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Designing Web Maintenance Page

Web maintenance is indeed an inevitable, yet important part of web development. And when a website is being updated, sometimes, it has to go offline, which means both human visitors and search engine robots cannot access the whole website. And the best practice during the downtime period is to use the 503 status code or maintenance page, this is to advise the web visitors that the website is currently under maintenance. However, just because your website is down, it does not mean that you will have to be less creative when it comes to the design of your maintenance page.

Here are some web design tips you can use for your web maintenance page:

  1. Maintain the site’s look and feel. The design of your website is one of the elements that reflect your company’s brand identity. Thus, the design of your maintenance page should be closed to the general look and feel of your website. For your 503 status code, use the same color, typography, shapes, etc. of your website to keep it in unison with your site’s existing design.
  2. Make the message simple and useful. Maintenance page is used to inform the users that the unavailability of your website is just a temporary and it is not gone for good. Thus, keep your message short and simple. There is no need to elaborate all the details of the maintenance process. Just provide all the useful information that your visitors need to know. A simple, yet concise message like “Site is currently down for maintenance. We will be back in a couple of hours. Sorry for the inconvenience” will do the trick. Moreover, you may also include in your maintenance page the different language translations of your message to make it more useful for your foreign site visitors.
  3. Be compassionate or be humorous. Anything that is under maintenance provides inconvenience to the users. So whenever your website is offline, be compassionate with your visitors. Apologize for any troubles that it may cause to them. Give them the important information they ought to know or provide alternative ways on how they could keep in touch with you while your site is down for maintenance. Likewise, adding humor on the design of your web maintenance page could ease their inconvenience too. Put a funny mascot or avatar on your page and add some wits in your message to amuse and entertain your guests
  4. Give timeframe and updates. Make sure that you will not lose regular site patrons or even first time visitors during downtime. Inform them when they could visit your site again. Put a definite time and date that the maintenance period would probably be finished and stick with the schedule; otherwise you will annoy your guests. On the other hand, putting regular updates regarding the progress of your work will keep you engage with your visitors even your site is offline.

Web maintenance page is like the ‘first line of defense’ during server downtime. It is the first thing that your visitors see once they checked your website. Therefore, informing your users that your website is ‘temporarily unavailable’ may not be enough. Users might get annoyed due to the lack of information about why your website is inaccessible at the moment or when the upgrade period would be finished. They might navigate away from your website and may never return again. So to avoid this potential loss of visitors, you must not only notify them, you also need to be creative and clever with the design and content of your 503 status code to encourage your visitors to come back later on.

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