In December of ’08 and March of ’09 I blogged about some of the cooler magazine-style themes I had seen for WordPress. Since writing those 2 posts we’ve seen the arrival of many more such themes which means once again I’ll revisit this topic very soon. But this post is not about magazine-style themes.
We all know what a parked domain is, right? For the newbie blogger let me explain. You have an idea you’d like to implement for a new site. You purchase a domain name and set yourself up with hosting. You may even have done a little pre-launch marketing. So far so good. The problem is most web hosts will display an ugly landing page to anyone visiting your site until you actually do something with that site. Most of these ugly landing pages are covered in ads making your site look like some kind of link farm. Fortunately there is a solution – a parked domain WordPress theme.
Even if you’re not quite ready to launch your new site you may as well as download/install WordPress since the entire process only takes a few minutes. Once you have done so you’re ready to install your parked domain theme until such time that you’re ready to launch your site.
On that note let’s take a look at the uber-cool parked domain themes I’ve been able to find.
1. LaunchPad (click image to enlarge)
LaunchPad, created by fellow Winnipeger Ian Stewart of ThemeShaper fame, is released under the GPL and is free to download and use. It comes with a theme options page where you can set your Feedburner ID. It even comes in three languages: French, Spanish and German. You can get more info on this theme from its official release page.
2. Ice Breaker (click image to enlarge)
Ice Breaker comes to us from design firm Custom Theme. You may know one of the 2 owners of Custom Theme as Leland of ThemeLab fame. The theme is highly configurable with everything being set in the backend via a theme options page. Some of the things you can set are Feedburner ID, feed URL and Twitter ID to name a few. The theme comes in 4 different colour variations – grey, red, blue and green and is released under the GPL. It is free to download and use. You can get more info on this theme from its official release page.
3. Changing Room (click image to enlarge)
Changing Room comes to us from Wordprezzie in the UK. It comes with a theme options page where you can set Feedburner settings and whatever text you want displayed. It comes in 2 colour variations – red and blue and is released under the GPL. The theme is free to download and use. You can get more info on this theme from its official release page.
4. UnderCon (click image to enlarge)
Undercon is the brainchild of Lim Cheng Soon and is available from ShoppingThemes. From the theme’s options page you can set title, description, Feedburner ID and even change the logo. It is released under the GPL and is free to download and use. You can get more info on this theme from its official release page. (link no longer active)
5. WP Blueprint (click image to enlarge)
WP Blueprint is a visually interesting idea from Eliseos. From the theme’s option page you can set both your Twitter and Feedburner ID. You can also include some text and insert a footer script. The theme comes with a countdown script which is also configurable from the options page. (in case you’re wondering that explains the numbers 56 16 05 33 you see in the image above) Unless I’m blind I couldn’t find any info on what license WP Blueprint is released under but it is free to download and use. You can get more info on this theme from its official release page.
6. Ready2Launch (click image to enlarge)
Ready2Launch is developed by Jakub Mikulas and comes packed with 6 different variations. From the theme’s options page you can configure the message you want displayed, your email and Twitter ID. It comes with a countdown script which can also be configured via the backend. Interestingly, if you choose to go with the countdown script, you can opt to display a special message of your choosing once the script counts down to zero. I’m not sure what license the theme is released under but I’ll assume the GPL since it is available in the WordPress theme repository. It is free to download and use. You can get more info on this theme from its official release page.
As an Added Bonus:
There are also a few plugins out there that will accomplish the same thing, two of which I’ll feature below. Both of these plugins are actually “maintenance mode” type plugins for use when you want to take your site offline for a short time for whatever reason, such as general maintenance, but can be easily used for displaying a splash page.
1. Maintenance Mode (click image to enlarge)
The plugin, from Software Guide, is very customizable. From its settings page you can configure the exact message to display, any pages/posts you want to still be accessible and even apply a 503 Service Unavailable HTTP header. I think the coolest feature about this plugin though is that it allows you to use a custom theme file to be displayed if you don’t like the default one. Simply create a new file called 503.php and upload it to your active theme’s directory. From the plugin’s settings page select the “Use 503.php from within the theme directory for the splash page” option and you’re good to go. If you choose this option you won’t be able to use any WordPress functions with it such as
get_sidebar() etc but you don’t need to – think of this as a static HTML landing page. If you choose this option you can create a new style sheet specifically for 503.php and pretty much do whatever you want with it – the sky is the limit. It is released under the GPL and is free to download and use. You can get more info on this plugin from its official release page.
This plugin, like the previously mentioned one, is highly customizable. It comes with a “count down” script which can be configured from the plugin’s settings options. You can choose to display whatever text you wish. The plugin comes with an amazing 11 style variations with the option to use your own if you don’t like any of them. Below you can view some screen shots of a few of the available styles. (click images to enlarge)
Style #1: The Truck
Style #2: The Monster
Style #3: Paint
Style #4: Lego
As I said, there are 11 variations in total on top of being able to create your very own. I’m unsure what license this plugin is released under but it is free to download and use. You can get more info on this plugin from its official release page.
Post updated 20 Dec 09