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When launching a website the domain name is usually purchased before the content is ready.

What is considered best practice with these domains just floating in space? Should there be a 'coming soon' page, or is it better to just leave it floating around?

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11  
So, so tempted to post an answer that just says "Watch this space for an answer, coming soon." – Oddthinking Feb 4 at 0:43
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These were big back in the early days of the web but fell out of favor fast because numerous "Under Construction" sites were never completed. It's even worse to put a section like this on a live site - people associate it with vaporware, and think it's never coming. Put your energy into launching the actual site/sections when you have enough good content. (You don't need everything, but you need something) – Tim Feb 4 at 13:11

I don't bother with a "coming soon" page for a domain.

It won't help SEO

Search engines don't typically index coming soon pages, and even if they did, the coming soon page would only rank for the name of the website. No real progress on SEO can be made until there is actual content that contains keywords.

It could hurt SEO if you put on keywords

Putting keywords onto your coming soon page will just frustrate any visitors that you do get. Visitors like to see something they can use. If they got to your site and found "coming soon", they would hit the back button to Google and look for something else. Nothing kills your rankings and reputation with Google faster than being unable to satisfy visitors that Google sends your way.

Nobody cares

The web is full of good intentions. Many websites are "coming soon" for months or years. Users take such notices with a huge grain of salt. Most users won't be interested unless your site works right now. Users that might care about your site know that it is probably faster to find alternatives.

Every website is "under construction"

Nothing on the web is ever "finished." All websites that want to remain relevant are adding new content and building out new features. Once your website has something on it that somebody can use, there is no place for "under construction" notices. They end up turning users away and distracting users from what you do have on your website that could work for them.

Do something better

Just launch your first page. I'd recommend creating a simple "About Us" page.

This website is owned by X. X has the following credentials.

Follow it up with a contact form, a cookie cutter privacy policy, cookie cutter terms of service, and then your first page of actual content.

Just a single coming soon page won't hurt

Just be aware that it probably isn't worth your time to create. It is really just for you.

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Ohhh, I like the "add one page" – Martijn Feb 4 at 8:10
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I like the "nobody cares" bit. How often do I return to a site that told me "coming soon"? Never. You might be really excited about your upcoming product launch, but I'm not. – Lightness Races in Orbit Feb 4 at 15:23

A coming soon page is slightly better. This is based on the assumption that the url will be checked out wether or not you promoted it. This page allows you to inform the user with whatever you want to tell them and tell them that something is going on, instead of serving them some harsh cold page:

  • If you know a date, you could share that date, possible with a counter, or something that build up to that moment. "Want to get notified when we're ready?"
  • If the site is under development, you could add a mini blog to it keeping people informed. This creates a little content for the viewer.
  • If you can add a little content, bots and users can see that the requested url is not a parked domain, but that there actually is someone working on it.
  • Are you providing products or a service? You could add an e-mailaddress, contactform or phone number so that users may contact you in another way

It's not really worth your effort to go all crazy on a page like this. A very simple page with just your name in a proper font, with 'coming soon' will suffice. As you have no changes, not much content, not much activity on this page, you'll be barely worth a bots time, so you wont get much out of it. This is for the accidental visitor.

Alternatively, you can choose to keep it out of sight on purpose. Add a simple loginform asking for a password before you show anything so that only legit users may pass through. Add no-index headers to the page to tell bots to ignore it. This allows you to upload the website to the actual server/domain and test is before going completely live.

Either way, the nineties style "we're under construction" type pages should stay in the nineties.Don't put to much effort into it. As soon as people see "coming soon", they're gone.

A better answer is coming soon, please visit again to see.

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In terms of SEO as well I think the fact the domain name carries some content related to the business/website will put you in good shape for when your website does go live. It also increases the "age" of the domain. Not by a whole lot, depending how quick you are releasing the proper site, but every little helps. – mickburkejnr Feb 4 at 9:59

If the website isn't particularly secret (e.g. a new product/service that shouldn't been announced yet) then starting with a landing page has its benefits.

As you're preparing your business, you're likely to be using the domain for email already. If you send an email from @exmaple.com and a recipient visits example.com then at least they'll have some indicator that a full website will be coming later. Otherwise they may wonder why there's no website there. You can also use this to write a bit about what the business will be.

If you do write a bit, then you have the added advantage of getting at least some search terms ranked early on. It's embarrassing to launch a business and have people not able to find you when searching your business name. Even a single page with some decent content will help alleviate that problem.

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Add a simple sign-up page where people can subscribe to your mailing list. Use something simple like Mailchimp to make it super easy.

Now you can gauge interest before your site even exists. Get 100,000 subscriptions overnight? It's probably time to figure out how to get money from these individuals. You can probably make enough to make a decent living pretty quickly.

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While on one hand my answer will give some similar advice already given, I will add a bit more for a better understanding.

Google is a registrar for a good reason. How that manifests is not entirely clear, however, we know that it gives access to domain name registration information at the very least. I do know that Google had agreements for years with some registrars at one point that allowed Google to know about new domain names quickly and analyze the registration information as part of the trust metrics. With Google being a registrar, it is possible that Google can automate this process with less dependency upon others who may not always cooperate or have Googles best interest in mind.

That said, a couple of years ago, I developed a one page website for our Antiques events. It was a simple site, but I took a bit of time to make it look particularly nice and work about as well as I could before deploying. Since I am a firm believer in having a site to deploy immediately even if it is not complete, I registered the site after deploying it on my server. It was discovered and indexed within 20 minutes and began receiving search traffic within about 30 minutes. Amazing! The site has been successful (enough) ever since. We had people come from Ohio, Pittsburgh, Oregon, Virginia, just to give an example, that very year. As a point of reference, Google had already become a registrar by that time.

I encourage people to deploy at least a micro-site immediately. A simple one pager will do. If you can do more then that would be great! Give 'em (users) something for the price of a ticket (visit)! Share with them your excitement. From a marketing perspective, it makes sense to begin your jockeying for position within the search engine race and making your potential customers happy right out of the gate. They just may be willing to place a bet on your horse or at least hitch a ride. (I am out of metaphors.)

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If this is a new domain and you haven't promoted it yet (why would you if there is no site?) then just leave it and work on the site.

If you don't tell anyone about it and don't link to it it will be like a silent number and no one will find it.

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That's unhandy as search engines are still likely to find and reference the site. If content & URLs aren't agreed then you may actually be hurting yourself. – Andrew Lott Feb 3 at 12:54
    
@AndrewLott how does a search engine find a domain if there is no inbound links for them to follow? – Steve Feb 3 at 20:54
    
webmasters.stackexchange.com/q/22285/23812 - basically, it'll happen even if you don't want it to. – Andrew Lott Feb 3 at 22:19

You may want to also acquaint yourself with the legal implications. A 'coming soon' page could be construed as cyber squatting, leading to you losing any intellectual property suits. Whereas at least a simple starting page could protect you in such cases.

Note, I am not that familiar with this area of law, and my comments may not be completely accurate, but something to consider.

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Cybersquatting has nothing to do with the content of the home page. – Chenmunka Feb 4 at 18:48

First of all, make a robot txt file and put nofollow/noindex directive so search engine do not take your website as active website until this fully prepared.

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