Nobody likes to land on a website that is down for maintenance. The customer gets frustrated and the store owner may lose sales. To make the best of a not-so-ideal situation, you must keep the visitors assured that everything is under control and normal conditions will return very soon. Below are some helpful tips (adapted from Smashing Magazine) to help you determine how you to build and use a Down for Maintenance Page.
#1: Simplicity + Usefulness
The entire point of a maintenance page is to let visitors know that your site is still around and that the maintenance is only temporary. It doesn’t need to do anything beyond that. Make sure it’s immediately apparent what your page is about and provide your visitors with the information they’re interested in.
It is also a good idea to make your maintenance page as accessible to as many people as possible by making your maintenance message in multiple languages. The Web is global, and while many of your visitors are likely to speak at least some English, some cannot. Just be wary of using online translators, as they can be less than accurate. The last thing you want your maintenance page to do is further confuse people, or worse — offend them.
#2: Remember the Inconvenience Factor
When your site is down, your regular visitors are inconvenienced. It’s a simple fact. But don’t let inconvenienced visitors turn into alienated visitors. Simply acknowledging that your site’s downtime is a pain for your visitors is often enough to satisfy them. Apologize for the downtime, give them information that’s useful to them, and make them feel like you realize what this means to them.
#3: Integrate Humor (It Calms the Customer!)
There’s no need to get too serious just because your site is down. Don’t be afraid to get silly with your jargon and/or visuals and add a bit of humor or entertainment to the page. Such efforts help to improve your site’s image in the eyes of visitors inconvenienced by the downtime. Think about different angles related to your site’s content that could be portrayed in a humorous light. Whether it’s doing something with your site’s logo or mascot, or even something seemingly unrelated to your site, there’s surely an angle out there for making your maintenance page funny.
#4: Integrated Styling (Make it Look Like the Rest of Your Website)
You want visitors to immediately realize that they have arrived at the correct place, even if your site doesn’t quite look the same as always. If your maintenance page bears no resemblance to your regular site, many visitors may just assume they’ve gone to the wrong URL without bothering to read what your page says.
Make sure your maintenance page includes your logo and keeps the same general color scheme as your site. Even these two simple things can make visitors feel more at ease when they reach an unexpected page. If you would like some help designing your page, we will be more than happy to do it for you.