Build the Perfect Coming Soon Page for WordPress in Just Four Steps
So you’re preparing to launch a new website? Building the perfect coming soon page is critical to creating momentum so that your new website launches with a big bang instead of a gentle pfft.
Fortunately, doing so isn’t nearly as difficult as you might think. With careful planning and a healthy dose of hard work, you will witness a veritable fireworks display of user engagement on launch day.
In this article, we’re going to tell you – in four steps – exactly what you need to do when building your coming soon page. Once we’re done, you’ll know exactly where to focus your efforts in order to maximize your results come launch day.
Step 1: Pick Your Objective and Set Your Metrics
First and foremost, before starting any project, you need to have an objective. Your coming soon page is no exception to that rule. It may be a temporary page, but it can have a huge impact on your launch and you don’t want to screw it up!
You’ll notice that I didn’t ask what your objective is. That’s because we already know what it is: You need traffic in the form of fans, customers, and ambassadors. In order to achieve that, you’ll need to establish a line of communication with as many of your website visitors as possible.
Yes, you’re excited to tell visitors about all the great things to come, but what’s more important is capturing their contact information so you can communicate with them at your convenience. So how do you do that?
There are three options:
- Build your social media following
- Build your email list
Trying to decide between social versus email can be tough. There are a lot of arguments pointing towards the idea that building an email list should be your first choice. Not only does the inbox present less competition, but you also own your list and it’s much easier to track from a conversion perspective. Plus, you can always work on converting fans to social followers after you’ve captured their information.
You don’t necessarily need to pick one objective completely at the expense of the other, but you should work towards a primary goal. That goal should then be broken down into actionable metrics which can be formed into a statement of intent. For example:
My goal is to build a 5,000+ strong email list during my pre-launch campaign, which will take place from Monday 29th June to Monday 28th September (launch day). I will convert 3% of unique visitors into email subscribers, which means that I will attract at least 167,000 unique visitors during my pre-launch campaign.
Note the positive language in use: “I will.” It doesn’t hurt to be confident.
Step 2: Build Your Page
Once you have decided what you will achieve, you need to build the entity that will facilitate the enabling of your statement of intent.
As with many things in WordPress, doing so starts with choosing a plugin.
You’ve got many options to choose from, but to make things a little easier, I’m going to narrow down your choice to three:
The Minimal Coming Soon & Maintenance Mode plugin for WordPress is a simple and lightweight plugin with powerful and flexible features. It does exactly what you expect a coming soon plugin to do and lets you build a beautiful coming soon page out-of-the-box in minutes.
This plugin offers loads of easy-to-use tools and integrations and clear, friendly instructions in an organized, tabbed layout, making it a joy to use.
If all you need is a basic coming soon page for your site, the free version provides a couple of customizable themes, drag-and-drop layout editing, integration with MailChimp, background image uploading, GDPR compliance, and more.
The PRO version is ideal for agencies, as it offers advanced features with 120+ customizable themes, 1 million+ free background image library, additional page layout modules, dozens of content animations, SEO options, Instagram filters, animated backgrounds, email integration with most services (Mailchimp, Aweber, Constant Contact, Zapier, etc.) including CRM, webinar, and marketing software, and access to premium support.
Some additional features worth noting about this plugin include the ability to give users like a client or collaborator a secret access link that allows them to skip the splash page and log into the site using a password, and compatibility with a Multisite network.
- One of the most popular of the three examples with over 300,000 active installs, WP Maintenance Mode is easy to use, quick to set up and places the most important features at your fingertips.
Of course, we’d be nuts not to mention our favorite — our very own Branda Pro. She’s a plugin that boasts WordPress white label branding, maintenance mode and coming soon landing pages, custom admin bars, and plenty more. Along with that, there are plenty of customization options, which are essential for creating a coming soon page that works well with your established (or up and coming) brand.
It’s up to you to decide which plugin is right for your specific needs, but either should serve you well. If you’re still on the fence about what’s best, you have plenty of other options. Be sure to check out our list on free coming soon plugins.
Step 3: Craft Your Message
A coming soon page puts you at a disadvantage right off the bat, because as soon as people realize there is no website to look at and no content to read, they’re not likely to stick around for more than a second or two. So when people land on your coming soon page, don’t waste any time getting to the point.
When crafting your message, accept that people won’t be nearly as interested in your story as you are. If you’re going to have a successful launch, you’ll need to be focused:
When it comes to signing up, don’t overwhelm visitors with choices. My recommendation is that you stick with an email sign up to start off with, then invite them to join you on social media when you have them ‘hooked’.
Having said that, if you want to give them the option to check you out on social media, some subtle (yet clearly recognizable) buttons somewhere on the page isn’t likely to do much harm:
Step 4: Launch Your Coming Soon Page
Developing a new website is a time-consuming process. It only makes sense that you use that time to your advantage. Doing so puts you in a much stronger position when the time comes to go live.
Before you launch, make sure that your email form is properly connected with your service to capture leads from early arrivals. Don’t assume, test it out.
Also, make sure that when the big day finally arrives, you’ll be there to hit the launch button. One of the great features of using a plugin like Coming Soon & Maintenance Mode, for example, is the dashboard that lets you turn on/off the coming soon remotely.
So, even if you’re away on vacation, you can still log into your dashboard. Then, just hit the launch button for any site in your network. It’s so easy, you can do it with one hand while holding your favorite beverage in the other.
Sooner is Better
By having your coming soon page live early on in the pre-launch process, you’ll have more time to build momentum. A 6–12 month lead time might not necessarily be unusual, but bear in mind that you’ll want to keep people engaged throughout your pre-launch period.
Instead of waiting for a product with no customers, when we finally launched we had over 20,000 people BEGGING to use our product. So you’re wondering what we did, aren’t you?
Perhaps the most astonishing fact that can be gleaned from the Mint.com story is that they were bigger than every single one of the competitor’s combined before they launched. That’s the power of an effective pre-launch phase in action.
Promote Like Crazy
Once your coming soon page is live and you’ve started generating visitor interest, you might think it’s time to sit back and relax. Not quite!
You can double up on your efforts by working your plan from the opposite direction. Use social media, networking, and personal connections to drive traffic back to your coming soon page, converting the people who may have entered your funnel from the opposite direction.
This is an ongoing effort, and you should constantly be referring back to your original statement of intent to see if you are on track. If you’re not, clearly you need to make a positive change.
We’ve touched on several points in this article, the most important of which that building the perfect coming soon page should be a very focused process. Your objective is to build a list of visitors, leads, or potential customers before you are even open for business. Here are those four steps once more:
- Choose your objective.
- Build your page.
- Craft your message.
- Launch your page.
So, avoid getting caught up in the technical aspects and use speed to your advantage. Then, promote like a banshee. When the time finally comes for your official website launch, you’ll be starting off with a bang.