I am guessing you are likely here because you are starting a new blog or business, or maybe you are in the process of re-branding or giving your website a nice revamp (woo! go you)! Chances are, you have tried to figure to which of those hundred plugins you can use on your WordPress site that 1) Isn’t Ugly 2) Isn’t more complicated than figuring out Algebra 3) Free. Sound like you?
This was me when I first started my business. I had a free download a created, a blog and social media content calendar, but my site was no where near ready to launch. I really wanted to get subscribers so that I didn’t start off on my new venture with no support, whatsoever. I think I literally tried 5 or 6 plugins and didn’t like any of them. I really didn’t think it would be THAT hard to find a Coming Soon plugin that was simple and beautiful. And then BOOM.
Literally, the very last plugin I tried was amazing. It was so easy to use, I set it up in literally 10 minutes and it was branded and gorgeous. The Coming Soon CC plugin has just enough features to make it amazing and the best part is that it’s totally free and, if you are an added bonus type of gal (or guy) I found a way to cleverly add an opt in or free download.
If you prefer having a clean and simple plugin over a bulky maintenance mode page, or have given up after hours of exhausting research on Google, I have your solution. It’s simple, and it literally will take you 10 minutes (seriously).
How to Design a Free Coming Soon Plugin for your new blog or business.
Naturally, you will need to first grab the plugin and you can do that easily by navigating to the Chop Chop website, downloading it from the WordPress directory or simply by searching for it through your WordPress dashboard. Navigate to your dashboard, click plugins, search for ‘Coming Soon CC’ and then click the happy little install now button. Once the plugin has installed, activate it!
Next, you will find the Coming Soon editor underneath the Setting tab on your WordPress dashboard. Hover over setting and select the Coming Soon CC option. This will bring up the customizer so that you can get to work.
Now, this is the fun part. You will see that there is just one free option, and it really is perfect for what you need. If you want to upgrade for one of the other templates and more features, such as MailChimp integration, you can totally do so. The cost is $29 per month. Depending on how long you will have your page up for and how many subscribers you hope to attract, this may or may not be valuable to you.
NOTE- The free version of this plugin will send an email notification each time you get a new subscriber. Create a new folder in your inbox and label it ‘subscribers’. Every time you get a new one, add it to that specific folder. Once you are ready to launch, you can manually input your subscribers into MailChimp. Slightly inconvenient, yes, however it is a free plugin and for me it was totally worth the investment of my time.
This next nifty screen you may recognize if you have ever worked on the front end side of your blog through the customizer. Totally the same method here as far as designing fonts, colors and features. You have the option to add your logo, or if you don’t have one designed just yet, you can choose to use a text based logo instead. You can also add your favicon (which is that cute little icon you will see in the window beside your site name in the navigation bar).
Moving right along, you will now customize your header text and welcome message. Make sure it is super attention grabbing and tell people WHY they want to sign up for your list. Be brief, but really show your value here. If you want to add an opt-in incentive, keep going. I will show you how in just a bit.
..and onto the footer and subscriber boxes. You will see that the Footer box allows you to create a simple copyright. You can also customize your subscribe area which include the email input field, button text and thank you message that displays after someone subscribes (cha-ching, right).
Now, mind you, this simple copy right doesn’t protect your work from getting stolen (which I sure hope that it doesn’t) but it is a bit of security and at the very least, a deterrent from others who may get the inkling. If you want to learn how to make sure your blog is legal, Jade & Oak has a super email course that I took and found it to be really great! Check it out HERE. It’s free.
I told you this was SO easy!! We are literally breezing right through and almost done. An on brand, and awesome, coming soon page is not complete without splashes of your brand color. So lets paint this palette (erm, or something like that right?). Use your Brand Style Guide and those fancy little #hexcodes to add your brand colors wherever you like. You can also change the fonts to anything you like but just please don’t go font crazy! Stick with something that is pretty close to your brand, and that’s easy to read. Oh, and stay away from Comic Sans. That’s just a no-no in design world.
If you want to figure out more ways to use your Brand Style Guide, you can check out this post HERE.
Now, same steps. Change the fonts and colors for your button, social icons and thank you message. Think pops of color, with the primary colors being gray or black. You don’t want to do too much, I would say stick with 2-3. Now SAVE. We are moving on to the dashboard to complete the last final steps.
Okey dokey (isn’t that such a fun phrase?). Head on back over to your dashboard (but don’t forget to SAVE) and go back to the Settings, Coming Soon CC tab. Click on the Settings tab once you are in the Coming Soon CC editor. This section is super simple. Add your social media url’s (just leave the ones blank that you don’t use), input the email address you want notification sent to (this isn’t shown but literally, you can’t miss it) and if you want to track it, feel free to throw your Google Analytics code in there.
Last step is to ACTIVATE. And part-ay. Oh, and the party banner is meant to help you celebrate, it’s not included as a free plugin feature (but you knew that, right?).
How to add your Opt-In incentive so you can grow your list before you launch
You can add your freebie or bonus SO easily on this coming soon page. Go back to the customizer (remember, settings, coming soon cc, templates, customize) and find the ‘Message’ section. Underneath your welcome message, select Add Media. You will want to upload the cover of your freebie (ebook, guide, planner, etc). We will then link that cover image to your pdf download by uploading, selecting the image, choosing to link it to a ‘custom url’ and adding the link of the freebie file (what you want your subscribers to receive).
Your free gift will then be linked to the image, and once someone subscribes they will get the message (change this in step 4 below) telling them to download their free awesome thing by clicking on the book cover! Pretty genius right? Now this method will NOT work for a course or email course. However, if you want to funnel your subscribers into MailChimp, create a custom signup page in Mailchimp and direct readers there. You can choose to have the email and subscribe box hidden for Coming Soon CC (find this in the settings tab). You would then add a link to your MailChimp sign up form, customize your opt in process, and have your readers receive their free gift as part of the final welcome message.
How quickly did you get this done? In record time I am sure! This is what the coming soon page looks like when it is all put together. Super simple, on brand and totally beautiful! So not only do you get to brand the page, you can customize your welcome message, add an opt in incentive and encourage visitors to follow you on social. This is literally the best FREE coming soon plugin I could find, and setting it up in 10 minutes? You know I love it.
So how did this go for you? Do you have the Coming Soon page of your dreams? What on earth will you do with all of that extra time that you didn’t spend ‘googling’? I have an idea! You can always TWEET at me, or we can pick PINS together. I would totally love that.