This advise is a very simple one but yet many business owners are doing a huge mistake.
Do you use your website to get new leads? Great, if you keep it online!
Just a couple of days ago I have seen a great designed website and wanted to know more about the person or agency behind the design. There was a link at the bottom which I have followed and I ended up on a Maintenance Page. Very bad!
It seems that the company is doing professional web designs and development, I’m just guessing from their Google Cache entries. However, the site just showed me a Maintenance Page: We are redesigning our page. January the 8th 2012.
So, professional looks different to me. Each single real professional agency or freelancer knows that you should leave your website online and develop the new site somewhere else. At least you should make your Maintenance Page interesting.
Here are some common pages I have seen in the past:
We are currently redesigning our website, please visit us later again
Maintenance, we are back in 2 hours
Website will be released on XX. November 2011
Right now it is 2012!
Whatever screen you are showing, it’s not a good idea without some basic details for your visitor.
Your visitor doesn’t care what you are doing on your website, they have visited you cause they have been looking for information. Feed them.
Let me list some important things you should always have on your maintenance screen IF you really have to shut your site down:
- Show your logo
- Leave a statement or information (Why is it down and what are you doing?)
- Use a contact form
- Mention when to expect your site back
Whatever your reason is to shutdown your website temporarily, leave some information for your visitor. Think about a new visitor, someone who doesn’t know anything about you. Give him something to be interested in, why should he pay you a visit again? What are you doing? What product or service are you offering? Give him a short introduction about what to expect.
Funnel your visitor
Generate a contact
We have reached one goal: We were able to get the visitor on our website, well done, so far.
Now we have to take the chance to funnel this visitor and that’s pretty simple.
Create a form to signup for more information about your status. This gives you the chance to invite your visitor to a later time again and you haven’t lost him yet.
I highly recommend to avoid shutting down your website!
If you need to do some testing, redesigning or development, try to do this on your local host. Replicate your website on your local machine, try to take use of XAMPP to get a server on your Mac or Windows machine.
There is even a more easier way, just an example: If you are using CPANEL, create a subdomain, a test database and install your clone within the new subdomain – password protected.
Now you got all the time you need to develop, redesign or test your website without affecting your live website.
If you have to shut down your website or if you need to add a placeholder for your upcoming project or product, be as specific as possible with your date. If you set a date to the public, get everything done to meet this deadline. There is nothing more worse than visiting a website, which should have been released 2 months ago, with the same old maintenance page.
You don’t have any date yet? No problem at all! Just don’t mention any release date if you are not 100% sure. But whatever you do on the maintenance page, don’t forget the sign-up form for your status update.
If you really need to shutdown your website to change it with your backup copy, new design or overall new website – keep the downtime as low as possible.
What about you?
Have you found yourself in this post? Which way of preparing your website do you take, a different one? Please let me know in your comment.