Guest post courtesy of Lisa-Ann Wilson
For many years, the ‘under construction’ page was the scourge of the internet. They were absolutely everywhere. Perhaps you’d seen a television promo, or heard through the digital grapevine about a wonderful new website that promised everything you’d ever dreamt of and more. You’d slowly type the address in your browser, press the enter key and then watch as the screen suddenly filled with under construction signs and little cartoons of men in hard hats.
Thankfully, that early trend seems to have passed and we’re now seeing a variety of ‘coming soon’ pages with a lot more functionality than we’d come to expect. With the rise of blogging, the development of Content Management Systems (CMS), platforms like WordPress and the great number of WordPress themes, the ease of implementing temporary pages becomes a snap.
- But what exactly makes a good Coming Soon theme?
- And how can you get the most out of it?
Ease of Use
The coming soon page will be instantly seen as a preview of things to come, so don’t make it needlessly complex or cluttered. Throwing everything you have at your visitors may seem like a good idea at the time, but you want to inform and impress–a confusing layout with too much going on does neither.
On the other hand, an optimized theme with a simple, yet stylish layout will give your coming soon page a touch of professionalism. Remember: Bigger is not always better.
When looking for a theme for your website, you will no doubt want something which isn’t just capable of being customized, but which is easy to customize. Of course, if you have an understanding of HTML and CSS, you can customize almost any theme, but otherwise this can be a bit daunting.
Thankfully, many themes come with the ability to customize certain aspects through the themes options–a feature which makes customizing your coming soon page a whole lot easier, even for the seasoned pro.
So your beautiful new website isn’t quite ready yet, but you don’t want your visitors to just sit there waiting for something to happen. This is the perfect opportunity to link them to some other useful websites. For instance, a travel blog might want to include links to the cheapest holiday deals or even the best place to get hold of travel money.
Obviously you wouldn’t want to link them to your main competitors but some well thought out connections could help your visitors find what they are looking for–and this could make them want to come back to your site when it eventually goes live.
Gone are the days when a coming soon page was a mere statement of your websites intent. Instead, you will want to implement a range of features that will help and inform your visitors, and may even increase demand for your site when it goes live.
- Sign-up and Subscription Forms: A little text box at the bottom of your coming soon page can mean a big difference to the number of visitors when your site launches. By encouraging visitors to subscribe before you launch, you can keep them informed so they know EXACTLY when to expect your site.
- Social Media Links & Buttons: With the rise of Facebook and Twitter, good use of social media is becoming increasingly important. By setting up a Facebook or Twitter account and linking it in to you coming soon page, you have a much greater control of what information your potential new visitors have access to–whether sneak previews of what your site has to offer or special promotions to use once the site has launched.
- Recent Comments & Tweets: Do not overlook the importance of hooking folks into the site. Providing a list of recent comments and tweets will allow you to create hype for your website before it’s even started. A great way to get people to your website is to get them talking.
- Development News: While you don’t want to overload people with technical information about servers, software and geeky mumbo jumbo, you will want to keep them updated on the progress of your website. Adding development news to your coming soon page will keep people up to speed and may add a certain amount of hype in itself. Of course, if one’s site is focused on technical things, it may be perfectly reasonable to express such information.
Of course, the design of one’s coming soon page should not be overlooked. You want something stylish yet unique and choosing the right website theme can give you access to an incredible design framework to build your page upon. But remember, your coming soon page shouldn’t look exactly like the theme you’re creating it from. Find something you like, a design that impresses you. Then use that to create something unique, a coming soon page which reflects and represents your brand.
In case you need some help deciding which coming soon theme would be best for you, here are a few popular choices:
- Placeholder: This clean and unobtrusive theme has social media links, subscription options and even a real-time counter which counts down to your site’s launch. Simple set up includes styling options within the themes menu.
- Ice Breaker: Again, this theme is functional and well-designed, but lacks the extra bells and whistles for a much sleeker finish. While you can change the background colours and some basic style options, more intensive edits require the use of Photoshop. The original PSD file is supplied, but this is aimed more towards design professionals.
- Ready2Launch: A highly customizable and altogether fun theme. This is actually a bundle of 10 themes based around the same design concept, allowing you to pick and choose from a number of base styles before customizing the theme further. This would be perfect for use by web designers who manage sites for a number of clients, or multi-site admins.
Share some of your custom Coming Soon themes and stories. Or feel free to ask questions and get more informed. We are here to help you get the most out of your online presence!
Guest post courtesy of Lisa-Ann Wilson