After the new WordPress update, I thought of recommending a cool free plugin you can use while working on your blog.
I use it any time I play with CSS on my blog or doing some tests I don’t want the readers to run into. For example, a few days ago, I have changed the top of my sidebar and redesigned the sign up widget. I also did some small changes in the header.
But that is not the point :) The point is that you don’t always want people to run into your blog while you are redesigning it, in case something goes wrong.
You know there are many possibilities for your WordPress update to go wrong, so you should protect your blog from crashing in front of your visitors’ eyes. Just hide it from them!
So the best friend of every blogger in this case would be the Maintenance Mode plugin. The plugin is free, in case you are wondering.
When to use Maintenance Mode plugin
- I use it when ever I am doing a WordPress update, just in case I crash the blog
- When ever I am doing a redesign, in case I am not sure how will it look, not to let readers see the bad design
- When ever I am coding something, in case the code doesn’t work, again not to let the readers see the mess
What does this plugin do for you
It displays a page informing people that your blog is under maintenance. The default version looks like this:
How to use Maintenance Mode plugin
The settings are pretty simple. My favorite feature is that the plugin will display a warning in your WP admin panel, no matter what you are doing, as long as it is active. It helps me not to forget about it.
The main thing is the activate/deactivate setting. It looks like this:
As you can see, you can set a timer for your splash page.
I always set it up when I know how long will I work on the blog. I think it is more likely people will come back if you tell them how long will the blog be down.
Another great thing is that you can fully customize the splash page with HTML. So, instead of displaying the default message you see in the first screenshot, you can display something funny.
So, including the two mentioned settings, here is the list of settings in your plugin settings window:
- Activate/Deactivate Maintenance Mode
- Message – this is where you edit the page that will display while under maintenance
- Splash Page Theme – you can choose a theme you want to display. Mine is set to default.
- Access to blog front-end and administration (back-end) – you can set if you want some users to be able to see the blog pages or access the admin panel. On my blog, while it is under maintenance, only I can see the blog, but some users can still access the admin panel.
- Paths to be still accessible – you can make some pages still visible while doing the maintenance.
- Miscellaneous – gives you the option to check a box to apply 503 Service Unavailable HTML header.
Well, now that you know people at least won’t see the mess you make while updating your blog, how about installing that WordPress plugin and getting it over with?
I am keeping track of the times I have the most visitors and I have noticed that the visits slightly drop after midnight EST and go back up after a few hours. Now this isn’t written in cement, considering that sometimes I get a lot of visits from Australia and they come at that exact time.
But I wanted to suggest that you should keep track of your traffic and see when you have the least of it.
That is the best time to work on your blog and put it to maintenance mode.
I did do some of the updates “in the middle of the day” and no one complained, but you still want your blog accessible as much as possible.
And now questions for you
I have some important questions for you, since this is something I really wonder about:
- What is the time you do maintenance on your blog?
- Do you make your blog accessible anyway and “hope for the best”?
- Do you use this or similar plugin when you are working on it?
I would appreciate a retweet and a share. If not, you can send me a box of chocolates :)