A compelling coming soon page can make or break a website launch. It allows you to find out how interested potential users/readers are beforehand and when done right can help you build a community base of user emails and social follows prior to launch. There are a number of tools out there specifically for this purpose but one that caught my eye recently was Seed Prod’s Coming Soon Pro.
After seeing some examples of what the Coming Soon Pro plugin could do I decided to get the developer license and test it out myself. I’m going to walk you through the process I took over the course of about half a day to make what I think turned out to be a really attractive coming soon page for the WordPress version of my popular tumblr blog – The Astonishing Post. Below is my final result, but like I said, I’ll walk you through how I got there step by step starting with my initial download and installation.
Download & Installation
The first thing you’ll want to do, if you’re buying this plugin, is go to the SeedProd pricing page and buy either the Developer Lifetime License or the Personal License. There is a 30 day money back guarantee, so I would say it’s worthy of a try even if you don’t end up sticking with it. There’s also a pretty extensive demo site set up if you’re uneasy about putting the money up for experimentation.
Once you’ve made your purchase you will immediately see a screen like this as well as receive all pertinent information in an email at the address you entered during purchase. Go ahead and download the plugin’s zipped folder here but don’t worry about leaving open the page because you can get back to the API Key later using the sign-in info sent via the email.
Once you have the Coming Soon Pro zipped folder, go to your WordPress Admin > Plugins > Add New > Upload and install the plugin.
When installation is complete, active the plugin and you will notice a new Coming Soon Pro option in your Settings Menu.
Configuring Coming Soon Pro
In the email you received upon purchase there will be a login and password that you can use to access your purchased download as well as the API key you need in the first stage of configuration. If you decided to close out of the earlier screen I showed above you’ll want to sign in here and copy the needed information.
By clicking on the new Coming Soon Pro option in your WP Admin you will be brought to this page. This is the general settings page for Coming Soon Pro. As you can see you’ll want to enter in the API key you were given and for the time being I suggest keeping your Status set to “Disable” while you experiment. Additionally, you have the options to include Google Analytics code as well as a custom favicon image.
The options page is where you will begin crafting your new coming soon page. This page is mostly about uploading your logo, writing good copy, and connecting your page with an email service provider. I ended up going with MailChimp because they start out free and it’s super easy to retrieve the necessary API key from your settings page there. In fact, all you have to do is click on the hyperlinked text “Get your API key” and it will take you to the correct MailChimp page – as long as you are logged in on MailChimp that is.
The style page is where you begin shaping the look and feel of the content written or uploaded on the Options page. The basics of this page are very easy to grasp and quite self explanatory. However, a tip provided by Seed Prod and one I found very valid is to make sure that your background image is of very high quality. For the most part, the “sleekness” of your coming soon page will depend on two design choices: logo and background image. Make them both as high quality as you possibly can.
After uploading your background image you’ll notice the options for font color, adding a shadow box, shadow box opacity, link color, and then headline and body fonts. I spent a great deal of time sifting through Google Fonts to find the right fit for my page, but you can use Adobe’s Typekit as well. Or custom CSS if that’s your thing.
Tip: as you make different style choices be sure to use the “Preview Coming Soon” button at the top of the Coming Soon page in order to assure you like the direction your page design is headed in.
After you’ve configured the options and style settings it’s a very quick process to completion. On the Incentive and Sharing page simply write a bit of incentive text and select the social buttons you would like displayed.
Also, you’ll be happy to know that once you do launch your website this plugin does not lose any value. If you ever want to display a maintenance page while you make site changes you can quickly and easily create one of those too. But since that is not the purpose of this post I’ll skip it for now.
Under Social Profiles simply fill in the urls to the appropriate social accounts you’d like linked to via the social icons displayed when the page is live.
If you need to get into the Advanced settings you probably know what you’re doing and don’t need me to belabor it for you. I didn’t do much on this page myself. All I found necessary was to fill in an SEO title and description. Once this is complete, you’re ready to save and publish.
Publishing Your Coming Soon Page
When you are ready to publish your new coming soon page return to the General tab/page and change the status from “Disabled” to “Enable Coming Soon Mode”. In the top right of your WP Admin you’ll see a red indicator like the one below.
And now you have an astonishing coming soon page that will hopefully help to build excitement and community for you product, blog, or online business.
Summary & Review
I found Seed Prod’s Coming Soon Pro plugin to be excellent. It was easy to install, configure, and implement. And for someone like me who is more creative than code it was awesome that I didn’t have to touch a scrap of code (besides inserting Google Analytics). With minimal promotion I have already begun seeing email sign-ups and I’m excited about the advantages this will provide me in launching a successful new website and business. I recommend this plugin for anyone.