You despise your website. The content is ancient, the colours are gross. And you go there every day, unable to look the poor thing squarely in the eye.
But wait – your new site is on its way! So why not put the old beast out of its misery, then slap up a quick ‘website coming soon’ page with an email signup form and social buttons? You’ll never have to click on that bloated left-hand navigation again.
Well, no. Unless your site has been hacked and is now advertising special interest fetish websites, keep everything exactly as it is. Right up until the go-live day of the new site, when you flick the switch and punch the air.
It ruins customer experience
Your old site might well be terrible. But it still has value – or at least it could have value, with a little care and attention. And just because you’re sick of its every foible, it doesn’t mean your customers are.
The ‘new website coming soon’ page also breaks the customer experience. It’s annoying being dumped in front of a one-pager with nothing to do but sign up to a non-existent email newsletter. (If you think you’re going to send an email newsletter after years of neglecting your web content, you need professional content counselling.)
That ‘coming soon’ page nukes your SEO
Over the years, your site has been indexed and ranked by Google. Pulling it down in favour of a ‘coming soon’ page will undo much of that good work. It will also break all of your inbound links.
You’ll start at zero again when the new site goes live – Google doesn’t care how much flashier it is. Brand spanking indeed.
Our alternative: the temporary fix
Go through your old website and repair the simple stuff – the words on the page, the images. You’re going to have to change this content anyway. In fact, you might be able to reuse some content on the new site, saving you a bit of effort.
If you’re a new business and don’t have a site right now, then maybe – maybe – you could get away with a ‘coming soon’ page while you wait for your developers. Just make sure the page points to your social channels. And make damn sure your social channels are fizzing with great content.