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Discussion Starter #1
What are your opinions about publishing your index page and having it under construction?



Here’s my “dilemma”:



I am having new business cards printed up and obviously want to put my web address on the business cards. The problem is my site is not done yet. I have already got a hosting company and registered my url. I was thinking of publishing my index (home) page with the layout of my site, a little blurb about what my company is about and a notice of “Under Construction”.



I don’t want to wait until my site is completed to put the web address on the business cards.



Any thoughts would be appreciated.
 

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As I did this yesterday for my new site and as a web designer I think it is what you should do... but, there is always a but.. do not use the words under construction.. A simple "coming soon" with an idea of what is coming soon should do.I am doing 3 webs myself right now.

Which will become my retail site.

My problem is time.. Oh and I do my own work on the tees. Best of luck.. let me know when you get the page up.. Lou Robin
 

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I say you should definitely put your website address on your new business cards.

I don't know if I would call it "under contruction", but I would put up a placeholder page with a estimated date of when you'll be live and maybe a quickie newsletter signup form.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
What about a small paragraph or two with some info on what my company is about?

Too much?

How much info should be there since no one will be able to purchase any items. I don't think I even want to show any items until the site is fully funtional?

I want to at least give an idea of what my clothing line is about, though. What do think?
 

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A small paragraph or two is good. A logo is also a good idea. Just try to make it look professional still with a clear date as to when you'll be live.

Some "coming soon" pages have been that way for years, so you need to make sure that people getting the website know that it IS actually/actively being worked on.

An outside the box suggestion: why not throw up quick blog to update visitors on the progress and company info. When the site actually launches you can use the blog as your "news" page.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the input, everybody. Great suggestions.;)

I'll get to work and let you know what I come up with, and you can tell me what you think! :D
 

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Comin'OutSwingin said:
What are your opinions about publishing your index page and having it under construction?


Do not under any circumstances use the actual words "Under Construction". It's extremely 1996 and has connotations of unfinished pages that are forever incomplete.

I think publishing an index page before the main site is okay though.

Comin'OutSwingin said:
I don’t want to wait until my site is completed to put the web address on the business cards.


Obviously it's preferable to be up and running before people are exposed to your business - people will be disappointed if they try to go to your website and they can't, but it's not the end of the world. If I was in your situation I would put the URL on the cards and have a placeholder website up.

As a customer I am more annoyed if the business card I get has no URL than if I go to it and the site isn't up yet.

Personally I'd question the need to show people my business card before I'd question the need to have the URL on it. Obviously business cards are useful and that may just be unavoidable for you, but the point I am making is that the website is, to me, extremely important - and having one that isn't open (but shows a committment to having one) is better than not having one at all.

Comin'OutSwingin said:
What about a small paragraph or two with some info on what my company is about?

Too much?

How much info should be there since no one will be able to purchase any items. I don't think I even want to show any items until the site is fully funtional?
Yep, a small blurb is a good idea. Having a picture or two of a design could be okay to create interest, or don't do that if you don't want to - I think that really depends on you and whether you want to pique people's interest now, or show everything at once when you launch.

Having sample products shows what you're about and shows that you have product ready to sell, so finishing the website will actually happen (i.e. the business is more than theoretical to you). On the other hand it can add clutter and maybe you don't want to tip your cards. Either way works in my opinion.

I think it's important to set a date (not to the day, but something like "Mid June 2006") and stick to it. As Rodney said there are a lot of coming soon pages that have been there for years so you need to make it clear you're not one of them. It also means people know when to check back if they remember it.

If a site doesn't say when it's going to be there I tend to just forget about it, if it's going to take too long to be up that's potentially a problem (3 or more months is very bad), and if it's not up when they say it will be that is pretty much a death knell. It's difficult to balance, but I think setting a date is important. There's nothing wrong with opening early, so you can always use a conservative estimate.

Make sure you have a functional e-mail address at the domain, and have that contact information available on the temporary page - it shows you are using the domain and that while the site isn't ready for the public yet it is an integral part of your business. If you are planning on having a mailing address or phone number then having that contact information there is also something to consider.

Basically a page that has all the alternate ways you can be contacted since their primary angle (the website) has been thwarted, and a small blurb so that if they just wanted to know what you were about that has been answered.

If you are planning on offering a newsletter then have the option to sign up for that on the splash page. That way people can sign up and forget about it, and when you launch they'll get an e-mail to remind them to go back. Who knows if anyone will actually sign up in the age of spam fear, but it's worth a shot.

The most important thing, in my opinion, is that a Coming Soon page should never have a scrollbar (unless you're going with the blog idea, in which case it shouldn't not have a scrollbar ;)). You can fit quite a bit of info in there, but it should be simple and very clean looking.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Okay, I got it. No "under construction", "coming soon"!

I really like the newsletter idea. I hadn't thought about that. I'll probably stay away from the blog. I can't think of too many things that would be relevant to put in one, and really don't know if I'll have the time to keep it updated.

I'm assuming the blurb about the company would need to be written with SEO in mind?
Obviously without coming across as "this is SEO!", but naturally so that people can be able to find the page while searching and learn what it's about?

Again I really appreciate the help!
 

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Entirely agree. Anything but Under Construction.

Especially with two animated gifs of workmen digging on either side.....

YE GAWDS!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Since it's just a "coming soon" page, what do you think about some flash animation?
Should this still be avoided, or do you think a little bit will be okay until the site is fully operational?
 

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Personally I don't like flash, but I guess that's just my personal preference.

Objectively speaking you cut down a (perhaps small) number of users who don't have it (or a compatible version) installed. You also increase load time, which for a one-page "we're not here yet" site doesn't really seem like a great idea ("I waited through five minutes of loading for THIS?").

On the other hand this is a different situation to a fully operational site. If it's minimal, tasteful, on point, and something you're interested in doing... yeah, it probably wouldn't really hurt, and might help create a professional (and more memorable - extra important in this case) impression in some viewers.
 

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Get a straight HTML page up w/ a few outbound links and get some incoming links somehow, explanation of what’s coming on the site (w/ your key words in that text), and your contact information. This will start the bots running through your page.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Okay, I'm almost done with the "coming soon" page.

I have a small dilemma. I have written (well, my beautiful wife wrote most of it) the main parts of the page. But as some of you know, I have a character that correlates with my company.
I want to show this character to visitors of the page, but I don't want the character to take the attention away from what they are reading about the company.

I was thinking of having a link that opened in another page with just a big pic of the character in it. I'm afraid that if I just have the character on the page that people will see the character before they understand what the company is about and not fully understand. If I have a link, they can read first. Then when they get to the part where I talk about the character, there will just be link to the pic.

Is there a better way to approach this?
 

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I wouldn't suggest opening the character in a new window.

You probably don't want to get *too* wordy on your coming soon page.

You could put the character/logo on the left and have the text explaining it on the right so people see both at the same time.

You could put the text at the top and then a couple of paragraphs down you could put the character/logo in between the paragraphs.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Maybe between the paragraphs. I would just love for people to be able to see it in a full page. I think you get a better appreciation for it that way. I don't know.

I'm done with writing and I have exactly 200 words. Too wordy?

How should I handle the newletter sign-up? Just a little box on the side offering the newsletter, with visitors just plugging in their email addy?
 

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Comin'OutSwingin said:
Maybe between the paragraphs. I would just love for people to be able to see it in a full page. I think you get a better appreciation for it that way. I don't know.

I'm done with writing and I have exactly 200 words. Too wordy?
200 words seems to be the recommended amount of text for SEO, so I'd stick with that. Also, having all relevant content (including your character) appear on one page is ideal, since each click the user has to make lessens the chances they'll follow through.

You might try wrapping the text around your character with CSS using the float property (i.e.
).
 
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