The 7(ish) Day Startup: Day 4 (Website)

This is Day 4 of my experiment to build and launch a startup in 7 days, based on methods described in The 7 Day Startup book by successful startup founder Dan Norris.

If you missed any of the earlier articles in the series or you’re reading this in the future and want to jump ahead you can use the following links:

As things stand I’ve currently deviated slightly from Dan’s methods and I’m considering two startup ideas ThemeValet and WP Owner, with the focus on launching ThemeValet first.


Today’s task:

Day 4 Task – Build a website!

More specifically the goal is not to spend more than $100 (more on that in a moment) or a single day getting either of the websites ready.

However here I must confess I probably have an advantage over many other readers of Dan’s book because:

  • I have a lot of experience building and outsourcing websites, particularly WordPress based websites (which is what we’re going to use here)
  • I had both of these ideas a while ago, so I already put together basic WordPress websites for both of them
  • I already use a WordPress website hosting company (WP Engine)
  • I already have access to themes from StudioPress and Themedy and a developer subscription to Gravity Forms (a premium WordPress plugin which lets you do a lot of handy things like take payments online etc)

At this point you might be thinking “why not just skip over this step entirely then”?

For a couple of reasons:

  1. Without spending more than a few hours on it, I want to make sure that whatever I put on the website when I first had the original idea matches what I’m offering now
  2. I want to share what my setup for each website is, both for the record and to potentially help others doing the 7 Day Startup process too

If you’re not interested in my particular technical setup or thinking on each site, and would rather skip over it, you can join me again tomorrow for Day 5 when I’ll be thinking about quite a big topic for any new business, marketing.

If you’re not sure how to setup a website for your business, just follow the steps in the 7 Day Startup book or join WP Owner where I’ll be going through how to do in more detail 🙂

ThemeValet.com

For the record, here is a screenshot of the ThemeValet homepage as of today (click to enlarge):

ThemeValet.com

Though don’t be surprised if it gets changed a lot but I will do my best to not fiddle with it too much and focus on more important activities instead 🙂

I go on to explain more below.

Content

I think it would be a mistake to create lots of different pages for the launch of the site so at launch the site will have three pages

Homepage / Landing page

I’ve tried to keep the homepage simple with just a few ‘banded’ sections (no sidebars) as follows:

  • 1st section: Explaining the benefit / offer + call to action
  • 2nd section: More detail on how it all works
  • 3rd section: Pricing comparison (currently two options)
  • 4th section: Frequently asked questions
  • 5th section: Another reminder of the benefit + call to action

Other pages

The other key pages of the site are:

  • Order form page
  • Thank you for ordering page

When I had the original idea in 2014 I also created a few blog posts for the site, so there is a mini blog on the website at the moment with four articles.

I don’t think the blog is at all essential for launch but I’m not going to remove the blog posts / plugins I’m using for them just to make things leaner(!) so I’ll leave them there for now. (I’ll think more about marketing, including blogging, tomorrow in Day 5).

Tech specs

  • Hosting: WP Engine (I already have a hosting plan with them)
  • Theme: Altitude Pro by StudioPress (I already own this theme)
  • Plugins used (essential for launch in bold):
    • Genesis eNews Extended (allows website visits to signup for my email list after reading a blog post)
    • Genesis Simple Edits (allows easy editing of footer info, copyright etc with themes from StudioPress)
    • Genesis Simple Share (adds share with Facebook, Twitter etc buttons to blog posts)
    • Google Analytics by Yoast (tracks website visits / behaviour, I’ve disabled it from tracking my activity)
    • Gravity Forms (will power the order form and lets me do other cool stuff)
    • Gravity Forms MailChimp Add-On (lets customers opt-in to my email list when ordering)
    • Gravity Forms Slack Add-On (to get a Slack (chat software) notification when I get an order)
    • Gravity Forms Stripe Add-On (allows credit card payments)
    • WordPress SEO (I install this on most WordPress sites I set-up, it’s not essential for launch though)

That’s quite a lot of plugins, but as I mentioned a lot of them are there for the legacy blog.

Cost

If purchased just for this site, the above would run to over $100 but as I already have it all I’m going to use it!

(If I’ve learned one thing in business it’s if you have any sort of (legal) advantage use it for all it’s worth, this stuff can be difficult enough).

The only additional purchase I’ve allowed myself is an SSL certificate (security feature used on websites that take credit card details) for $49/year from WP Engine to allow me to use Stripe instead of PayPal for purchases.

I know I could just use PayPal, and maybe I’ll end up offering both as payment options, but right now this is my only indulgence / extra expense.

The main reason for this is that it reduces the extra step at checkout of sending people to PayPal and then returning them to ThemeValet. I believe this will mean less friction for customers on purchase.

(Though perhaps PayPal is so common it is less friction than digging out a credit card number, time will tell, but right now I’m going with Stripe).

WPOwner.com (Pre-launch)

Although the launch of this website (in terms of opening the doors for business) is a little further off than ThemeValet, I want to review it now too so I have something solid to refer people to when talking to them about the idea before launch.

For the record, here’s the WP Owner as it looks as of today (click to enlarge):

WPOwner.com

Content

Like ThemeValet, I think it would be a mistake to create a lot of different pages before launch, instead I’ve gone for a simple homepage / landing page and a ‘sign up’ page only.

Homepage / Landing page

Also like ThemeValet, this is a ‘banded’ style homepage with no sidebars to focus people only on the content that I want them to read. It’s made up of the following sections:

  • Header: Site name / slogan (currently: Fire your developer and create an amazing business with WordPress)
  • 1st section: Benefit / offer explained / example video tutorial (I recorded this ages ago for a blog post so I’m just repurposing it rather than creating anything new)
  • 2nd section: Offer explained in more detail
  • 3rd section: Back to benefits + a few more details

Other pages

The only other page at moment is the ‘sign up’ page which I’m currently using to give people the chance to give me their email address before launch (previously it was a ‘buy now, get the course when it opens in a few weeks’).

There is currently no blog.

Tech specs

  • Hosting: WP Engine (I already have a plan with them)
  • Theme: Remobile Pro by StudioPress (I already own this theme)
  • Plugins used (essential only):
    • Google Analytics by Yoast (tracks website visits / behaviour, I’ve disabled it from tracking my activity)

There are a few other plugins currently installed but none of them are needed at this stage so I won’t list them all here.

Cost

Again like ThemeValet.com I already have a theme and hosting (and plugins when I need them).

I also have an SSL certificate for increased security on checkout ($49/year) but I already purchased this a while ago and isn’t even needed at this stage (apart from putting a nice little secure logo next to the web address in the browser).


I’ll be back again tomorrow with I imagine will be a much longer update for Day 5, on plans for marketing the business.

PS If you dig this you can subscribe to my email list and get updates on the rest of my 7 Day Startup adventure, other experiments and musings.

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