Flexible ‘Coming Soon’ WordPress Pages

SeedProd

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.

Test Servers

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
    • MailChimp
    • 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:

 

You can purchase the full plugin at SeedProd’s website or get the free version direct from the WordPress Repository.

Mark Robinson

Mark, Irish, Husband, Child of God. I've worked in media for 10 years firstly as an editor then I grew in to directing & producing. My inner geek indulges an appreciation for design and a love of WordPress.

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  1. says

    We used this on our site and LOVED IT. It integrated with MailChimp FLAWLESSLY so we could still collect email addresses. Link to our Facebook and Twitter were nice features to have as well.

    It was very easy for me to edit the site in the background and have others take a peek without too much trouble.

    Highly recommend…and of course pay the $$ for the pro version…it is WORTH IT!

  2. Curtis says

    Full disclosure, I build websites primarily in Drupal, not WordPress. But when looking at this functionality, it got me thinking how I could implement the same thing by setting more granular user permissions in Drupal, nothing more.

    Sure, all of the features described would have to be pieced together from various places, but they could be done. With a standard Drupal install, with no additional cost.

    Which makes me wonder, as WordPress moves beyond a blog engine to a full-feature website management system, it seems to be following more the model of Joomla! where to do anything interesting you have to pay $$ for some custom module, and less away from the open-source roots of WordPress, that Drupal still adheres to, where you can do anything for free, if you are willing to do a little research and plug the right pieces together.

    It seems to be more and more that the full usefulness of WordPress can only be realized if you are willing to spend $10 for a plugin here, and $20 for a plugin there. I’m not sure how that squares with the open-source philosophy that was WordPress’s roots. And I’m not sure where that leaves the non-professional developers who want to build websites but don’t want to pay a $10 fee every time we turn a corner. Any thoughts?

    Meanwile, I’ll just plug away with Drupal. Which never seems quite a slick as WordPress. But at least I can get things done and leave my credit card in my pocket.

    • says

      Hey Curtis,

      I would have to disagree! WordPress is open-source and what it seems to have conquered over others its intuitiveness.

      I’ve tried working with both Drupal and Joomla but I keep coming back to WordPress as it just feels easier! Maybe I’m just lazy and I know I’m not the most skilled coders which is why I sway towards WP.

      WordPress is very adaptable and when looking for extra functionality you have two main options: Use a plugin or hard code it in?

      There are lots of questions to ask when doing either around site speed, ease of use, budget etc. but it’s the fact that you can hard code it in that makes it just as open source as the others.

      For me what it comes down to is budget. Does my client have the budget for me to hard code something from scratch in to the theme? Then I have to ask, how long it will take for me to code what I need v’s the cost of buying a premium plugin.

      I think of it like buying code snippets. Others have already coded stuff for the functionality I require so why waste my time re-inventing the wheel when i can just adapt it for my project. On some occasions I have purchased a premium plugin and then hard coded that in to the theme too. If it means I save my client a day’s work then they are happy and they come back for more.

      As a developer – you can always leave your credit card securely nestled in your wallet with WordPress. I have one friend who is a code junkie and never invests in plugins!

      I’m not as good a coder as he so sometimes a premium plugin is worth my while

      • Curtis says

        Okay, good to know. Haven’t played around with WordPress coding much, but I may dig into it. There does seem to be a rather large ecosystem of fee-based plugins for WordPress, I guess that is sort of like “code for sale” if you think of it that way. If you are not a coder, then paying for a plugin probably makes sense.

        I think I found a further answer to my question at http://drupal.org/node/1833060#comment-6698978, which states it is sort of an unwritten agreement in the Drupal community to not charge for pre-written code (except for themes, of course). There is no hard, fast rule that prevents it, but charging for pre-written code seems quite rare in the Durpal world.

        Not that that, in itself, is a deal-breaker. WordPress is clearly easier to use and build a website with than Drupal. But a beginning website builder, with no budget (as many churches are), may be interested to know that the full functionality of Drupal and practically all pre-written plugins are available for free, while many advanced, pre-written features in WordPress require an additional fee.

        Of course, for Drupal, that means “free” in the same way that a puppy is “free”. Even with free Drupal code and plugins, there is still quite a bit of work in putting it all together and maintaining it. Still, for a beginning website builder with no budget, the extra “freeness” of Drupal may appeal to some people.

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