You have your domain name.
You have your web host.
You have a plan — either fully formed or merely an inkling — of the website that you would like to create. But it’s not ready for the world to see yet.
You have options. Depending on your web host and hosting plan, you may have access to a staging environment for developing your site.
If you don’t or if a “staging environment” is too intimidating, there’s another option for privately working on your site until you are satisfied with your efforts and / or have received the appropriate sign-offs.
Installing a “maintenance mode” or “coming soon” plugin accomplishes this. These plugins create a “landing” or “splash” page that can display information and — depending on the plugin — collect email addresses or other information from site visitors.
In the video example below, the freemium IgniteUp plugin was selected as it offers popular designs and functionality with the ability to remove branding.
If you obtain the following information before you begin configuring the plugin, you will be able to finish in one sitting:
- Message to display on the “splash” page, including any required disclaimers (example: “Paid for” language)
- Campaign logo (optional)
- Email address for person handling campaign inquiries (required for some designs)
- Mailchimp API credentials (optional)
- Photo (depending on design chosen)
- Not sure where to login? WPBeginner explains how to find your login URL
- When searching in the plugin directory, you can search by plugin name. In the video, the generic phrase “maintenance mode” was used to show that there are a number of options available.
- A campaign logo can be added by going to “Template Options > General > Logo.” Uploading a transparent png will allow the specified background color to bleed through the image.
- Collecting email addresses from interested supporters is an important campaign activity. Under the “Integrations” tab, provide your Mailchimp API key. Any site visitors who provide their email address will automatically be added to your email list.
- If you would like others to see the site while it is being developed, go the “General” tab and look for the item labeled “Skip with Secret URL.” Sharing the link will allow others to see the website beyond the splash screen.
Tip: When performing extensive changes on one’s site, reactivating the plugin can be helpful. Just remember to turn it off once finished. And don’t put a site in maintenance mode at times when there is a high number of visitors to a site or around the time that an advertising push is underway.