One of the most difficult things about starting a new blog or website is how to gain readership quickly.
Once you’ve launched your site, the clock is ticking and without visitors, your site is sitting on unused resources – which you’re paying for. That’s not even including the lack of benefits to your business, if you’re running one.
Then consider the lowly under construction page, which some of you might have seen before while browsing the web. Aside from just being a pretty placeholder, this page can help you out in many ways while your site is being made ready.
Here are a couple of compelling reasons for using a well thought out under construction page:
1. Start marketing early
By making use of a well-constructed page as a placeholder, you’re basically using the space as a giant billboard for marketing yourself. Let people know about you, your company or your product before the site is even launched.
2. Get Connected
Even better, include some call to actions such as button links to your Facebook page, where you can give out more frequent status updates, or build up hype about the launch date for your site. The possibilities are endless.
3. Collect leads
There is also a special opportunity to collect information about potential visitors if you include an email link or just a simple form to collect email address to add to your mailing list. Get quick feedback from the public about what they are looking for, and you’ll be ready for business.
All of this might sound like a lot of coding and work, but really it’s not, thanks to easy-to-use and powerful plugins such as Under Construction Page (UCP).
Whether you’re hoping for a special custom-design page or a simple click-to-use solution, UCP has it all.
Note: You can download UCP for free at WordPress.org. The PRO version is selling at $69/license and you can find more info at UnderConstructionPage.com.
Setting Up An Under Construction Page
Let’s go through a quick tour of the plugin to show you what’s available.
1. General Settings
This is where you can enable or disable the plugin. Aside from that, it has a timed mode so that you can set it to automatically turn on and off, which is useful if you’re doing site maintenance during a specific period.
Skip this first and come back later once you’ve designed or selected your Under Construction template.
2. Building the Page
If you’re too busy to design a custom page, UCP has a handful of standard pre-designed templates for you to choose from. There are 30 built-in templates for the free version and 100+ templates in UCP PRO. Just tweak each with your personal settings and you’re good to go.
However, it also features a drag-and-drop editor (PRO version only, $69/lifetime license), which you need to pay for you to completely customize an under construction page as well.
For free version users, you can select your page design from 30 pre-built templates from UCP.
For PRO version users, there will be two main options for you under the ‘Appearance’ tab: 1) Templates and 2) Your Pages.
100+ of built-in templates under “Templates” in UCP PRO. Move quickly and create a page in just a few clicks.
Or if you choose to design your own Page template, the following image is where you’ll end up.
The basics are simple – pull the building block you want from the left column and drop them on the canvas to the right.
From there, you can shift the placements around and configure them (add text, images, etc)
Pre-built templates in UCP
* Click to enlarge image.
3. Secure Your Site
Whether your site is open for business or not, UCP has built in security controls that let you handle traffic. For example, fi you decide the site is down, but still need to access it yourself, just whitelist your own IP. There are other settings available here to let you control the level of access of various users.
Check your own up address (This is usually assigned to you by your ISP) and add that to the whitelist box. Alternatively, you can whitelist by username but personally I’d not recommend that for security’s sake.
4. Connect to Other Services
UCP also has the ability to connect you to other services such as MailChimp or even a use a simple autoresponder.
Each of the services you’d like to connect has a different way to. Choose those you need and fill out the information there. For example, MailChimp requires an API Key and for you to choose which of your lists you’d like to use.
Remember that creating a solid presence is always a good thing about your website, no matter kind it is. Put forward your best foot, and let your readers see that you’re prepared, professional and open about what you are doing with your site.