One of my favorite things about Wordpress is that if you have an idea for a website you can almost instantly make it happen. After all it literally takes a matter of minutes to buy a domain, install wordpress, and get to work. However, the amount of time from that moment of inspiration until your idea is ready to be presented to the world can often be much longer than mere minutes. A fast launch is days or weeks. For a website with more advanced functionality or very in-depth/high quality content you're probably looking at months. So what do you do with your shiny new domain in the meantime? Obviously you don't want to just let it sit there looking broken for several months. And you don't want to feel like you have to be shamefully closed mouth about your new project in fear of people seeing your blah inducing work in progress. No, you want something that gets people excited and invites them to return when you're ready for them. You want an awesome looking coming soon page.
This is where SeedProd's Coming Soon & Maintenance Mode Plugin comes in. I won't make you wait until the end of my post to tell you what I think of it. It's great. I found it extremely easy to use, fun to set up, and the end product you get is not only a good placeholder for your new website but will help you gather up leads. Which is perfect because in my experience when I get a new project started I'm always talking about it and hyping it up. Using this plugin I can promote my site well before it's ready to be launched and begin building community around my concept. That community will then in turn (hopefully) become the user/reader base my new site/project/product thrives on.
Coming Soon Pro Examples
Here are a few examples from the SeedProd Showcase. For the most part - and by that I mean besides the custom social icons in one of these examples - everything you see is possible without knowing a scrap of code.
Installing Coming Soon Pro
If you like what you're seeing and what you're reading then here is how you get your own awesome coming soon page. First, you'll have to head over to SeedProd.com and buy the plugin. And before anyone asks, no, I did not get paid to write any of this. Anyways, once you make your purchase you'll be instructed on how to download the plugin's zipped file. Go to your Wordpress Admin > Plugins > Add New > Upload and install the plugin.
Once the plugin is installed you'll see a new settings option called Coming Soon Pro. Click on it and dive in!
Creating a Coming Soon Pro Page
The first tab/page you'll see is the General Tab. This tab is where you enter your SeedProd API Key, select the Status, enter Google Analytics, and upload a favicon graphic.
The next tab is where a big part of the magic happens. The Options page is where you upload whatever logo/graphic you want to be most prominent, write the majority of your coming soon page copy, link an email service provide like MailChimp and others, select your social icons, and enter a footer image/link. If you don't have any graphics created or copy written whatsoever you may find that this tab alone will take you a few hours to complete. Depending on how ambitious you want to get of course.
And then we have the style tab. This page contains the other major elements to your new coming soon page. Namely the Background and Font/Shadowbox styling. Features I really appreciated were the color options, font options (Google Fonts and Typekit integration), and the ability to add custom CSS. Personally I didn't use the CSS section but just knowing it was an option was pretty sweet because like I mentioned above I wanted the ability to add custom features later - i.e. some better looking social icons.
Both the Incentives/Sharing and Social Profiles tabs are pretty self explanatory. Actually, this entire plugin is incredibly documented with instructional text. When making my own coming soon page I never once felt lost.
Not only did I never feel lost, but when I worked my way through to the advanced tab I was pleasantly surprised with some really cool options. Options like adding an SEO title/description and a client view URL that I can give out to friends, collaborators, or clients while working on the site design "behind" the coming soon page.
Creating a Maintenance Page
While going through the coming soon page setup you may have noticed I skipped over the tab titled Maintenance Mode Options. This page allows you to take your website back "offline" once launched with a similar placeholder seen by those who visit.
Publishing Your Coming Soon/Maintenance Page
When you're done styling your Coming Soon or Maintenance page all you have to do is revisit the General tab from the beginning and switch your status from Disabled to enable either option. From that moment on you'll visitors will see a sweet looking placeholder that allows them to sign up for a newsletter or follow your social accounts.