Today I came across one of our hosting clients who had asked their web designer (not Web3) to refresh their website. The client asked them to put up a coming soon page saying that a new website was being built.
I was pained and shocked that the designer put up this landing page without any hesitation or concern about the clients actual best interests online.
Note: All entities have been blurred for anonymity. It is not in my interest to shame other businesses but rather to educate others who may be in this situation so that it is done right with the least destructive impact.
There are two main reasons why this coming soon page is a terrible idea.
- This new page takes no regard for the clients interests. Their entire website presence is gone and is just a landing page to promote the web designer.
- They had a good established website with hundreds of pages indexed in Google. Now they have nothing.
What the client actually wants
The business has a strong online presence and requires their website for new and existing customers. They want to grow their business and attract new customers to their business.
According to their hosting stats, they have an average of 330 visitors to the site every day. That works out to be about 10,000 visitors to the site for the month. 10,000 is no small number.
This business relies on people coming to their website for new sales. A good chunk of their business starts with people interacting with their brand. They have a portfolio of items that they are selling as well as information that customers will need to retrieve on various occasions.
They also have a number of articles and landing pages to help attract new customers.
The people that work in this business are very busy and do not have much experience with website best practices but know that it is extremely important for their business. That is why they wanted to inform new visitors that they have a new website coming.
The designer did what the client asked by putting up a coming soon page but it was at the expense of the businesses better interests.
If the business had a brand new website then this might have made sense because they would have nothing to lose. But because the business had a perfectly functioning website with lots of pages and a lot of traffic, putting up a coming soon page would have a very negative effect on the business. No customers will be able to access the pages they need to get to and no new leads will be coming to their site.
According to Google, the client had 393 pages indexed in Google.
The problem with this coming soon page is it redirects every single page on the website to the one coming soon page.
This means that all of the landing pages that have been setup to attract the right customers are gone.
This means that existing customers going to certain pages that they need to access now cant.
And all the 10,000 potential customers who are trying to reach this business will not be able to contact them like they could before. This will mean a huge drop in new leads for the business over the coming days/weeks until the new site is built.
What to do instead
What would have made a whole lot more sense for a business that has an existing website with hundreds of pages would be to simply add a banner section on the homepage informing the visitors that there is a new website on the way. This way, visitors wouldn’t lose access to being able to contact them and customers will remain happy.
If the business had a slider at the top of the header, then they could have added it in as a new slide. If they didn’t, and I recommend you don’t have a slider, then a simple section with one or two lines of text would suffice.
An alternative would be to have a banner bar “hello bar” at the very top of the website with the same text.
If the client is happy to go the “coming soon page” route, what they need is a simple page that tells all new and existing clients the most important information they need. This should include:
- Branding. The businesses colours, imagery, logos and anything else that makes up the identity should be prominent across the page.
- A brief description about the business and that a new website is coming and when to expect its arrival. Listing the designer who is going to build the site is not necessary. It needs to be about the business not about the designer.
- Contact information. This should both a phone number and email address/contact form. Any other relevant contact information such as address should be included too.
- Any relevant links that may be necessary for new customers. e.g. if the business was a law firm and they booked clients, having the booking calendar easily accessible so as to not stop any new customers from booking a consultation from you is important too.
The idea is to make it as least resistance for the user as possible. At the end of the day, a coming soon page is like a blockade in front of your businesses shop. Its stopping people from letting them in but can direct them to where they need to go whilst the shop is prepared for opening.
Coming soon pages for websites that previously existed are terrible for SEO and should be utilised in the shortest amount of time possible. I.e. get your website live ASAP!
Its also important that when the new website does go live that all existing pages have the correct redirects set in place. This is to ensure that if a user lands on e.g. https://web3.com.au/contact/-us but the new websites contact page is https://web3.com.au/contact/ that the user is redirected to the new location. Otherwise that is a major usability issue and any “SEO value” that has been gained on that page will be lost. Google sees “/contact-us” and “/contact” as two different pages even if the content is the same. So redirects are put in place to tell Google that the page has moved rather than been removed.
Update: The client listened to the feedback! Right after this was published, they got their coming soon page updated to a more constructive version. It now has their logo at the top and utilises their proper branding. It tells prospective clients that the website is being redesigned, when it will be back up and how to contact them in the meantime.
Its a shame about the wording mistake in the second paragraph but a much better improvement overall.
I hope this helps you understand that coming soon pages can be a very bad thing for your business if done incorrectly. With the current conditions of the Coronavirus at large, its very important that something so insignificant as a coming soon page does not affect your business too.