It always astonishes me when I see “under construction” pages on a website during a new website design. You know the ones I mean; they normally have a big banner of a construction sign or a picture of a workman’s hat. Maybe they even have a GIF of some flashing yellow lights.
This may have seemed like a good practice about 10 years ago, but now you really have to ask why these pages are still being used. The biggest problem with these pages is that they never seem to provide any information, even the basics such as what the site is about, a contact email or a telephone number. If a new website is being developed, then a temporary holding page of some sort is good, but it needs to have some information to go with it.
Below is an example of a holding page we created back in October 2011 for the Canning O’Neill Media website (www.mediacityoffices.co.uk).
This page, although simple, contains a design that was indicative of how the final design of the site turned out with the appropriate branding and colours. The main image was related to the industry, and the page contained the following:
- Clear contact telephone number
- Key information
- Email signup to notify visitors when the site goes live
- Social media links
- The company address
Although you could do more, as a temporary page until the site goes live this is perfect for what is needed.
The worst culprits in my mind are when there is already an existing site, and this is taken down either to be replaced with an “under construction” page or even a 404 error! Even if you’re unhappy with your current website, it seems nonsensical to remove all the cached pages of a site that have information about your business. Not only is this bad for potential visitors, but this can also affect your SEO if it remains like this for too long.
If you’re using a professional web design agency, during the design and development of your website, most companies will ensure that your site is unaffected until the new site goes live. A development server should be setup to you can view and test your site before it becomes visible to the general public. Only when you are completely happy with the new site should it go onto your live server.
So if you have an “under construction” page or are considering having one, perhaps rethink this strategy and have a useful holding page instead (or keep your current site live until the switch).