Website Pre-launch – How to Setup a Landing Page

by | Mar 8, 2015 | 0 comments

Note: This post of part of a series that we are doing that is following the creation of our first niche site.  If you are just joining us, be sure to check out the previous posts as well.

Announcing Our First Niche Site – The introduction post explaining why we are doing this and what a niche site is.

How to Select a Niche for Your Niche Site – An overview of the process we used for selecting our niche as well as the criteria that we used.

How to Select a Domain and Install WordPress for Your Niche Site – An overview of strategies to use when selecting your domain name and step by step instructions for installing WordPress.

So at this point we have our niche, our domain name and WordPress installed.  In this post, we are going to do a step that is optional, but we believe there is tremendous value, which is the pre-launch.

What is a “Pre-Launch”?

A pre-launch phase is before you officially launch your website.  To be honest, we have never done one of these when we previously launched a product or website.  There are some pros and cons to consider before you decide if you want to do a pre-launch.

Pros:

  • You can generate buzz for your new niche site while preparing to launch it
  • When you launch your site, you will have a list/community of people who are interested in it

Cons:

  • It will take some extra time to do
  • It may cost you some money

We did quite a bit of research to determine how we wanted to create our pre-launch landing page.  Essentially what this landing page is is one simple page on your website describing what is to come and collecting an email address from people for visit.

Here is an example of the landing page that we created.  It may seem simple, and overall it is, but it took us a lot of time to determine the right solution and to get everything configured just the way we wanted it.

niche-prelaunch-landing-page-resized

Installing a Pre-Launch WordPress Template

There are many option out there for how to create a landing page, some free and some paid.  Given that we are already using WordPress and trying to keep costs low as we launch this site, we primarily focused in on free options.

The simplest option and the one that we ended up going with was using a free WordPress theme designed for landing pages called Launch Effect.

launch-effect

 

A few of the reasons that we went with Launch Effect were the following:

  • It’s a WordPress theme and we are already using WordPress
  • It’s free, but it also has a paid option ($35 and $65) for those interested in additional features
    niche-launch-effect-free-vs-premium
  • It’s pretty quick and simple to setup

To install the template, follow these steps:

1. Navigate to the Launch Effect Free Download Page to download the template.

niche-launch-effect-free-download-resized

2. Upload and install the theme in WordPress.  Find the “Appearance” menu and select “Themes”.
niche-install-effect-theme-step2

3. While on “Themes”, select the “Add New” button.
niche-install-effect-theme-step3

4. Select the “Upload Theme” button.
niche-install-effect-theme-step4

5. Choose a file and select the file that you downloaded (most likely named something like launcheffect_lite_2.42.zip).

niche-install-effect-theme-step5

 

6. After you select the file, press the “Install Now” button.

niche-install-effect-theme-step6

 7. Finally, activate the

niche-install-effect-theme-step7

 Customizing the Pre-Launch Template

When you install the template, it is pretty plain out of the box.

niche-launch-effect-default

The next several steps will allow you to customize the text as well as the look and feel.  First, navigate to the Launch Effect menu and select Designer.

niche-launch-effect-setup

 

From the Designer, there are 3 main menus (Designer, Integrations, Stats).  We will walk through each section and call out the key fields to configure.

Designer

Global Settings

We didn’t change too much on this section.  For our niche site we decided to setup a Facebook page and a Twitter page, so we filled out the Social Icons section.

niche-launch-effect-config-social

Sign-Up Page

We first changed the text on the heading to be the title of our site.  We did not use a logo.

niche-launch-effect-logo-header

We also added a sub-header.

niche-launch-effect-sub-header

We also updated the body.

niche-launch-effect-body

We also didn’t want an auto response email, so we removed the email address.

niche-launch-effect-auto-respond

Product

These features are all premium so we did not touch them.

Theme

These features are all premium so we did not touch them.

Integrations

You don’t have to enable any integrations, but we went ahead and enabled 2 of them.

AWeber – Our email marketing platform.  This allows us to capture email addresses and contact interested parties when we launch.

Enable the integration between Launch Effect and AWeber.

niche-launch-effect-aweber-integration

Grab your authorization code and enter it into Launch Effects.

niche-launch-effect-aweber-integration2

Your page should look something like this.

niche-launch-effect-aweber

Google Analytics – Our tool to track traffic and activity on the site from our visitors.

niche-launch-effect-google-analytics

Stats

Stats

This page will show you who has signed up.

Export as CSV

This page will allow you to export all of the signups to a .csv file (comma separated).

And there you have it.  With that, you will now have a landing page that can begin collecting emails for you before you launch your niche site.

niche-prelaunch-landing-page-resized

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