Creating the right anticipation before a product launch is crucial to its success. Be it a simple blog, a 10$ e-book or a $35,000 Tesla electric car – the right amount of hype can do wonders for your marketing campaign.
From an online marketer’s perspective, when you’re launching a new website or product, having a “coming soon page” can be a great way to build your email list, gather new Facebook fans, Twitter followers and engage with them over social media.
However, even if you’re using WordPress, launching a “coming soon” page can be a daunting task without the right plugin. While there are a couple of really great paid plugins, it might not be the optimal choice for those on a tight budget – which brings us to today’s plugin.
Fancy Coming Soon & Maintenance Mode is a WordPress plugin developed by Dev Sharma from WPKube. It is a free plugin with just the right amount of options to create a great looking “coming soon” page. You can also use this plugin to create a “maintenance mode” page when you’re migrating servers, changing themes or simply trying out some other (cool) new stuff.
To start off with this review, first we’ll take a brief look at the various options available in the plugin, and then we’ll visit each option individually. The Fancy Coming Soon plugin has the following features:
- One-click enabling/disabling the Coming Soon page from the WordPress theme customizer
- Changing the background image or using a solid background color
- Ability to use custom CSS code in the page
- Modifying the content of the page without complicated HTML code
- Newsletter subscription CTA powered by MailChimp
- Ability to use up to three social sharing profiles in the Coming Soon or Maintenance Mode page
How to Install Fancy Coming Soon Pro: Plugin Installation and Activation
Installation is a pretty straightforward process.
- Open your WordPress dashboard and go to Plugins > Add New.
- Search for “fancy coming soon” and hit Install.
- Click on Activate Plugin and you’re ready to go.
How to Customize the Fancy Coming Soon Page
Now we’re ready to get our hands dirty with the plugin. Head over to Appearance > Customize to launch the WordPress theme customizer. Your current active theme should show up. In our example, it is the Twenty Sixteen theme. Right below it should be the Fancy Coming Soon Settings. Select it to access the plugin’s settings.
This are the list of options that are available in the plugin. We’ll go through each of them sequentially starting with Background options. In the end, we’ll visit the General settings where we will actually turn on the Coming Soon page.
Background Image and Colour
The Background settings enables you to experiment with solid background colors and/or images. You can also configure other options such as background repeat, background position, etc.
With the WordPress theme customizer, you can also preview how your screen would look on a mobile device. In this example, I’ve tried to experiment with a few standard background colors.
Adding a Site/Page Logo
Displaying a logo is an important branding activity for your blog or product. Most coming soon pages have a provision for a logo. Fancy Coming Soon Pro was no exception! You could upload an 80x80px logo via the WordPress Media Uploader and be done with it – the plugin will take care of the rest.
Adding Content and Setting Completion Percentage
The sample content shared in the Page Content settings is indicative of the actual size of content that should be present in a coming soon page screen. The page’s content is split into three parts – Heading, Main Content, and Footer Text. You can also manually change the completion percentage, which indicates the amount of work that’s done (or is remaining) before the site could launch.
One option that I find missing here is a countdown timer, or an AJAX enabled percentage meter which periodically synchronizes with the server. The job of the percentage meter would be to check the latest value of the percentage from the server side (i.e. WordPress) and update the same on the client’s browser – all without refreshing the page. This is achieved by using AJAX.
A countdown timer would read the predetermined launch date/time (set in the plugin’s option in WordPress) and calculate the difference between the visitor’s current system date. The calculated difference would be the actual countdown. This action is done afresh for each request.
You can always customize this page and use it as coming soon, or maintenance mode – or pretty much any product announcement page!
This is probably the simplest newsletter integration done till date. All you have to do is grab the form action URL from the embeddable version of your newsletter in MailChimp and paste it here. The plugin’s official tutorial highlights how to do this.
You can also disable the signup form by simply leaving the MailChimp Form Action URL field empty and hit Save & Publish. This screenshot shows how the page would look without an email signup form.
Social Sharing Settings
While the email address and the two basic networks are covered, I think a lot more options such as LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest, could be included.
Activate the Coming Soon Page
So far we had discussed the features of the plugin – but haven’t actually discussed how to activate the coming soon/maintenance mode page. Get to the plugins set of customization options in the WordPress theme customizer, and select General. Tick the checkbox entitled Preview Coming Soon Page and you’re all set. Uncheck the same option to disable the coming soon page.
No good review is complete without a nice performance test. So we decided to fire up our favorite testing tool and check the results.
The plugin scored a performance grade of 86, which is pretty decent, given that I am on a shared hosting server without using WordPress caching. The number of requests is 11, which can ideally be reduced to 9 or 10.
Coming Soon Pro is a relatively new plugin under its genre in the WordPress market and has some kickass features. It is fully responsive and has the right blend of customization settings without scaring away non-technical folk (like myself haha!). While there is some room for improvement in the features section, overall, Fancy Coming Soon and Maintenance Mode is a solid free plugin for bloggers and digital marketers.
What do you think about this plugin? Love it? Don’t love it? Let us know in the comments section below – we’re excited to hear your thoughts!