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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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