If you are launching a new product or service then building up a pre-launch mailing list is one of the best ways to generate some initial buzz when you finally launch. You can read how I did on ThemeFurnace using this technique here. If you are working on something and have settled on the domain you are going to use, I recommend you get a coming soon page up right away and start teasing the new project on Twitter & Facebook etc - those initial emails you get added to your list are likely to be the early adopters who can help beta test when you launch and are more likely to share your new site on their social media accounts. In fact, I am currently working on a new project at the moment, here is the holding page if you would like to add your email to the list.
The plugin I chose to use for that holding page is a free plugin called "Coming Soon CC" , its free to download an use from the WordPress directory and they also offer a pro version from $29 which includes more themes to choose from, you can check that out here. It's a really well made and easy to use plugin so I thought I would do a post on how to set it up for your site.
Setting up The Plugin
After you install and activate the plugin, you can visit "Settings" > "Coming Soon CC Pro" where you will see 6 templates to choose from, if you are using the free version there will be just one default template here.
After you have picked a template to use, click "Activate" to choose it and then you can visit the "Settings" tab. Under the settings tab you can enter your license code, set the status to activated or deactivated, you can choose to disable it for certain user roles ( for instance admin, so you can work on the site itself while everyone else sees the coming soon page).
On the settings page, you can also place Google Analytics tracking code and choose how to collect email addresses. Currently you can add email addresses with MailChimp, Get Response, Campaign Monitor and use the WordPress database.
Customizing The Page
Once you have your theme and settings in place, you will want to begin customizing the page for your site - visit the "Content" tab and you can upload a logo, enter headline text, main message text and footer text. Here you can also upload a favicon and choose the text for your email submit box, submit button and thank you message.
To add the finishing touches to your design, visit the "Design" tab where you can choose a background color and upload a background image. The image I used was from a friend of mine's site, ISO republic - a great site where he provides high quality photos to use free of charge.
Finally, you can use the design page to tweak the colors of all the fonts and change the fonts to any of the Google fonts listed.
This is the default theme included in the free version of the plugin :
The "Calm" theme which I chose for my site :
The "Stylish" theme :
"Fitness" theme for Gyms and Personal trainers etc :
"Mobility" is aimed at mobile app sites:
And finally, "Chic" is a theme for fashion / designer sites :
If you want to try the plugin our for free, go and grab it from the directory here. You will be limited to the default theme or if you want more options you can get a pro license for $29 for use on one site, or unlimited sites for $49.
I recommend this plugin - its easy to setup, it doesnt have a million options for you to configure so you can get a nice looking coming soon page up reasonably fast which you can customize to fit your branding and then get on with the important job of finishing off your new site. The free default theme looks nice and for $29 having the option of 6 themes is well worth the money in my opinion. Check it out!