On your website’s launch day, you’re going to feel successful if you attract a lot of visitors who are engaged enough to:
- Read your content
- Give you their email address
- Share your content on social media
- Follow your social media channels
- Come back to your site another day.
These are great goals – and you can accomplish them all before your website is even visible to the public, by using a Coming Soon page as a central control panel for your pre-launch marketing. A Coming Soon page is an easy-to-create, interactive placeholder that can offer enticements for your site visitors to engage in the ways listed above – and can also encourage them to show up at your launch, so that the only sound you hear is not a great big thud, or, as they say in the trade, ‘crickets’.
In this article I’ll hit the high points of how you can market your WordPress site pre-launch using a Coming Soon page.
How a Coming Soon Page Moves Your Site’s Marketing Forward
If you know enough internet history to be familiar with the ‘under construction’ pages of yore, you may be feeling some discomfort thinking about putting up a page at your domain name saying your website’s not there yet. In the ’90s, it was a drag to load a site and see some hard-hatted cartoon character with a sawhorse and an open manhole telling you you’d completely wasted your time by coming to this location.
But today’s Coming Soon page is so far evolved from its Stone-Age placeholder ancestor that it hardly seems like the same species. At some point, some genius had the idea: ‘Hey! Instead of just telling visitors we’re not here, we could tell them stuff about us!’, and the rest is history.
So yes. With complete professionalism and credibility, you can use a Coming Soon page to build your brand, build anticipation, build your email list, build your social media presence, build your customer engagement, and build your launch potential, all while you’re busy building your website behind the scenes.
And you can do it using friendly plugins such as SeedProd for WordPress, which hook up all the technical bits, putting you in control of some massive capabilities.
Jumpstart Your SEO
It takes time to get your website indexed by search engines. Google is not exactly forthcoming about how they do things, but the scuttlebutt is that after it indexes a new website for the first time – which can take a few days or a few weeks – it pretty much sets the site aside for a few months to see whether it seems to be a good site. It’s common for a new site to take six to eight months to rank well in Google search results.
However, when you use a Coming Soon page, the countdown to search engine ranking starts sooner. Google will likely find your site before you’ve really launched it (probably well before, the way development schedules tend to go). They don’t care that your website says ‘Coming Soon’; they will treat it like a real (new) site.
Google actually suggests it’s a good idea to put up a Coming Soon page – the search engine can thus get started on finding out if this new site is spam or some other low-quality enterprise – and your Coming Soon page will of course give them no reason to think that’s so.
Don’t worry about search engines checking out your site before it’s got much in the way of content. At this point, pre-launch, the point is to earn the search engines’ trust – to have them know that you exist and you’re a well-behaved site; you can dazzle them later with your multitudinous pages of content.
For SEO purposes, your Coming Soon page should include a brief description of what your site is up to, and use SEO principles. Good practices [link to clickx Simple SEO post if available] include keeping a keyword theme in mind as you decide what content goes on the Coming Soon page, and using the keyword in your page title and meta description tag.
Two main things encourage search engines to like your site – unique content and quality backlinks. If you can have those things in place pre-launch, your SEO ranking may already be looking very good by the time your site is ready to launch.
One of the best ways to get quality backlinks is to offer quality content that people want to link to. Another great way is to get media coverage. As we will see, you can do both by having appropriate content available from your Coming Soon page.
Create a Simple Media Kit
A media kit is like your company’s résumé. You’re going to have to create one by the time your site launches anyway, so you might as well do it now – thereby adding descriptive content to your site (giving both search engines and human beings something to dig their teeth into) – and elevating your site with enough useful info in place so you can schmooze the press.
With your Coming Soon page, you have a nice place to send media who may be interested in talking to you, including bloggers you may want to network with.
By linking from your Coming Soon page to your media kit – or to its individual elements – you keep your main page clean and focused, while branding your site as professional enough to provide the press what they need in order to publicize you. It was good – and smart – of you not to force them to go track down all this info about your enterprise themselves if they want to write about you or otherwise feature you.
Your website page design may still be nowhere near final, but no worries; your media kit can be as simple as creating a pdf and uploading it. Here are some great examples. Keep in mind, though, that it’s the text search engines look at, not so much the graphics. Here are some great tips for optimizing pdfs for SEO.
What should be in your media kit? A thousand websites have a hundred ideas. Some media kits provide nothing but a version or two of their logo for download. But to really do yourself and the press a favor, your media kit should include at least:
- Contact info
- Company overview
- Biographies of key players
- Media coverage you’ve received.
Write a Blog
Just because you don’t have a website yet doesn’t mean you don’t have things to say. You can write about your industry, service, or product. You can write about problems and how you solve them. You can write about anything that will move your brand forward.
If you can create shareable or viral blog posts, and create posts that other sites want to link to, you are worth your weight in gold! And remember, unique content that other people link to will make search engines think you’re wonderful.
WordPress makes it easy to create a blog, and with the SeedProd plugin for WordPress it’s easy to link visitors from your Coming Soon page to your blog – even though your actual website does not yet exist.
Build Your Email List
Experts say your email list is one of your greatest assets. It’s remarkably cost-effective, plus it has a high conversion rate, and is useful for letting people know when your site has new content. During the pre-launch phase, your email list enables you to notify interested people of your progress toward launch, to find beta testers, to ask for feedback, to make pre-sales, and to build buzz in multiple ways.
Using a WordPress plugin like SeedProd, you can easily set your Coming Soon page up to collect email addresses from visitors. You can entice them to subscribe to your email list by promising them updates, a prize giveaway, a chance to beta test, first crack at usernames, or by giving something away for free such as a PDF or video series.
SeedProd (and some other plugins) also make it easy to connect your email subscription sign-up form to an email marketing service provider such as MailChimp in order to make sending bulk emails simple, and to manage your mailing list.
Get a Headstart on Social Media
Before you launch your website is the perfect time to begin building up your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube and other social media channels. Create accounts, make a profile, and post content.
On your Coming Soon page, you can show icons that link to your website’s various social media accounts so that visitors can follow what you’re posting.
And you can also show icons that let your visitors click to share your site on their social media accounts.
There’s no need to wait until your website is live before you take the internet by storm. By using a Coming Soon page, you can engage site visitors in ways that are extremely useful in advancing your marketing goals – and start building a community of loyal fans even though, behind the scenes, you may still be figuring out whether your product is animal, vegetable or mineral.