I started a complicated analogy of custom license plates, the DMV, honeymooners, and, inevitably, prison riots. It just went off the rails, so I deleted it and am sticking to dignified directness in my writing tonight.
Often, we have to wait for a site to load. But what if you start to customize a users experience, even before she or he sees your site proper? I’m talking about a customer preloader, and it’s so easy!
For WordPress, there are plenty of preloader plugins. I chose the one that had been downloaded 10,000+, Preloader. It’s a free plugin, search for it and download (or upload, whatever’s your pleasure) and activate. You’ll need to upload a .gif for the custom preloader – I bought a really, truly cool radar one that turned out to be a little too complicated for me (it was a Photo shop file and I’m just too tired tonight). So I got a free one at Preloaders.net and it’s still pretty neat. Just upload your .gif to your WordPress Media library, add the file path to the settings in the plugin (it’s easier than it sounds, and they give instructions with pictures. All class, man) . The only *slightly* tricky part is adding the css to your header template, but you can do it! In my case I have simple hooks so it was even easier.
After that, it’s like a friendly welcome mat to your site. Like a favicon, a custom preloader is just one more way to set your website apart and show your are interested in creating the best user experience you can. Let me know if you have another way you prefer to handle your custom preloader!