The Secret to Building Website Anticipation


You know how every so often you come across a website that has very little on it except the name and a date?

Like this one for a sports site that I came upon:


That’s it. And the email is an image, so you can’t copy and paste it should you wish to send an inquiry.

Here’s the thing that is fundamentally wrong with this: It generates no interest. 

While I mean no disrespect to what might otherwise be a very legit site doing legit things, I have to say that it’s hard to be enthused about a site that doesn’t  tell you what its about, and frankly, there’s no way I’ll remember to come back on April 1, which by the way is April Fool’s Day and isn’t an auspicious day to launch.

Instead here are 3 better ways to build anticipation, be it for a book release or a new feature on your site:

1. Use graphics

Use a graphic of what’s coming. Maybe that’s a book cover and if you don’t have a book cover, maybe it’s a mockup of a book. You can purchase stock images of blank books like this one. For Unusual Efforts, we can see it’s a sports site about soccer, but what makes it unusual? That the ball is hand-drawn? There are plenty of ways to convey this.

2. Give people a reason to care.

What’s good about waiting? If people have to wait, maybe you offer a free something or other for waiting…a sample chapter? A character profile page? Maybe you can put a few lines saying that your web designer elves are working SO HARD that you can’t even show what they’re doing…but if people follow along on Instagram, for example, you would SHOW the elves at work (and then plan a series of photos to Instgram showing people or things hard at work).

3. Pull people back.

You can use a few different tools to keep people there once they visit: ask them to join a special mailing list that will only be used to announce the launch of whatever it is (Mailchimp offers groups and segments to make this easy). Install a countdown timer plug in that allows people to see — and promise something huge on launch day like a free $25 Amazon gift certificate to one lucky winner. Something. Anything other than a date and a blank page.

4. Drop lots of hints.

Build anticipation by tweeting about the coming launch, with countdowns and reminders of the launch day. Give some hints as to what is different about your site, or what you plan to offer. Enlist others to help tweet or put out Instagram photos about it. Everyone loves hints! And the more you do it, the more you stay top of people’s minds.

In all cases, the idea behind building anticipation is to engage with your visitors. Remember that websites are like billboards. Visitors swing by, scan for 5 seconds, and then leave if they’re not hooked. HOOK THEM.

If you’re ready for a website that hooks people, contact us. We’d be happy to come up with ideas with you.

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