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How To Capture Your Visitors Information, While Undergoing Site Maintenance

by DiTesco on July 21, 2011

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During the course of your online ventures, you may occasionally want to change your sites design, make some improvements, upgrades, and other tasks you don’t want your potential visitors to see. One way of doing this is to put your site under the so called “maintenance mode”. Rather than your website being visible and constantly changing, you instead present your visitors with a splash page saying that your site is undergoing maintenance or any other information you want, often times, asking them to check back soon.

There are many popular plugins that with help you create this splash page, but many of them offer very little functionality (unless it is a premium plugin). If the changes you are doing will only take very little time, I think it is ok, however, if you are going to some major changes or launching a new website, that is a different story. Anyway, would it not be nice if you can work with your WordPress site behind the scenes, while at the same time, capturing your potential visitors information and/or attention?

A short story:

Some months ago, I started to develop a website (DiTesco Consulting), to offer all of my consulting services under one roof. I felt it was better that way, since I have multiple related sites, and rather than creating individual pages on each of them, I figured that pointing the services I offered to just one site could be better, for many reasons. The site was launched in a hurry, and I left it there, unattended, until some weeks ago, when I decided to give it the attention it deserved. The site has some traffic so I said to myself, better put in under maintenance mode, while I do some work on it.

This is how it looked like.

ditesco consulting

Yeah, I know. Very lame and not compelling enough. The services, prices, and other information are all outdated and I am also not convinced that I chose the right theme. Anyway, if I wanted to go ahead with the project, I should be doing something about it, and do some major changes.

Since I was not so sure how long it will take me to finish the job, last week, I put it under “maintenance” mode. Installed one of the most popular WordPress plugins and it looked like this.

ditesco consulting splash

OK. Good… Now at least I can do anything I want. But still, something’s missing. Putting countdowns was lame and telling people to “try back again soon”, was not good enough. First time visitors, for example, will not know anything about what the website is all about and most likely will disappear for good.

Luckily, and just in time, I stumbled upon a new plugin that was quietly making its way in the WordPress repository, on WPMU.org. After installing the plugin, and making some easy tweaks, the sites splash page now looks like this.

ditesco consulting

Much better (I think). At least now, people can have a glimpse of what the site would be about. The logo, creates brand awareness, among other things, and if you noticed, there is a place for people to subscribe, making it possible in due time to let them know that your site is now up and running. Cool!

For now, the option to subscribe is on Feedburner only, but the developer is working on more options, which should be available on future updates.

Next obvious question, would be, what plugin makes this happen?

The Ultimate Coming Soon WordPress Plugin

Yes, that’s how the developer calls it and it is understandable. It is a fairly new plugin and there are so many things you can do with it, the example above is just one of them. All you need is a little bit of imagination.

coming soon wordpress plugin

Anyway, the Ultimate Coming Soon Page plugin allows you to quickly and easily set up a “coming soon page” for your website. It is fully customizable, and you can change the look and feel including background color and image, logo, fonts (includes Google fonts) etc.. Works with any WordPress theme.

Additional Features and Options:

  • Easily add Custom CSS and HTML (great if you know how to code)
  • (Will) work with several mailing list providers: FeedBurner for now (More Coming Soon)
  • Integrated Google Fonts (nice addition)
  • Visible to only non logged in users so you can build your site while visitors see the “Coming Soon” page.
  • Uses HTML5 & CSS3

Hard to believe that this plugin is free. And as I said earlier, I can think of many uses for this plugin, aside from just making a more “professional” looking coming soon page. You can for example create “landing” pages for your unused domain names, specially if they are keyword rich.

That’s it! Next time you need to put your website under “maintenance or development mode”, give this plugin a try. What do you think? What other uses can you think of right now for this plugin?

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+DiTesco is a Business and Inbound Marketing Consultant, and founder of iBlogzone.com. iBlogzone's main objective is to help startups and small business owners achieve success in their online ventures. | More About Me and my Consulting Services.

Francisco has written 708 articles at iBlogzone.com

1

TrafficColeman

July 21, 2011 at 3:04 pm

This is one of the oldest but still used strategies today. Its crazy how many people will input their info to be notified.

“Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

2 DiTesco July 23, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Hi Antonio. yeah, I hear you. There are some advantages on leaving a “place” where people can subscribe to be notified. As you said, it is tried and tested and as it so seems, still continues to be quite an interesting strategy..

3 Paul Salmon July 21, 2011 at 4:42 pm

That looks like a really useful plugin. There have been times where I have wanted to put my blog into maintenance mode, but didn’t like the message that appeared. That plugin is great in that you can customize the “Under Maintenance” page so your can better inform your visitors when you blog changes.

4 DiTesco July 23, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Hi Paul. Glad you liked the plugin. I think that it could really be useful and it is not intrusive at all. actually you can even “embed” a video if you want your visitors entertained :)

5

Jane | Find All Answers

July 21, 2011 at 4:44 pm

Love the name of the plugin – seems to be quite useful; I’m hearing about it for the first time. Let me check it out.

6 DiTesco July 23, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Hi Jane. Cool! I really like when somebody tells me that they are hearing about it “here” for the first time.. so inspiring :) Hope all is well with you. All the best..

7

Jane | Find All Answers

July 23, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Fran, to be honest most of the times I don’t say it to you coz whenever I see a Matt’s vid, I have to say it! You seriously have a direct line from him :)

8 Zarah Alvie July 21, 2011 at 6:32 pm

That’s useful plugin mostly web under maintenance like dead but this plugin is helpful.

9 DiTesco July 23, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Hi Zarah, my thoughts exactly. Thanks for stopping by

10 Lye Kuek Hin July 22, 2011 at 6:09 am

Hi DiTesco,

I will definitely install this plugin when i need some maintenance on my blog. You have displayed a very good example on what this plugin can do. Love the bright red color you have used. It’s striking.

11 DiTesco July 23, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Hi Lye. Thanks for your thoughts about the “striking” red. Actually, this will be the predominant color of Ditesco Consulting.. when I get it done :) Thanks for stopping by and all the best

12 Murray Lunn July 22, 2011 at 6:38 am

Hi DiTtesco,

Thanks for sharing this, I’ve been recently been working on a big revision that I want to bring to Murlu but wasn’t quite sure if I was just going to do a live update or maybe put it into some kind of maintenance mode during the downtime. I’m now leaning toward the later at this point because I think it could be used as a really exciting way to get people interested in what’s coming up; sort of a “sneak peak” if you will.

13 DiTesco July 23, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Hi Murray. Yep, that0s the whole idea about this plugin. Not only can you give your potential visitors some sort of “preview”, but a lot of other stuff. For example, as I told @Paul, you can even embed a video if you want ;-)

14 Sire July 22, 2011 at 11:40 am

That is actually a very professional looking “coming soon” page DiTesco.

Still what I usually do is to make all alterations on a test site.Once I’m happy with the way things look my Theme allows me to save it as a .csv file which I then import to my blog and all the changed are made instantly. This way my site is never offline and my readers are never denied access.

15 DiTesco July 23, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Hi Sire. Thanks for taking the time to stop by. For you, and since you got that awesome theme working for you, this plugin might not be that interesting. Running on a test site is a good idea, but since I did not want people to continue seeing that “dreaded” website (lol), I figured it was better to put it on that “mode” :)

16 Sire July 24, 2011 at 2:32 am

Heck, not everyone has a test site and so this plugin is the best alternative. I think I gave this post a tweet before because there are so many people who would find this plugin indispensable. Just in case I didn’t I’ll give it one now.

17 DiTesco July 24, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Thanks Sire and yeah, you already RTd the post.. thanks a bunch and enjoy the rest of your weekend.

18 Ana | best autoresponder July 22, 2011 at 11:40 am

I LOVE this idea and have actually seen one or two sites (non-WP) that have done this before. It was enticing enough for me to sign up. :-) Can’t wait for the plug-in!

19 DiTesco July 23, 2011 at 5:52 pm

So, have you signed up over there yet? LOL… Anyway, if there is someone who can put this to good use its you.. I will be curious to see what “other” creative ways you can do to use this plugin ;-)

20 Online Opportunities July 22, 2011 at 5:52 pm

That’s a good way to grow your email list while undergoing site maintenance but in my opinion there is no reason to have a maintenance page since you can do all the changes you want in a draft and just publish the new site style when it is ready

21 DiTesco July 23, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Hi. I understand what you are saying, however, the problem is right there.. I did not want people to continue seeing what was already there before. This is why I put it under “maintenance”.. :)

22 Atulperx July 22, 2011 at 6:08 pm

I never knew about this trick buddy. Let me try it and see what users are really looking for. thanks for sharing a nice source.

23 DiTesco July 23, 2011 at 5:56 pm

You are welcome. Hope you find it useful…

24 Bishwajeet @Comptalks July 23, 2011 at 7:16 am

For wordpress blogs you can also put your feedburner email subscription box out there on the homepage and people might subscribe it.

25 SEO Tips July 23, 2011 at 5:59 pm

Hi. I agree.. just can’t seem to figure out if that has something to do with this plugin :)

26

Ray

July 26, 2011 at 10:11 am

Personally I do not like a under maintenance splash page for long term. It is ok short term, but it don’t take google long to find that either. Do your think, clean up your site and re-activate it as soon as possible. Better than a blank page or error page but I don’t think it is a good idea for long term or several days anyway.

27 DiTesco July 26, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Hi Ray, obviously the faster you can bring your site up is better, no doubt. But, and there is always a but, in case you need it, I think that this plugin can do a good job :)

28

Satrap

August 31, 2011 at 5:40 pm

A while back (I think last year or so) I was in the same situation. I had to do some work on the site and I actually came across a similar plugin that would help you capture visitor info. I cant remember its name and since I deleted inactive plugins I can’t go to y plugin page and ind it.

This one seems like a good one as well. It truly is genius idea though.

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