Allowing people to subscribe during website development while hiding site content

I have a website that I’m working on, using a slightly modified version of the Casper theme. The design is pretty much done, but I’m finishing off some content before I launch the website into outer space.

I’d like to start giving people the URL of my website and let them start subscribing or signing up as members (whichever terminology you prefer).

But I don’t want people to see any actual content yet - such as post titles, images, excerpts etc. - at least not in a way that they can clearly see the content - and it’s especially the text I’m concerned about (titles, excerpts and of course the blog posts themselves, and any images within the blog posts). I’m not as concerned about the images on the homepage… actually now that I think about it - I think it might be better if these images on the homepage were visible but the text was blurred.

I would be fine with them seeing the header (so on Casper, that’s a background image, nav menu, title and subtitle) - in fact I would prefer they could see this, so that they have some idea of what they are subscribing to or signing up for. I’m also fine with them seeing some pages that are linked to in the nav menu, such as the contact page, about page etc.

So one “solution”, the most obvious, would be to unpublish all of the posts and return them to “draft” status. The reason I’m inclined that option is that without these posts on the homepage it will look rather silly, less than aesthetic, unappealing, I think… so I guess what I’m hoping for is something like the ability to blur the titles and images and excerpts of posts on the homepage (and of course make these blog posts unclickable or unreachable) so that people can see there is content there (quite a large amount) that they are subscribing to (to give them a reason to subscribe) but not be able to actually see the content until it’s finished and polished.

I could do this blurring with CSS, of course, but that would be very easy for anyone with any web dev knowledge to circumvent.

I’m hoping somebody has a suggestion regarding this blurring idea or perhaps another suggestion entirely?

I would appreciate any responses, insight or suggestions! Thank you.

(And I realise I could temporarily point the domain at a completely separate landing page to just collect email addresses, but I’d prefer not to for the reason that I’d like people to be able to see what they are actually signing up for.)

It sounds like you want two separate Ghost sites. You have your main site which has no content on it and just the signup form, then you have your hidden development site (on a different domain or even just a local instance) where you create the content.

When it comes time to launch you can either

  1. Export all the content from your dev site and import into your main site
  2. Export the members list from the main site and import into your dev site, then swap the domains over so is now pointing at your “dev” site so that’s now your main site

After that you can drop the now-unused instance completely, or keep it around for further non-public development.