Last Updated on August 1, 2020
Running a business from a website is a lot like having a 24hr convenience store. We are so used to the internet being there and available whenever we want it. And we assume a website is up and running. But at times that isn’t always possible. What happens if you need to pause your website?
Why Would You Pause a Site?
Sometimes you need to take your site down for maintenance, make an upgrade or perhaps your office in the real world is moving and you won’t be able to process ecommerce orders. So, how can close your site without annoying your customers?Ready to Talk?
Turn off Your Shopping Cart – Pretty self-explanatory, but by turning off your shop, you’ll also stop any orders from coming through. You can leave the rest of the site turned on, allowing users to browse your catalog or reach out to you, but they won’t be able to place any orders. This is great if you’re changing warehouse or doing something on the back end that means you won’t be able to complete any orders while you pause your website.
If you choose to do this you have to remember three things. Tell your customers, or edit your site in some way so they understand when you’re closed and when you’ll be open again. You also need to stop the search engines from displaying your cart on the SERP. To do this you should de-index the page or block it from crawling through the robots.txt file.
Use an Intrusive Interstitial – If you’re going to block off the whole site with a popup or something similar we recommend you use an interstitial to get the idea front and center to anyone who visits your site. This way the visitor will be sure what is going on and will note that it is only temporary. While a change in content could be missed, or a post on the homepage, an intersentential will not.
If you’re going to set one up you will need to make sure that the server returns a 503 HTTP result code (“Service Unavailable”). This will tell Google not to index the content temporarily, without harming your ranking for one week. So as long as you’re planning on getting the site up and running again in 7 days you won’t lose any SEO credit. If you’re going to be down for longer than a week, your SEO rankings will start to be damaged whatever method you use.
Pause Your Website In No Time
These two options are the easiest ways to turn off your site without losing your ranking or your customers. As with closing a store in real time, the key is communication. If you’re running an online service, make sure you communicate well in advance to anyone who’s going to need access to your site and then follow the options above to catch any stragglers.