Podcast Episode

251 – How to Create a Coming Soon Page for Your Site


  • FinCon Video by Ryan
  • WordPress Webinar
    • PHP for WordPress Beginners
    • October 2nd, 12pm EST
    • To follow up last month’s webinar, we’ll be diving in to learn very basic PHP and how you can tweak your theme’s code
    • Register Today!
  • One Time Secret
  • Weird Chrome WordPress bug has been fixed, update your Chrome Browser!
  • WordPress Annual Survey

Is there a plugin for that?

With more than 50,000 plugins in the WordPress repository, it’s hard to find the perfect one. Each week, I will highlight an interesting plugin form the repository.

For more great plugins, download my 50 Most Useful Plugins eBook.

WP Construction Mode is a plugin that displays a customizable Under Construction or Coming Soon landing page for all users except the admin. Perfect for developing on a live server!

Listener Feedback

Someone from the Financial Bloggers posed a question in a session. “For my video posts, on the home page, I upload a Featured Image that looks like a player so people will know on my home page that the post is a video post. This causes some confusion on the full-page post because I now have an image that’s not clickable”

How to Create a Coming Soon Page for Your Site


Mark as Private

By marking your post as private, only people that you give access to will be able to see your site.

Set up a Static Front Page

You could create a static front page that says coming soon. In order for it to work as a coming soon page, you will need to not configure a menu.

Self-Hosted WordPress

Keep an index.html page in your hosting account

If you are launching a new WordPress site, you will be able to install WordPress in your root directory and as long as there is an index.html file on your server, that page will pull up instead of your site. You’ll be able to see the rest of your site as long as you navigate to the specific URL.

Set up a Static Front Page

Similar to the WordPress.com solution, you could set a static front page and remove the menu and this would serve as a landing page for ‘Coming Soon’ page.

Use a coming Soon Plugin

There are a lot of these out there, some of the most popular are:

Call To Action

Sign up for next webinar

Full Transcript

Business Transcription is provided by GMR Transcription.

On today’s episode we will talk about how to create a coming soon page for your Word Press website. Welcome back to another episode of yourwebsiteengineer podcast. My name is Dustin Hartzler and welcome to this episode, Episode 251. I’d like to send out a special welcome to those who might be tuning in for the first time because of our interaction and our meeting at Fin Con, the Financial Bloggers Conference that happened this past weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was a lot of fun. I had a great session. It actually was a session that was inside the main expo hall and you had to have headphones on to hear over the roar of the noise of the expo hall.

It was really kind of neat. It was cool little environment and I was excited to share the different mistakes that Word Press users maybe making. I got a link in the show notes to a video that my friend Ryan did for me. He actually did some clips of me just presenting and I will put that in the show notes so you can see that in Episode 251. Also I’d like to let you know about the Word Press Webinar that’s happening. We try to do a Webinar once a month and that’s always the first Friday of every month and this month we’re going to follow up last month’s discussion. Last month we talked about HTML and CSS, this month we’re going to do PHP for Word Press beginners.

This is mainly going to share some information about how you can get different information from the Word Press database and how you’re website works and basically how the information is stored in a data base and how it gets pulled in for specific themes and categories and stuff like that. So it’s not going to be super intense but it will give you some oversight on how PHP works and how it works within Word Press. So if you’re interested head on over to yourwebsiteengineer.com/webinar, you can sign up and it will be on October 2nd at 12:00 PM Eastern and that’s Eastern Daylight Time.

A few more things that happened in the announcement, there is another site out there that’s called One Time Secret and you can find more at onetimesecret.com. This is a cool way if you ever have to get information from a client or if you want to send a user name and password to somebody, you can send this as a one-time secret. You can put all the information inside of there and then you have to create a password that you can give the person, so for example if I wanted to send my URL and all my log-in information for my website to somebody else, I would create all the information, I would make it in – I would package it up in this onetimesecret.com app and then I would call this person and say here’s the password and then they would use the password, they would get the information and then that’s completely destroyed. There’s no way to regain that information once the password has been unlocked.

So that was kind of a cool tool that I saw out there that I wanted to share, also there has been a weird Chrome bug for Word Press and it has been fixed now. The thing was happening if the left hand side – your menus was being – the display was being all wonky if you were using an older version of Chrome. I think version 35 point something was what actually fixed that, so if its still being a little wonky while you’re in your Word Press dashboard go ahead and close down Chrome, open it back up and it should have restarted and added the newest version of the software.

Lastly I just want to let you know and give you a reminder about the Word Press annual survey. There’s a link to it in the show notes, again at Episode 251 but basically this is an annual survey that happens every year that the results are talked about at the Word Camp US and so it’s mainly just asking you questions –.do you make money from Word Press? How are you using Word Press? How much do you charge per hour or if you’re a consultant? All these types of things – if you aren’t making money from Word Press, like there’s only two or three questions that you need to answer. If you’re a developer or you’re building websites for people and what not, it has a lot more questions for you. So be sure to check that out and you got a couple more weeks to do that before they start tallying all the results and giving that information to us in December.

Word Camp US is the weekend of December 5th and that will be located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the US. Is there a plug-in for that? There’s always a plug-in for that and this one actually kind of fits in with the whole theme and it just happened to be updated and it’s got more than 40,000 downloads but it’s called wpconstruction mode and it’s a plug-in that displays a customizable under construction or coming soon page. It’s a landing page for your website that will show for everybody except the people that are logged in as administrators.

So its perfect for you to make some changes to your website while the site’s still online or maybe your developing on a live server, that would be perfect for that. We’ll talk a little bit more about these different plug-ins in a few minutes when we get to the main segment of the show. Now I haven’t done this in quite a while but I do have a question that came in listener feedback and this is kind of an unusual listener feedback because it actually came at Fin Con and we were in a session together and the session had nothing really to do with Word Press. It was about creating videos and this guy had a question about videos and how they were displaying on a site.

So I kind of like interrupted a little bit of the presentation and kind of mentioned that I had a solution that we’d come and talk afterwards but I thought it was a good enough discussion that we should talk about it here very, very quickly. So the question was that this guy has a website and a blog, he’s all about financial blogging and occasionally he has posts that are video posts and he uploads an image to the featured image area with a little player button on top of it. So on the homepage when somebody clicks on it they know that it’s a video, when the click on the image that’s on the homepage it takes them to the single page for the blog post but in this particular case its actually displaying like the image at the very top – the featured image on the top, which looks like it’s a player but it’s not actually a player because the player is down below in the rest of the content.

He was wondering how he could get around doing that or is there any method of fixing that to make it less confusing for his visitors and I do agree that it is confusing because if somebody’s coming to your website and they click on what looks to be a video player and now it takes them to a new page that the features image looks like a video player and they have to try and click on that and that doesn’t work and then they have to scroll to actually get to the video then that’s a confusing why to actually have people find your video content or what not. So what I explained to him and there was actually a few people – I had like my own mini conferencers, like four people who wanted to know how to do this but basically what you want to do is you want to make sure that every video post has it’s own category.

The reason is because when a post has a category, a specific category, you can actually create a template page that has a distinct look based on what category that post is in. For example, like on my website if all of the posts that were tagged podcasts, I could do something specific and different then if they are tagged as a video post. I’ve done that to some extent. There’s some little tweaks that I’ve done within my site and so what I recommended is that you make sure that you are always tagging these video posts as video or some sort of like – they all follow some sort of theme and then what you can do is you can create a child theme and within that child theme you can just duplicate the category template and you can generate a category template page specifically for that template or specifically for that category.

What you can do is I recommend that you can just go ahead and remove the featured image post, which would be pretty nice, that would make it a lot easier or what you can do is you can actually hard code in some sort of like logo. So his was something like motivational Monday mornings was what he was calling these videos and what he could do is he could create a logo for that and that could be at the top of every one of those pages. It’s a unique situation but with the flexibility of Word Press you could actually do some really, really cool things. As long as he’s categorizing these in different categories, as long as he’s tagged them each as individual categories then you can make one category template page and then that will work on any one of that specific category’s post.

So I thought that was something we could talk about just a little bit here on this week’s show. Now let’s move on to the main section and how to create a coming soon page for your website and this question comes a lot through the WordPress.com support questions. I’ve seen this a lot with people just asking for their self-hosted sites, so I thought I would break this down into two different methods. One – WordPress.com and then one self-hosted Word Press site and then there’s like five different ways, there’s like two for WordPress.com and three for self-hosted Word Press and we can actually do this and we can make a coming soon page or a construction page or under construction type page.

I do have to admit that these are the ways that I would tackle this but a lot of times depending on how much you’re doing, you probably don’t even need to put this up. Say you have a site live already and you’re site is up and running, you’re making some small tweaks, for the most part you can just go ahead and do that. If you’re doing a complete redesign then I would highly recommend just redesigning on a local server or on a development server and then move all the changes live and so you don’t really need these per se but there’s occasional times where you’re updating items to the store, you’re putting things – you’re rearranging things or you’re making some adjustments, you can put up one of these under construction pages.

The coming soon page is really nice in the fact that if you’re doing a coming soon page and then you’re just letting people know hey I’m building this site out, there’s nothing here right now but come back soon for more information. So how you would do this on WordPress.com, let’s first start there, the first one is you can mark the site as private and what that does is it basically makes the ability for nobody to see anything unless you have access via that Wordpress.com site. If you’re doing this you can mark your entire site as private, search engines can’t see it and what not but when you navigate to the site it looks like it’s a perfectly legit site that’s online and running because that’s just how it looks because you have the admin access to see that.

So that is one way to do that if you lock it as private then anybody that comes to that site says there’s nothing to be displayed, so that’s okay if you’re doing that for a brand new site. The other thing that you can do on a Wordpress.com site is you can actually just set up a static front page and so what you would do is you would go like you normally do, you would go and create a page and then set that as a home page and then you could just put coming soon or sign up now. Now what you could do with Wordpress.com you could put like the box to add an email address so people could start following you via Wordpress.com and you can put a follow button.

You can’t do a lot with like email subscriptions and stuff like that on Wordpress.com, so you really couldn’t start collecting email addresses right away but you could just set up that static front page. One small caveat is that you will have to make sure that your menus are disabled throughout your site because if you have this coming soon page then if there’s menus there than people can just click around the coming soon page and then get to any part of your site. That will make it a little bit more difficult to actually customize and set up your site because you don’t have your menu structured to navigate to different pages and so it’s not really the most ideal solution.

On Wordpress.com the best way to kind of set that coming soon, you don’t enter my site until I let you know is marking it as private. So that’s the way that I would recommend doing that. Now let’s move on over to the self-hosted site, what can we do on the self-hosted site to make sure that people can’t see our website until we’re absolutely ready. Well the first thing is if you are launching a new website and maybe you have an old static website or this is the first time, it’s a brand new site or whatever, you can actually just keep index.php there and you can use that and that will actually – as long you have – if there’s an index.php page on your Word Press server, on your server somewhere, then that page is going to be the default that loads very, very first.

How that would work is you can actually like install Word Press in your main root directory, then you add in index.html page and then you can customize that to do whatever you like, whether that be you put some real custom fonts in there, maybe it’s just a big image, maybe you created this custom photo shop document, you can turn that into a nice looking design. You can do all of this and then when somebody hits your website they go to your website.com then it’s going to show this page. You can add programming features in there like how many minutes until we launch or sign up for my newsletter, stuff like that. You have 100 percent complete control on what that page looks like and then if you want to actually work on your Word Press site, then you have to go to yoursite.com/wp-admin and then you can log-in to the back end and every page you would customize you could view that page.

Maybe you have an About page, then you would go to mysite.com/about and you can just navigate internally but nobody else would be able to get there. Granted if they knew what those urls are, if they would go to your site and start trying like /about or /contact, they probably could find it but for the most part people aren’t really interested in doing that if they come to your site and they see that it’s coming soon, sign up for my email list, they probably won’t start poking around to try to find out more information. So that’s one way you can do it. If you want complete control over what your website looks like when somebody is coming for the very first time and your site isn’t done, you can just create an index.html page and completely control that experience.

The other thing you can do is very much similar to how it was done on WordPress.com, you could set up a static front page and all the caveats and stuff still apply there. You want to make sure that you could remove your menu and then you would just have a page and you would call it coming soon page and then just put that information there. On this however, if you do it this way on self-hosted, you can also embed contact forms, you can do all kinds of different things if you wanted to, you could collect email addresses, you could put social buttons and stuff there, you could really customize that experience based on what you could add to a post or a page on your Word Press site.

So that would be another way to do it, not the cleanest way whatsoever but another possible option and I’m saying like these options are like oh, this is the free option as if there’s a very premium version to do this but all of these options are free. The third way is to use a coming soon plug-in very much like the wp construction mode we talked about at the top of the show in the is there a plug-in for that section, there’s a few others out there called under construction and ultimate under construction along with wp construction method and or wp construction mode. So all of those are available as well, some of these things that I really like just because they have the features that are just kind of built in and you can add like some of them you can add mailchimp right too.

The cool part about these is how they work is your website will display this landing page if your not logged in to your site. If your logged in to your site then it looks normally like your building it, so if you’re building a website for a client then what you would do you would give them a user name and password and it doesn’t have to be at admin level username or password, it can just be an editor level or author or subscriber, whatever level you want to give them. Then they go to their website, then they click the log-in button and from the log-in button they can actually log in and start seeing their website, so that’s probably the cleanest way to do it.

This is a way you can actually customize it, you can either have them be under construction or coming soon or whatever that case may be and again they’re all limited versus how the plug-in is designed on the back end of what you can do and what you can’t do. I know that there used to be one that I used to use years and years ago that I just kind of customized and tweaked the plug-in itself and then that way I kind of used that as my own plug-in. So then when I launched every new site then it always had the same like four or five things so I didn’t have to continually update that every single time, like I didn’t have to configure that plug-in every single time.

So that was one way that you could do it. You could also add some custom code if you wanted to write to like a must use plug-in, something along those lines and then you can just add that code onto different sites and so if your coming soon page is very, very similar. I would recommend not really doing that for example if you do have a sign-up for more updates and those types of things on there, you want to make sure you change that integration each time whether it’s with mailchimp, raywebber or constant contact or what not. So those are the different ways I thought of off the top of my head of how to put an under construction page or a coming soon page. I’m sure there are plenty of different ways to do it. The main thing is you just really want to think about your users if you’re using a website or if you’re website’s been around for a really long time and then most of the time I would highly recommend just making those changes quickly and efficiently without actually going under construction if you will.

If it’s a brand new site you can put a coming page but if it’s a brand new site then most of the time there won’t be any traffic coming to your website. Maybe you put a – if you’re on a self-hosted site you can put one of those like fubar banners across the top and just say this site is being under development or whatever the case may be. So those are some thoughts, some things to think about when it comes to controlling what the users see while you’re making adjustments to your site. As always I’m going to recommend doing something locally and then making sure that everything is perfect locally before I roll that out and so I’ve honestly not used any of these tactics or things to make an under construction page. I’ve just always just gone ahead and launched it and pushed all my changes live.

I know that there are instances where you can use this or this may be needed so I wanted to point those out and talk about them on this week’s show. All right that is going to wrap up this episode. Thanks so much for tuning in. Remember if you’re interested in learning anything about PHP, it’s going to be some really, really basic stuff even the stuff along the lines of how you can add a little bit of code so your copyright date on your website is always correct. Mine used to always be three years outdated, I added one little line of PHP and now it always says 2015 or 2016, whatever the current year is. We’ll talk all about on the webinar and you can register at yourwebsiteengineer.com/webinar. That’s all I got for you this week. Take care.

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