I build websites with WordPress.
One of the common issues I run in to is how to build the site that I can give easy access to clients without having it viewable by the public and without having to make the client log in to the site when they just want a sneaky peek.
There are a few ways of doing this.
A popular method is to build the site on a test server then to migrate it to the actual website server then go live. This method can work for those who have the use of another server, but it’s quite cumbersome as it requires lots of changes to the site when it’s moved and you need to relink everything to the new hosting plan and link in the new database. If you know what you’re doing, this can be done relatively smoothly but it’s still a bit of a pain. Depending on your test server type, it can be problematic or cumbersome to show clients any progress.
Holding Page Themes
Another popular method is to use a holding page theme. This method is much better as it allows you to populate your content on the actual server you’ll be working with, however, the problem I have with this method is that you need to have the Holding Theme as the active theme and so you can’t actually work with the theme you intend to use for the site which makes it difficult for theme tweaking or for client previews.
Both of these methods are good but for me they are not great as they both feel like they have major issues for developers and for clients wanting to see progress on the site. As such, I’ve been searching for a solution and I think I’ve found one in a tidy little plugin.
SeedProd’s Coming Soon Pro & Free Version
SeedProd have produced an excellent plugin that acts as a catch all page for your site. The practical workings mean that , unless you are logged in and you have defined the access levels you desire, you can see how the site will look. Otherwise anyone else will see the coming soon page which can be styled how you like.
Here are some of the features from the pro version
- Works with any WordPress Theme – No matter which WordPress Theme you use SeedProd’s Coming Soon Pro will work with it.
- Visible only to non logged in Users – Work behind the scenes on your site while visitors and non logged in users see the coming soon page.
- Limit Access with Client View or Restrict by IP – Give your clients a secret link that allows them to bypass the Coming Soon page and view the website without logging in. You also have the option to enter an IP address to allow unrestricted access to view your site.
- Mobile Ready & Responsive – The responsive design and layout will look great in any browser size or mobile device.
- Maintenance Mode -Maintenance Mode allows you to notify search engines that you are down without affecting your rank by delivering the proper 503 header http status.
- Custom Look & Feel – Customs colors, fonts, sizes, layout and more. All in an easy to use interface. No Coding!
- Full Browser Backgrounds – Upload a hi-res photo and have it cover the screen no matter how the browser is resized.
- Display an Incentive after Sign Up – Offer visitors an incentive that will be shown after sign up like a free ebook, coupon code, etc. in exchange for their email.
- Progress Bar – Customizable progress bar with automatic completion calculation.
- Countdown Timer – Translation ready live Countdown Timer with auto launch.
- Go Viral with the built Referral and Tracking System – Email subscribers receive a unique url to share. This allows you to track who subscribed who and who is your most influential user.
- Insights – When you capture an email Coming Soon Pro tries to locate a picture and the first and last name of the user, even if you did not ask for one. It also tracks when and where the user signed up and who that user refers.
- Popular App integration:
- Typekit by Adobe
- Google Fonts
- Aweber Integration
- Constant Contact Integration
- Campaign Monitor Integration
- GetResponse Integration
- Gravity Forms Integration
- Google Analytics Support – Easily add your Google Analytics tracking code to see how visitors are interacting with your site.
- Shortcode Support – Use WordPress shortcodes from your favorite plugins.
- Custom Footer Branding – Display your company’s logo on a client site or your own. The logo stay fixed to the bottom right of the page so it’s always visible.
- Custom Favicon – Easily add your favicon to your coming soon page.
- Upgrade safe custom CSS & Template – Add your own custom css to tweak the design of your coming soon page or change the html in the template to fit your needs. All in an upgrade safe way.
- Exclude URLs – Sometimes you want to exclude certain pages from showing the Coming Soon page. Simply add in text from your url to the exclude field in the settings and voila.
Here are a few samples of sites I’m using the plugin with at the moment: