How to Create the Best 404 Page Ever
Whether your website is an online extension of your business or a personal blog, it can be easy to overlook the details. The 404 page may not be as critical as the website’s content, but it still plays an important role.
A 404 page? What’s that?
There’s no doubt that you’ve encountered these pages all over the web. Sites display 404 pages when a link redirects you to a dead end (the destination doesn’t exist or was removed).
Ok, so… why is that relevant?
If you haven’t set up a 404 page on your site and a visitor clicks on an invalid address, they’ll get a standard web browser error message. Why is this bad? The standard web browser error message redirects visitors from your site, meaning that they’re less likely to return and continue browsing. They might forget where they’d been browsing before getting the error and continue to other websites. If you set up a 404 page on your website, the visitor will be redirected to your homepage or another page within your website. This means they’ll stay in your site and continue browsing!
Cool! So, how do I create the best 404 page ever?
Good 404 pages need this basic information:
- Tell visitors that the address they clicked on is not valid.
- Help your guest find the content they were looking for, so that they stay on your website.
The content of a 404 page is made of three elements: title, body and a new link.
The title is usually something short that tells visitors that there’s a problem with the address without actually saying that. Some of the most popular options are “Something went wrong!” or “Oops! This is embarrassing”. These examples communicate that there’s a problem without actually admitting the website is faulty.
The body text should be consistent in tone with the rest of your website. The most important aspect of the 404 page is that guests remain on the website, even if there was an error.
Finally, links need to be chosen carefully. Be sure that the page where guests will be redirected to will keep them browsing the website.
Just as the language and tone should be consistent, the design should also be the same as the rest of the webpage. Pay attention to logos and fonts, but keep the page simple. It should look like the rest of the website, but because the page doesn’t have content, it should encourage visitors to navigate to other parts of the site.
Take the time to develop an innovative and attractive 404 page to guarantee that even if something goes wrong, visitors stay on your website!