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Don’t use ‘Under Construction’ pages

There’s possibly nothing more disappointing when browsing a website than following a link only to be met with the message: Page Under Construction.

Although Under Construction pages are not as common as they used to be, they are still with us,  and often used by businesses who should know better.

Page Under Construction graphic

Nice graphic, but you could have spent time on your content instead.

Often they are accompanied by nice graphics, as if to somehow make sloppy look professional.

They could have used the time it took to make the graphic to put some information in the page instead!

Frustration and disappointment are the main reasons people give up on websites, and finding pages under construction is a great way to do both to your website visitors.

It also reflects badly on your business.

Customers

In many cases your website is the first contact your potential customers have with you.

You have promised but not delivered. They followed a link expecting information, only to be disappointed.

It looks like you can’t be bothered.

An obviously incomplete website could indicate a business that is disorganised – even a business about to go under.

Page Under Construction

Some sort of graphic involving roadworks – an old favourite on Under Construction pages

Under construction pages tend to stay that way a long time, if not forever, and most people will not check back soon, if at all.

Even the phrase Under Construction is negative – apart from being a little pompous and unhelpful in its language.

There are better ways to say it.

How to avoid using ‘Page Under Construction’

The simple rule is if your page isn’t ready, don’t put it on your website. And don’t release an incomplete website.

Don’t tell visitors what you don’t have – focus on what you can do here and now.

If the information is important to your website then put some brief useful information there. You can always go back later and add more.

Better to have something than nothing at all.

It’s part of the beauty of the web: You can change anything on your website at any time. Your website should never be finished.

Don’t say ‘Coming Soon’ without giving a date

Another under construction graphic

Not what you want to see on a web page

Often alongside Under Construction messages is an invitation to check back soon to see a completed page.

These almost never have an indication of date, so what does soon mean: In the next few minutes? Next week? Next month? Next year?

To the website visitor, ‘soon’ doesn’t mean anything without a context. So rather than ‘soon’, commit to a date and stick to it.

But still it’s easily avoided – and you’re still talking about what isn’t on your site.

Do you think there’s a place for Under Construction pages on websites? Have your say in the comments.

More information

Sitepoint: Top 7 Usability Blunders Of The Big Players

Openglobal.co.uk: Don’t display ‘under construction’ pages

Jakob Nielsen: 113 Design Guidelines for Homepage Usability

More Website Sins

Things to avoid saying and doing on your business website.

  1. Never say ‘Click Here’
  2. Don’t use ‘Under Construction’ pages
  3. Why you don’t need an FAQ page
  4. Why pop-up light boxes are a bad idea

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5 Responses to Don’t use ‘Under Construction’ pages

  1. Alexis March 22, 2014 at 8:46 pm #

    Awesome post! Was looking for something just like this to see if I should or should not have a “Coming Soon” home page. What do you think about something along the lines of, “Coming Soon-Sign Up For Our Newsletter In The Meantime”?

  2. Patrick Barnes March 22, 2014 at 9:16 pm #

    Thanks, Alexis.

    Generally for new sites we’re building we use a coming soon page and discourage search engines.

    But an email capture is a good solution, too, as you get the chance to build potential visitors – and therefore customers – before launch. Just try not to have it up there too long!

  3. Geddy August 19, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

    Nice.
    How about adding THIS to the list of ‘sins’….
    “The website “Smashing Magazine” would like to send you push notifications in Notification Center.”
    😀

  4. page under construction October 30, 2015 at 5:28 pm #

    i think they are fine when used properly

  5. Str8Eight May 18, 2018 at 3:46 pm #

    Many online takeaways are guilty of this, you think they would want to make it easy for people to find information, not having to downalod a PDF, then realise we need to download PDF reader because we’re on a friends computer just wanting to order a pizza.

    PDF’s do have their place however…”Download this information in PDF” option! I’m not always online so an offline PDF to digest is perfectly acceptable.

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