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Most of us, at one point or another, have run into those charming little pages on websites with the words 'Under Construction'. There is usually an eye catching graphic relating to construction efforts and some apologetic text (if you're lucky), stating that the page isn’t finished and the information is “coming soon”. Chances are that page has remained unaltered for quite some time.
The initial reaction of most website visitors to an under construction page is rarely positive. They clicked on a link because they wanted further information. The webmaster’s inclusion of the link infers that the information is there. When the visitor clicks and finds the page blank ... a negative @#$% reaction ensues.
Ostensibly, the purpose of an Under Construction blurb on a page is to let visitors know that content is expected to appear within the near future, and for them to check back until it does. Problems arise when said page is never updated or when the content is updated inconsistent to the expectations of the site visitors. An Under Construction blurb can be also be seen as a way to infer you are including content on a subject without actually providing any relevant content, thus raising suspicions of the true validity of the site.
On the other hand, an Under Construction blurb that notes when updates can be expected is useful in setting expectations and demonstrating that a website is updated consistently. Webmasters taking over a website can use such blurbs as placeholders while pages needing more attention are dealt with first.
The important point to note here is that an Under Construction blurb must have at the bare minimum an expected update timeline. Vague allusions such as "in the near future", "coming soon" and "in a timely manner" do not provide much credibility to visitors to your website. Months are decent, weeks are good and exact dates/times are best. Setting a timeline and adhering to it demonstrates to the viewing audience that the webmaster is dedicated to the upkeep of the website, and also provides deadlines for content development. This also builds the sense that you are actively communicating with your community/website visitors and can build anticipation for the launch of the info !
What Yakindo Advises
We usually advise clients that if the content isn’t ready, it’s best to leave the links off the website and add them once the new page/content is active, rather than including an under construction page on the website at launch.
It's easy to get busy with other matters in your company/organization and think that you can put off a part of your website content development for "when you have more time". That additional time is an elusive entity and getting around to the task is often delayed. It's important to think of the image this unfinished content on your website portrays about your organization/company.
It's much better to focus on a structure of achievable content development for your website re-design or re-development. Decide what text / pictures / media you have the time to develop before the site launch, and leave the "wouldn't it be great if we had this, but we don't have the time to do it now" content ... for later.
In summation, an Under Construction blurb should be used only with a firm, visible update timeline in place. This reduces viewer dissatisfaction and adds to the site’s credibility and sets deadlines for the web development team, both of which are essential to the smooth operation and growth of any website.
Just for some fun ... a great collection of "Under Construction" graphics