Don't Forget to Design your 404 Error Page
Creating a 404 page may not be at the top of your list when designing a website. However, you don't want to overlook it. Of course, you don't want users to see a 404 page at all, but unfortunately, this happens frequently—especially when you’re DIY-ing your website, changing pages, and tweaking to get things just right. The good news is you can optimize your 404 page to work to your advantage. All you have to do is design one.
Here are 5 reasons to design a 404 Error Page.
1. Increase the number of indexed pages of your website in search engines
How would you like to ramp up your search traffic by getting more website pages indexed via your error 404 page?
Sweet. Isn’t it?
Make a custom error page and you can win.
So, how can you increase the number of indexed pages by creating a customized error 404 page?
By linking to random internal pages of your website from it.
2. It’s your chance to build a consistent brand image
Generic error 404 pages are a poor experience.
The design of the page must not confuse the reader to think they are on a different website or on a blocked web server.
In particular, your error 404 pages should use the same framework – heading, color scheme, fonts, logo, navigation, and footer.
3. Reengage an unhappy visitor Suppose you landed on a website seeking information on a particular subject. However, after clicking on a webpage from the search engine results, you do not get any answer. Rather, you’re presented with the ‘page not found’ error message
How does that make you feel?
That’s how a user would feel when they encounter an error code on your website as well.
When a visitor is met with an error on your website, you can re-engage them by providing relevant information or a link back to your homepage. This way you keep their attention.
4. Show your brand’s personality You can view your error 404 page as a chance to express yourself, make your visitors feel good (rather than bad) and strengthen your relationship with your audience.
Accepting something went wrong, acknowledge customer frustration and offer other help. It’s what you would do in a personal interaction. The best 404 error pages do just this.
5. Increase your conversions
If you create a custom error 404 pages, not only do you accept your mistake, but you ensure that the user has a delightful time on your website.
Your response code will hopefully erase the memory of your website’s dead/broken link from the user’s brain. And, it’s more likely they’ll do business with you. This is more like a hypothesis.
But, you can practically get more conversions by placing an opt-in or offering a discount on your error 404 page. Yes, use your custom error page to convert. Turn errors into earnings.
If you’re an ecommerce store, you can even offer relevant product recommendations on your custom error page Sounds good right? So now that we know they why, what should be on your error page? Here are 5 element ideas. You don‘t necessarily need them all.
1. Search bar for navigating your website
This is a no brainer. You don’t want the visitor to abandon your website midway. So, you aid him in browsing your website by providing a search bar.
2. Link to your popular posts or homepage
As you already know, it’s a pain to lose a visitor. A good way to retain them is by serving them links from your website.
3. Uses plain human language to explain what went wrong
First, you serve an error. Then you use technical terms and codes to explain the situation. Do you even want the user on your website?
See, nobody cares about what went wrong with ‘your server.’
By encountering a technical jargon-filled status code they’ll get even more frustrated and hit the back button immediately.
A simple “Page not found” title is better than “error 404.”
4. Allow the user to get in touch with you
By offering to allow a user to report the error, you empower them and they feel good about contributing to the improvement of your website.
5 Offer them the chance to join your email list or use your product
Yes, you can even convert those visitors. It’s just about directing the user to take the action you want them to take.
And what’s better than turning a bad user experience into a positive and profitable one?
Remember, the best 404 pages can convey brand identity and keep your visitors entertained. They are are memorable and shareable. It can be some thoughtful animation, cool parallax scrolling effect, or some sharp copy. Pick a theme and carry it throughout. What does your brand do? Could it be shown visually in a creative way? If it can, consider doing it on your 404 page.
Those are just a few ways to liven up your 404 page. Now let's talk about how to customize your page.
Click Settings on the top bar of the Editor.
Click Error Page (404).
Click Get Started. Note: Once you click Get Started, a new hidden page is added to your site called "404 Error Page" with default content.
Customize your page as you wish.
PS: Customizing your 404 error page is a Premium feature which requires Premium Plan.
I can't wait to see what you design