In all of the excitement of designing a new website, many tech companies completely overlook one very important thing: the 404 Error page. As you probably already know, a 404 page is where a visitor lands when he attempts to visit a page that no longer exists or never existed in the first place. Landing on a 404 page is frustrating and often prompts visitors to click away from a site altogether. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Don’t Scare Them Away
When presented with a generic 404 page, many people immediately assume that they are in the completely wrong place. That’s especially true when they land on one through links from major search engines. Instead of accepting the 404 error page as an unavoidable nuisance, you should embrace it as an opportunity. A carefully designed and customized 404 page can actually improve your customer retention rate and enhance the effectiveness of your website.
The Problem with Default 404 Pages
By its very nature, a default 404 page is impersonal and generic. After landing on one, it’s easy for a person to assume that they aren’t anywhere near where they want to be. A generic 404 page generally makes a person’s frustration even worse. It’s easy to click away from such a page, and many people do so automatically. In the case of a customized 404 page, though, you can grab a person’s attention and increase the odds that they will stick around for a while.
Customizing Your 404 Pages
Some of today’s most successful tech companies have customized 404 pages, and creating one for your own site is easy. The first thing to do is to give it the same look, feel and personality as the other pages on your site. The next thing to do is to make it easy for someone who lands on it to find what they need. Add a search bar so they can search within your site, and include navigational links, too. As an added bonus, you might even throw in a little humor. When done properly, this will assuage a person’s annoyance and give them a favorable impression of your website.
At the end of the day, creating customized 404 pages is simple. It’s a quick and easy way to improve the experience that a person has while visiting your site. Make sure to create customized error pages for your site right away.