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Website Marketing

Creating a Splash Screen in Joomla or Wordpress

Recently, we were called to create a splash page to greet visitors on an existing client site and direct them towards a new feature. Similarly, you may want to collect some information on your visitors, ask them to choose their location or language, or simply present a video animation.

Initially, we thought we may have to create a new page and then modify the domain name records to point to the new page while preserving the original website structure. However, there is a much easier and simpler way to accomplish this task.

All you need is to place an extra command in your .htaccess file.

Just add this line of code anywhere in your .htaccess file.

DirectoryIndex index.html index.php
or
Redirect 301 /oldpage.html   http://www.example.com/newpage.html

This code will tell Apache that when somebody enter your site e.g www.yourdomain.com then Apache will display index.html as the default home page.

**Now you will simply replace the index.html name according to your splash screen page name

In Joomla 1.0 - the system assigns the first menu item as the home page. (Joomla 1.5 you can assign any page as the home page - VERY HELPFUL) So we had to create a new menu item above the home page specifically for the Splash Page.  Then we manually hid that menu item in the menu.php file in the template folder. (Your menu.php file may be called something else)

Important notes about htaccess redirection:
  • Always be sure to upload .htaccess files in ascii mode, sending it up as binary will break it (and usually make your server very, very unhappy.)
  • .htaccess does not work if you're on a windows server.
  • Make sure you triple check your changes. Clear your cache and look, test the server headers to make sure you see a 301 (that means its permanent) not a 302 (temporary) unless you are absolutely sure you really mean temporary.
  • Since some operating systems don't allow you to make a file without something before the "." you may need to save it as something.htaccess, some may even have to save it as htaccess.txt and change it once you've uploaded it.
  • Make sure your ftp program will show .htaccess files (FileZilla does and is free) It is a bit hard to edit something you can't see ;)
  • Double check that you're not overwriting an old one (some servers already place one there for your custom 404 pages etc.)