As a business, your website maintenance automatically results in downtime for your business. Regular maintenance is necessary to upgrade your site, and this does result in visitors not being able to access the wealth of information on your site. Therefore, it is important that maintenance work on your business site should be taken care of as soon as possible.
During the time your site is inaccessible, you want to make sure you inform visitors and search engine bots of the work being done. Otherwise, all that will appear to them is a 404 error page telling them that the site they requested cannot be found. For visitors who are visiting your website for the first time, this error will make them doubt the very existence of your business. Most may think that you don’t take your business seriously enough to take care of your website, prompting them never to return.
Every time big companies have the slightest bit of work to do on their website, they put up a maintenance page notifying visitors of the work on the site and when that work is expected to be completed.
Like big firms, your business needs to have a well-designed page telling visitors that your site is temporarily under maintenance and when it will be back up.
Tips for designing a maintenance page
Keep it useful and simple
The placeholder page you design while your site is under maintenance doesn’t have to be fancy. The point of this page is to inform users that the site is currently under maintenance and will be back; it doesn’t have to go beyond that. Therefore, your company’s logo with a message such as, “Site down for maintenance, we will be back soon,” should be sufficient. If you are certain that your website will be up by a certain date or time, then you can mention that as well. But only do so if you are 100% sure that it will be up by then. Otherwise, visitors will return to find the same maintenance page and will not be happy about it.
For businesses that have customers in different countries, you can consider having the maintenance message displayed in the languages of countries where you operate. Make sure to not rely on an online translator, since they aren’t always accurate.
Display your contact information
You want visitors to know that while your site is down, your business isn’t. Therefore, your business number and email address should be displayed on the page as well. This allows them to give you a call or write you an email if they have any questions or concerns. Since they won’t be able to get information from your website, they should be able to approach you instead. This ensures your business continues to function even while your site is down.
Have a call for action in place
Contact information won’t be enough to engage those that land on your maintenance page. Maybe they just prefer to read about your business and its services before they contact you. You don’t want to lose them to the competition by not providing any basic information about your site while it is down. It is important to have links on the page to your social media, Medium, and any other pages you might have. Customers can get the information they need from these platforms while your main site is down, resulting in less actual downtime for your business.
A little humor can go a long way
Visiting a site that is under maintenance can be an inconvenience to your visitors. So why not lighten the mood with a little humor? Adding humor to your maintenance page shows visitors that your business can connect with customers, even during an inconvenient time. You can think of a humorous message that takes a different angle at your business or site content.
Soundcloud uses a pun along with its maintenance message. Seeing such a message doesn’t make the inconvenience as bad.
Give them an option to be informed when the site goes live again
Since they’ve come to your site to either learn more about your business, services, or access other forms of information, you want to give them an option to be informed when the site is back up. You can do that by giving them an option to submit their email address. Once the site is live, an email can be sent out to all the visitors that provided their email. This can also serve as a way for you to collect leads from your site even while it is under maintenance.
Turn the page into a marketing tactic
Think of this as an opportunity to create some buzz around your business. Rather than just your basic, “site under maintenance,” message, you can have one that creates intrigue and makes visitors want to come back. Let them know that you have something special in store for them and they should check back soon to see what it is. Customers will be interested in coming back again, wondering what’s in store.
Creating a maintenance page on WordPress with Coming Soon & Maintenance Mode
With all those tips in mind, you can move on to actually creating the maintenance page. For individuals who aren’t too savvy with design and WordPress altogether, the Coming Soon & Maintenance Mode PRO allows users to create appealing maintenance page. All you have to do is install the plugin, and it does most of the work for you. Then, just give it some guidance as far as the design and content you want on the page.
Once the plugin is installed, you can go to it in WordPress. You will have access to your user account and can create your maintenance mode within the plugin.
To start designing your maintenance page, first, click on the “Theme” tab on the left side.
Here, you will have access to over 100+ professionally designed themes that are suitable for any type of business. You can pick a theme that suits your business and even preview the theme before selecting it, so you know exactly how it will appear on your website.
After selecting your theme, move over to the “Design” tab. This lets you rearrange the page according to your preferences. You can move and add images, place content where you want, place a counter until the website goes live, and so on.
Here you will have the option to upload any images you want or pick from the 850,000+ pictures that are available in the plugin’s library. You can also edit the content and the counter of the page. As you can see from the screenshot below, you have the option to include videos, a map, and a subscription form, amongst others.
Coming Soon & Maintenance Mode PRO is a comprehensive plugin that enables users to make the most out of their maintenance page, keeping visitors informed and engaged even while the website is down.
You can customize your page to stand out from the average maintenance page designs you find online. This is where you can also add an email subscription module to the page. If you do decide to have the email module added, you can configure it to existing emailing software you use, such as MailChimp, under the “Autoresponder & Emailing Services” tab.
After you have finalized the design, hit the “Preview” button at the bottom of the page to see how the page you have designed will display on your site.
You can even give access to others to preview the page before it goes live so that you can get their feedback. To do this, click on the “Access” tab and create a secret access link to share your preview.
This plugin can run a whole demo before opting for it, making it a great option. This allows you to see how the page works before you commit.
Overall, this is one of the most comprehensive plugins on the market that gives site owners complete control of how they want their maintenance page to appear without needing to know the development aspects of web design.
You cannot avoid downtime when it comes to updating your website. Whether due to server issues or the need to fix or add features on your site, there will be times when the site will be down. Without a proper maintenance page, visitors may think your website has disappeared, and your business is no longer in service. Instead, the maintenance page lets them know that you are working on improving your site to better their user experience. If you decide to add an element of intrigue to your maintenance page, then you can bet that visitors will be waiting impatiently to see exactly what you have in store.