How to handle technical difficulties

After reading an email that someone new is following me on Twitter (very exciting news, since I have about 3 followers so far), I go to the site and get this message on the homepage:

“Something is technically wrong. Thanks for noticing–we’re going to fix it up and have things back to normal soon.”

Apart from scheduled maintenance, do you think shutting down your whole site when having technical difficulties is the right thing to do?

I think it’s a good decision. It will save both you and your visitors wasted time and frustration.

You could spend hours answering lists of emails from irate customers about how your site isn’t working. Instead, shut it down, put up your message acknowledging the problem, let them know you’re working on it, and maybe throw in a funny message or picture to make them smile.

Be honest with your visitors. Most people will understand and come back later when you’re up and running again.

At least that’s my opinion, anyone out there have other ideas? Please share.

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