WordPress website, speed it up, and make the necessary changes to ensure that the search engines and social media services see the right information about your website.
Starting Out – These plugins are Free, some may have a PRO version that you pay for.
- Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode by SeedProd – I use this plugin to hide my website from anyone that happens to find it before it is ready. Your not going to get very many visitors, but if you want some privacy as your setting up or adding content, this is the plugin for you.
- CloudFlare – If you chose to use CloudFlare to manage your domain DNS, then this plugin doesn’t hurt to setup. It adds the essential features of their service right in your installation.
- Yoast SEO – This is a mandatory plugin to have installed. In a later lesson about Search Engine Optimization, I will be discussing how this plugin will do a lot of the technical work for you.
- All-in-One WP Migration – This plugin allows you to back-up your entire website, in case a plugin or theme installation or a code modification goes wrong, you can always revert back to a previous version.
- Real Simple SSL – If you either have CloudFlare setup or have a SSL certificate assigned to your domain, this plugin will make sure that whenever anyone visits your site at http://, they will be redirected to a secure version at https://. There are risks with using this plugin, dependent on the server setup, it can create what is called a redirect loop and lock you out of your website. In case you get locked out, this is their suggested fix: https://really-simple-ssl.com/knowledge-base/remove-htaccess-redirect-site-lockout/. So as a beginner and focused on a blog, I advise you to use caution or don’t attempt this. If your thinking about using WordPress as an eCommerce platform, the you need to ensure that SSL is used across your entire website.
- WP Performance Score Booster – This plugin speeds-up page load times by making small changes in the way your website assets are transferred from the server and delivered to the browser.
- Caching – This is a process where a copy of your website pages are made available to a user prior to connecting to the server. This speeds up your pages, sometimes dramatically.
- W3 Total Cache – This is a really good caching plugin that works really well with the default settings.
- WP Super Cache – This is an alternative caching plugin that uses a slightly different method for caching, but I would suggest that you use W3 Total Cache first, then as you gain comfort with the WordPress platform, you can test and see which one works best for you.
- Nested Pages – If your going to be creating a lot of pages and if those pages have sub-pages, then this plugin will be a dream come true that you never know you needed. It just does a better job of visually displaying the pages on a single page.
It’s important to note that some hosting provides will not allow certain plugins to operate on their platforms. Some will give the reason as being security related and others will be caching related. You will know when you go to install the plugins because they will not be available to be activated.
Perform Regular Backups – You should get in the habit of backing up your WordPress website. One of the suggested plugins is All-in-One WP Migration, it can be used to take a snapshot of your website at any given time. If you publish each day, then it would be a good idea to backup your website once a week, at least. In the event that there is a catastrophic failure or if you need to move your website to a new hosting provider, you will have a snapshot backup ready. Some hosting providers, such as WPEngine, do offer a feature that allows you to create a snapshot manually or on a schedule. Always backup before you update your WordPress installation or any plugins. You can decide which is best for you.
Update WordPress Software – Since WordPress is an open-source software and supported by a community of developers, there are regular updates that are made available. Your WordPress installation may be setup to update automatically, if that is the case you will just see a notice indicating that it was updated. If this option is not set and if a new update is available you will see a link with the new WordPress version at the top of the page. Before attempting any updates, it is advised that you backup your WordPress installation and download the backup file to your local computer then click or tap on the link and you will be taken to the Updates page. Here you will need to manually update the WordPress installation. The reason you want to update your installation as soon as each update is available, is first they are usually fixing known issues that may affect you, and second, they also may be security fixes.
- Update Plugins – Make it a habit to update your plugins as soon as your alerted to a new version. For the same reasons as updating your WordPress software, you don’t want to have a plugin that can be faulty or potentially a security threat. It is also advised that you backup your WordPress installation prior to any plugin updates.
Now I want to cover the basics of landing page optimization, and I mean the basics. Since this post is mainly focused as a blog guide to help you to get more clients, It’s better not to spend too much time on a subject that can easily be a post all by itself. We are going to cover the most important aspects that will affect you and your business.
Optimize Your Blog for Conversions
The best tool you will have to present your business and your business offer to your client is going to be your landing page. Now, a blog or a website isn’t a landing page, but landing pages can be a part of your blog or website. It’s the single most overlooked piece of the sales process, primarily because it’s often considered too much effort to make changes to the code that creates the page or the design that captures your client‘s attention. Many services exist that allow you to easily and efficiently create a landing page with simple interfaces. So, there’s no excuse to not follow through with what we’re about to go over.
I’m about to go over Principle #2 of the 3 most important principles you need to know to have any level of success to get more clients for your business, if you haven’t learned these 3 principles or need a refresher, click here to go straight to the offer guide or click here to go straight to the 3 most important principles…
Principle #2: Increase Your Per Business Client Sales Value
You have an interested current or potential client that is arriving at your landing page, either wanting to learn more about a remedy to their pain point, or they’re ready to take you up on your offer to get rid of it. You want to create an environment that is recognizable, informative, and capable of giving them what they want.
Value First Offer
Remember, your serious about the success of your business, so you need to be able to generate revenue from your clients. With this said, you need an offer that they can take advantage of, to generate that revenue. How you present the offer is just as important as the offer itself. You always want to have the best conversation possible with your business client, therefore, your landing page, whether it be an example of a long-form sales letter or short-form lead magnet, it should meet their exact needs for the qualification level they’re currently at. The price, if applicable, is just as important as well, you never want to setup the offer in an already discounted method, but you can display a discount next to a strike-through price to reinforce the value.
Your offer should be modular, that is, it should be versatile enough to allow you the options of being able to present it to your client in a way that it can be purchased as part of a larger package, in multiple quantities, or as a reinforcement method for a primary or ancillary sales acquisition service. The objective is to grow your business through multi-sales opportunities, not just increase profit from a single purchase. A modular product sometimes isn’t an option for hard sales, this is where you can offer digital products to add value and profit to a purchase.
For those of your current or potential clients that choose not to purchase your offer, your contingency ad planning will give more opportunities to overcome any objections they may have. Each ad will serve its purpose of reinforcing the previous, while trying to lead them back into the sales funnel.
An ad loop isn’t your only method of getting them in front of your messaging, you can also setup an email loop to help with this. If they’re led into a sales funnel and you were able to retrieve their contact information, more specifically an email address, through a lead magnet or tripwire value exchange, then an email loop can be used to encourage a re-entry back into the sales funnel.
Depending on your sales acquisition service, it sometimes isn’t advantageous for the price to be displayed in the messaging of an ad. With an email messaging campaign, this is not the case, it is much more advantageous, because it can be used as a method of asking for completion of a sale or an extreme version of overcoming an objection.
Dedicated Landing Page
It’s imperative that your offer have a dedicated landing page that is not competing with other offers. In order to have an effective ad campaign, you want to take your current or potential client to a page that continues the conversation that was started at the ad level, and give them a seamless experience at learning more about your offer.
Competing offers are only going to give them options to consider, and this will be detrimental to the number of successful conversions. You may not have an opportunity to create a dedicated landing page, but you can still follow the optimization techniques we are about to go over.
Page Load Speed
Depending on how you have, or will setup a landing page, whether through a service that is dedicated to hosting these pages or if you choose to operate one as part of your blog, it will need to be optimized for speed. Pages that load faster for your current or potential clients are going to see a greater number of conversions. There is a high expectation from them to access your pages in a speedy manner, and noticeable results are usually seen with load times between 1-2 seconds.
If you do decide to use a paid service for hosting your landing page, or even your website, you have to take into consideration the number of other customers that they work with, which are also hosted on the same servers. This is referred to as server density, for dedicated landing page services, they are usually optimized for single page load speeds. These services are usually not oversubscribed so, the page load speeds are typically efficient for your current or potential client to access.
You need to take into consideration the amount of calls you make on your landing page. A call on a landing page could be files that are hosted on your server or elsewhere on the Internet that are needed for operation. When too many of these calls are in effect for a landing page, the load time is increased as each call is pending a successful reply. You also have to take into consideration analytics code that is used to track the visitor, similar to the standard calls for resources, these analytics providers are receiving data in real-time. Too many of these analytics codes on your landing page could slow down your page load speed.
From Ad to Landing Page
As soon as the page is loaded, you want your client to immediately see and recognize exactly what it was they were presented with in the ad messaging. You never want to deliver them from an ad message about your offer, to a landing page that is presenting something completely different. It’s your objective to carry over the messaging directly onto the landing page.
Your offer needs to be carried over from the ad message to the landing page with clarity. You don’t want to be in a situation where your current or potential client is giving consideration to an offer from an ad, then reaches your landing page with an offer that is not the same or completely different. Maintaining the offer theme will eliminate any chance of a mental break and keep them interested.
As soon as your client decides to learn more about your offer, they will be doing so because of the text and tone of the message. Keeping with that success, you want to continue with the same message and tone so you can keep the same level of conversation continuing. The offer that you make will be much more effective with the right message that keeps following them.
The message copy shouldn’t just list the features, while they are important, you need to cause them the emotional response of having found relief from the benefits of your offer. The offer is going to change their problem to a solution, that is a win for them. Take them through this transition in a personalized way so it’s easier for them to take the next step.
The visual representation of your offer, from the image to the color styling, is very important to use in your communication piece and carry that same style over to your landing page. The is a very important factor in advertising that is often overlooked, but it’s prevalent in most major campaigns that you interact with each and every day. Congruent stylings eliminate the feeling your current or potential client has when they see a message on an ad, then visit the landing page, and wonder if they arrived at the right page, mainly because there isn’t a similar design.
Landing Page Layout
The layout of your landing page is very important, while you did capture the attention of your client, you’re going to recapture that interest again on the page. Your objective with the layout is to follow through with the following: Re-engage, Sell the Pain Points and Benefits, and Apply a Strong Call-to-Action. You want to make sure that from the ad to your landing page, that you avoid surprises, you never want them to raise questions, only interest.
The headline is going to sell your business offer to your current or potential client, so you want to make sure you carry over the headlines that you use in the ad message and make every attempt possible to use the same wording or a variation that has the same sentiment. It may be difficult at times to change the headlines to match the message in the ad, there are services that offer A/B testing of pages, they will usually offer you the ability to use multiple variations of a headline.
If the headline is set to recapture the attention of your current or potential client landing on your page, the sub-headline is a continuation of that message. You can even argue that the sub-headline is even more important because it will be a quick re-iteration of the message but done so in a memorable way. Another really important characteristic the sub-headline serves, is a visual hierarchy and adds to the continuation of a seamless message.
Your bullet points should sell the benefits of your business offer with words that reinforce the value. You don’t want to ramble on, these are decisive statements that are used for reinforcement. Limit the number of bullet points to 3-5, but certainly take into consideration where exactly they are going to be placed to make the best impact. When possible, you have many different options for the actual bullet icon, you can use colors and symbols that try to connect with your current or potential client, you’re going to need to test what works best for your conversions.
Your call-to-actions are going to be a combination of text and images. You want to have text that tells your current or potential client exactly how you want them to respond, without any question and no confusion. The word choice is important, you want to speak in simple, yet persuasive terms, never allowing an open suggestion, such as “Get Your Free e-Book” or “Buy Now”. You should always use buttons, preferably a color that captivates and demands attention. Think about traffic lights, red means stop, green means go, depending on your desired response, this is a good start, but you really do need to test to determine the best choice for attracting and converting your client.
Never confuse them with multiple call-to-actions, whether they are used for achieving the same purposes, and certainly not for multiple purposes. Your landing page should have a singular, clear intent, and your call-to-actions should all communicate that same intent for a response. For long-form landing pages, you’re going to have to use multiple call-to-actions as they are progressing through the content. You’re going to have to test what works best for your business offer and audience, but you should never create an environment of competition for your intended response.
As your current or potential client is taken from the ad to the landing page, you have only one opportunity to tell them exactly what you want them to do. Depending on your business offer, that first response will be taken advantage of on the first visualization of the headline, bullet points, and call-to-action. If you can fit all this into the viewable screen, you’re going to see a higher response rate. If your business offer calls for more content to warm them up, that first response will need to be a method to lead them into more text.
Landing Page to Checkout
There needs to be a clear transition, from the call-to-action on the landing page to the conversion on the checkout page. You can’t expect, because your current or potential client responded to your call-to-action that the conversion is going to occur without fail. In fact, most checkout exits occur because they lose focus of the offer and they are interrupted by very easily fixable issues.
Just like when you carried over the ad message to the landing page, you need to carry that message over to the checkout page. This is a key point in the conversion where you don’t want to cause confusion for your current or potential client by using an alternative message for your business offer. Even if you have multiple ads with different messages for your offer, you can still coordinate those sentiments in the headline, sub-headline, or even the bullet points to maintain congruency.
Even on the checkout page, you want to emphasize the benefits of your business offer, how it solves the pain points your client is suffering from, and drive the idea of relief that they will be experiencing after the conversion. The checkout page is not the place for features, you will only encourage questions and invite objections. Give your current or potential client exactly what they want, keep them focused on the conversion.
Keep in mind, your current or potential client may only know you from the ads they have responded to, therefore, they may still feel apprehensive towards completing the sale. One of the best ways to overcome this apprehension is to offer client testimonials on the checkout page. It’s a successful method for showing that you actually follow through with your sales promise and that your business is continuing to service the needs of others.
Real Checkout Experience
There are a lot of different ways that you can facilitate a sale, but the most obvious is having a dedicated checkout page that lists your sales acquisition service for sale and a method for taking your current or potential client‘s contact and billing information. While it seems obvious, and we may even take it for granted as the default method for a checkout experience, you will find that some people are still not comfortable with an online transaction. Don’t deviate too much from the normal checkout experience, especially if you’re targeting a traditionally non-technical audience.
You’re going to find that there are some checkout experiences that occur over 1-2 pages, the standard practice being one page, and some choosing two pages. There is an objective that is being met when the checkout process is expanded to two pages, the first is for capturing the contact information, mainly the email address. Since the majority of your current or potential clients will add an item to the cart, yet they will abandon the checkout page, with an email address you can use an automated set of messaging to return them back into a checkout, sometimes just by asking and other times with the help of discounting.
As soon as your current or potential client reaches the checkout page, your primary goal is to ensure that you portray two trust factors, first, that you will follow through with the fulfillment of your sales acquisition service, and, two, their personal and payment information is safe. This can very easily be achieved using a Secure Socket Layer ( SSL ) certificate on at least the checkout page, adding trust images, such as SSL certificate provider logos on the same page, and perhaps one of the best methods of emphasizing trust is to offer a money back guarantee.
You have a really good opportunity of displaying trust in your business offer and your business by providing a guarantee. There are many really good reasons why you shouldn’t offer a guarantee, you may have hard costs associated with a product or you could have time invested with offering a sales acquisition service. For value first, client focused, and a long-term business mindset, a guarantee is a commitment to your current or potential client that you’re going to provide the best possible experience.
This is a key factor for increasing conversions, if they suffer from anxiety or buyer’s remorse, a rock-solid guarantee will help ease those feelings. A guarantee also holds you accountable for your sales acquisition service, challenges you to exceed on delivering value, and most importantly gives you the opportunity to continue winning them over.
The success page is an important last step for the conversion, keep in mind that your current or potential client can very well cancel a sale during the checkout, so you need to continue with showing that you’re a legitimate business, that you want to provide exceptional value, and that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to keep them happy as a customer.
Landing Page to Success Page
If you’re providing a value exchange, such as offering a lead magnet after your current or potential client has provided you with their contact information, you have an incredible opportunity to over deliver. Since your starting out with a value first transaction, on the success page, you can provide more value, such as a webinar, where you offer a brief or even long format content piece on a subject that will further help alleviate their pain point. You can even offer tripwire products at deeply discounted prices that then lead into a conversion process.
Checkout to Success Page
The psychology of your current or potential client, as it pertains to the checkout process of a purchased sales acquisition service is much different than that of a value exchange, such as opting into a lead magnet. They are left in a very vulnerable state, not knowing if you’re going to follow through with your end of the sales transaction. The success page serves two purposes, first, you can alleviate some of that fear by providing a personal message in the form of text or video, and two, you can further reinforce the benefits of your business offer.
With a completed conversion comes even greater responsibility, now you have to fulfill on the promise of your business offer. This is incredibly important for your business, you want to be able to create the best first impression you possibly can. This starts by giving them exactly what they are expecting, all the benefits of the business offer, including your availability to their needs.
Whether you have a hard product that needs to be shipped, a digital product that is downloaded or delivered, or a service that is offered, the first email you send to your current or potential client is a perfect opportunity to introduce yourself. If you can over impress them on your first interaction, it will give you a good opportunity to offer more sales acquisition services to them in the future. The idea is you want to give them the best possible experience, continuing with that trust building, so in their minds they can attribute you as a solutions provider.
So, we went over the most important points for landing page optimization that will most affect your goal to get more clients for your business. We certainly can expand on this subject and other subjects that support efficient creation and management of landing pages, but what we went over will suffice for this blog guide.
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