A lot of people don’t think about this much but you need a plan for those times when your site is down. For whatever reason that maybe, such as:

• You’re about to unveil a new, redesigned site
• You’re updating the site and you need to test everything to make sure it’s all working the way it should
• Your site has been hacked (gosh, I hope that never happens to you)
• Other — whatever the reason, it has to be a good enough one to temporarily close off your site

People need to see something that says you’re around

No matter what the reason, remember: people will always want to see your site. Even if it’s just to contact you or to look at an item they’ve been thinking of buying from you or to get one more look at the description of a service you offer. Or to read your blog. No matter what the reason, when people type in your URL, they need to see something.

What to put on your Coming Soon page

So, let’s say you decide to put up a Coming Soon or Under Construction (I hate that term! your site isn’t a road or a building, for crying out loud). There are several things you need to include so that it’s clear that you’re still in business and that people can get in touch with you if necessary:

Here’s a short list:

  • Your logo
  • A short tagline or slogan, if you have one
  • A very short reason why your site isn’t up
  • Ways to contact you, including: email – if you have several departments, list those separate emails
  • Address – optional
  • Social media – remind people to talk with you on any of these while your site’s off limits
  • A countdown timer – only if necessary and only if you can make the deadline! Something that says, “We will be back in 00:00:01…”
  • A link or even a form for people sign up for your email newsletter

If you can, design this page so that it matches the rest of your site. Uniformity is important. As small a thing as this page may seem to you, your customers are waiting for you. They need reassurance that you’re temporarily away and you’ll be back very soon. In this day and age of short attention spans and quick judgments, you don’t want people jumping to the conclusion that something is truly wrong with you and your business. It isn’t. You’re simply telling them that you’re coming back soon. And this is why telling them to speak with you through email, social media or even sign up for your newsletter underscores the fact that this is just temporary.

General time frame for keeping a site closed

There is no steadfast rule about this. But common sense tells me that the shorter the span of time, the better. I often tell clients not to leave a Coming Soon sign up for longer than a week. Some of my peers will cringe at that advice, but I’ve been in situations where the client suddenly thought of something that had to be done, and it meant keeping the Coming Soon sign up for a few days longer than expected. It happens.

Timing, obviously, is vital. If you’ve put one of those countdown clocks on your coming soon sign, you need to be ready when it hits zero. No ifs, ands or buts.

You’re lucky to live in a time where you can continue to communicate with customers through social media while your site is on hold. Yet still, most customers will want to do business with you, and having a fully functional site they can access is important.

So do your best. And keep it short ’n sweet.