LaunchPad, The WordPress Domain Parking Theme

LaunchPad, The WordPress Domain Parking Theme

If you’re like me, you like registering domains. It’s exciting. But what’s not exciting is watching your hosting company or domain registrar turn your name into an ad-farm while you’re getting ready to launch your next WordPress blog. If you didn’t know it, that’s called domain parking; a way for hosts and domain registrars to capitalize on all the underdeveloped domains out there. That’s why I came up with LaunchPad, the WordPress Domain Parking Theme. To explain: if this theme had a motto it might be, “I’m not your billboard.”

Now with most hosts offering one-click installs of WordPress it couldn’t be easier to park your domain in style while you get your future blog ready. Just install WordPress, sign up for FeedBurner with email subscriptions (see instructions below) and you’re set! You get a professionally designed domain parking page—for free—that serves up an RSS feed link and a form for email updates.

But why bother? Well, let’s see what web design expert Mr. Meltdown, of Design Meltdown, thinks of “coming soon” pages like LaunchPad.

This type of landing page has dropped the annoying construction cones and replaced with relevant and useful features. Namely among this is a sign up form to be notified of an actual launch, beta release, or other significant milestone. And of course this is a great way to build a nice mailing list of people to market a new product to. After all, if they actually complete the form they are likely to be very interested. Link.

Sounds like a good idea to me!

LaunchPad Features

  • Theme Options Page
  • Integration with FeedBurner
  • Professional design and typesetting
  • GPL Licensed—it’s free and you’re free to mess with it.

LaunchPad Instructions

Using LaunchPad is simple, it installs like any other WordPress theme, but there’s a couple of things you’ll need to get ready beforehand.

Get a FeedBurner ID and Feedmail

For a theme that incorporates FeedBurner to build subscriptions before you’ve even started blogging, this one is necessary. Signing up for FeedBurner is easy and you were probably going to do it anyway. Visit and follow the instructions there. Once that’s done, login and visit your account page.

All you’ll need is the name of your FeedBurner feed address. That’s the text after “”. Copy it into a text file somewhere for easy reference.

While you’re here, sign up for Feedmail. Click the publicize tab and look for the Email Subscriptions link under services (as I write this, it’s the 4th item). Follow the setup instructions there—but don’t worry about pasting any code anywhere, LaunchPad does that all for you.

Credit has to go to Nathan Rice for showing me how to do this with his beautiful theme Elegant Blue. Thanks, Nathan!

Write your Welcome Post

When someone subscribes to your new blog with RSS they will be able to read any published posts. You don’t want them reading your “Hello World!” post. Write a simple introduction to your new blog that outlines it’s genesis and your goals so your new subscribers will have something to read.

Set Theme Options

Simply copy your feed name into the options page …

… and You’re Done! You’re ready to launch your blog with LaunchPad!

Tips for Launching Your WordPress Blog with LaunchPad

There is really only one crucial tip for making the most of LaunchPad: let people know you have a URL. WordPress themes don’t work magic. You still have to market yourself. I recommend doing it in stages. First let your immediate friends and family know, then send out word on any social sites (like Facebook, LinkedIn, Hello Kitty Fan Club, etc.) you’re a member of. Follow that up with a link on an existing blog—if you have one. If you don’t have a blog I recommend getting one—using LaunchPad while you’re getting it ready of course!

Speaking of getting ready, make sure you read Collis Ta’eed’s two part Building a SuperBlog series on NorthXEast (Part two is here). It outlines the steps Collis took when launching FreelanceSwitch and his advice will help anyone launch their blog successfully. Without my LaunchPad theme, even. Imagine!

View the live demo or download.



Author: Ian Stewart

Canadian, designer, dad, and dork. I work at Automattic on .

341 thoughts on “LaunchPad, The WordPress Domain Parking Theme”

  1. How do I tweak the theme that I will eventually use while having LaunchPad on the landing page? How can I mess with my eventual site if Launchpad is the only page displayed?

  2. What a timely discovery for me. I’ve schedule a luanch of a new blog in January. I’ve just set up LaunchPad as my theme and have activated the RRS feed and Email Subscriptions from Feedburner. I’m quickly up and running. THAKKS TO YOUR EXTRAORDINARY LAUNCHPAD.

    While at your site, I’ve poked around. I’m also extremely intrigued by the Acarnas Theme. I’ll be considering a purchase as I start to develop my content. Curiously, I’m looking for a theme that is elegant, while also also some commerciality. Acarnas may be the ticket.

  3. I’ve been hunting all over for a decent parking solution and this is exactly what I’ve been looking for. I’ve got a ton of staged domains that are probably making my registrar a small fortune. Thanks for putting this together.

  4. Hello Ian. is there any way I can integrate the audio player of into the theme? I like my readers to listen to music while my blog runs with launchpad theme.

    The plugin author included a standalone player for index pages and parked domain pages here:

    but I do not know how to integrate them.

  5. It would be nice if we could change the colour of that bar. And the text, but its great idea that is implemented well. Good Shot. As we say in South Africa.

  6. Great theme, love the idea and the look, but can`t get it to work? The RSS always links to the hom-page and one can not see the actual feed. Any help greatly appreciated.

  7. Version 1.1 doesn’t work with the latest designs of Feedburner since it moved over to Google. I’ve updated the in index.php as follows to make it work. I thought it might help other people:

    <!– This is the original code, defunct as of FeedBurner’s transfer to Google
    <form action=”” method=”post” target=”popupwindow” onsubmit=”‘’, ‘popupwindow’, ‘scrollbars=yes,width=550,height=520’);return true”>
    Enter your email address:
    <input type=”hidden” value=”” name=”url”/>
    <input type=”hidden” value=”” name=”title”/>


    <form action=”” method=”post” target=”popupwindow” onsubmit=”‘’, ‘popupwindow’, ‘scrollbars=yes,width=550,height=520’);return true”>
      Enter your email address:
    <input type=”hidden” value=”” name=”uri”/>

    <input type=”hidden” value=”” name=”title”/>

  8. Just wanted to let you know that the theme doesn’t work since Google acquired Feedburner. It might still work with older Feedburner accounts but if you create a new Feedburner account the user-id and the code doesn’t work. I have replaced the code with the update Google code and it works fine now.

    Enter your email address:

    <input type="hidden" value="" name="title"/>

    I image the code most likely won’t post so you can email if you need more info.

    Thanks again for an awesome theme.

  9. Very nice theme. !!

    However, feedburner is a headache. I usually don’t have any trouble with things like this. For the most part it’s working. The email subscription is not. Activated the email sub on my feedburner account, followed all directions, triple checked all settings, and still feedburner keeps saying email sub is not active when i test the email subscription from my site…… is this some new bug since google acquired feedburner? Also I notice that there is NO “7 digit” ID number… its more like 20 digits of numbers and letters….. any ideas?

    1. Chris,
      Until Ian makes the update to the index.php file so that it works with google feedburner accounts, the simplest workaround is to cut and paste the feedburner email subscription code (On the Publicize tab once you’ve activated feedburner email subscriptions) into themes/launchpad/index.php (you can do this in the WP editor). Paste the code to overwrite what’s currently between the tags.
      You’ll need to do a bit of tweaking with the CSS to make it look exactly as before.

      Thanks for a great theme. Excellent way to publicize upcoming sites while you’re developing. I’m using it for my 360 VR panorama photography site Took me a little while to get the email subscription working, but well worth the effort. I’d never have managed anything so useful, so quickly on my own. Thanks for the heads up on feedburner too. This could be much less effort that than the mailman setup I currently use for email subs – saves having to do everything twice!
      Thanks again.

  10. Launchpad is a tidy little theme and this is my first time trying to use it. But I’ve run into a problem: Goodle Feedburner does not publish or display the IDs anymore. I did some Googling and saw that others are having the same issues. The previous way of locating the ID doesn’t display anything of use.

    Has anyone any ideas how to get the Feedburner ID as it is central to using Launchpad? Or is there a workaround?

    Thanks Ian, and all!

    1. There’s an update in the comments above. I’ll be submitting it to the Themes directory tonight. It’s been a bit of a delay. Sorry. Busy, busy busy. 🙂

  11. Hi Ian,
    Great theme you have put together here, one thing that I would notice, is that email subscriptions don’t work with new Feedburner Feeds since Google is trying to get them to work with Google Accounts.

    The Feed id is much longer than the 7 digits you have allowed for.

    Can we expect to see an updated theme, or am I free to go ahead and update it to work with the relaunched Feedburner?

  12. I’ve figured out why it’s not working: a stupid assumption on my part. Please be patient while it repair it. I’ll leave a comment when it’s fixed up. Cheers.

    1. Maybe I spoke too quick, I cant get it work as it show no email subscription where in fact I already set up.

      I left the id field empty.

    2. Ian~

      I feel like a moron! I have followed the steps above (as best I can tell) and am still receiving the cited error: The feed does not have subscriptions by email activated..

      [Before you ask… Yes, my feedburner email is activated].

      On WordPress they are still requesting a Feedburner Address AND a Feedburner ID under ‘Current Theme Options’ for this template; however, from reading the above responses you’ve given, it sounds like there is no need for an ID.

      I have not altered any of the coding that auto loaded when I activated this template directly on WP…. What in the sam-hill am I doing wrong?

      Thanks tons!!

  13. I can’t get it to work with the google feedburner as I can’t seem to find the feed id.
    When I subscribe it show there is no email subscription but in fact i already set up.

    Edit: I just added this: ?uri=adultloo in feed id

    You have to change adultloo to your site

  14. Hello,

    Like your themes,

    I have a problem with the subscribe feature though, maybe you can help me?

    whne somebody want to subscribe it comes up with this line “The feed does not have subscriptions by email enabled” but i already enabled it.

    Can you tell me what to do…..?


  15. I found the solution for ‘No email subscription’.
    What you have to do is to title your site exactly like one in Feedburner. I meant make no space like MusicLoo

    1. Let’s say your blog title maybe ‘Music Loo’ and your feedburner is ‘musicloo’, so you have to change your title from ‘Music Loo’ to ‘MusicLoo’

  16. I was also getting the error “The feed does not have subscriptions by email enabled”

    If you’ve already enabled email subscriptions in feedburner, it probably means you’re using an OLD version of the script downloaded from instead of the 1.4 LATEST version of the script available in the download link above on this site.

    I downloaded the latest version from the link above and reuploaded the functions.php and index.php files and it started working perfectly.

    In the OLD version you have to define TWO variables in the theme options.

    In the NEW version there’s only one variable to define in the theme options.

    Hope this helps someone else.

  17. Hey Ian,

    I love this theme and I am using it on several of my “to be lauched” web sites.

    I did find a bug; on line #34 it says:

    <input type=”hidden” value=”” name=”uri”/>

    This should say:

    <input type=”hidden” value=”” name=”uri”/>

    (feedburner_address used in form hidden field (URI) should be feedburner_id)

  18. So, I just ran into a situation where I need to develop my site while it being hidden by LaunchPad. I’ve got LP activated and I’m using the Theme Test Drive plugin to view the real theme I’ll be using for the site. However, I’ve just started publishing posts, but I still don’t want people to get updates of these in their Feedburner emails. I do still want them to get the email they have been getting after signing up, one that tells them a bit more about the site and what it’s all about.

    How can I keep them getting that post and not any of my “example posts” while I’m filling the site with content before the big reveal?

    Will changing the dates on my example posts work, if I keep my welcome post as the newest on the site?

    Any advice is greatly appreciated:)

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