404 error pages is the HTTP page which gets generated to indicate the server hasn’t responded to the user request. The page “error 404 not found” should be strong enough to convince the users to stay on the website. Users tend to bounce immediately when they don’t find what they want so it’s your responsibility to direct them to another link on your site or whatever it takes to keep them hooked onto your site.
The importance of 404 Error Pages is that when they are designed perfectly they convey a positive message to the searcher. What is a custom 404 error page? They are the 404 error pages designed to be user-friendly even in cases of errors with a dash of creativity. What should you mind in the design?
- In the first place, accept that an error has occurred and that you do care about your visitors.
- Make sure the logo, page style, colour, theme and text still reflect your website. This page is also a part of your own site; don’t forget it!
- You may provide a navigation menu or a link to your site or a search button or your blog link or your social media page link or contact information or whatever but make sure you redirect the searcher aptly. Don’t leave the user stranded helplessly; don’t miss out a chance of getting back the searcher.
- Using emotions, in form of smileys or a powerful phrase or adages or, whatsoever it takes to change the users’ dissatisfied mode, helps you! Well designed 404 error pages result in higher conversion rates.
- Including the link to home page is seen as one of the best practices in designing ‘error 404 not found’ pages.
- Show your brand voice even in 404 error pages. You can redirect not always to the home page but to other important pages like website ads or customer feedback forums or so where you intend to reflect your brand even in erroneous situations
- You may even make way for people to submit problem tickets in such cases! You can check on a few excellent 404 error pages here.
- A few websites do something different which may or may not be what the user expects, as in, Wikipedia redirects the searcher to the page wanted by the user, as it assumes;
- Never use any technical jargon; it frustrates users as they can’t follow it
- Check google recommendations on 404 error pages here.
- Ensure the webmaster returns the 404 https status code by way of which you can/should prevent google/ search engines from indexing your custom error page
- Inform google on your site new move; change of address tool may help
- Customize errors via your site control panel
We believe you now know how not to disappoint your users more when they are already unhappy with the error encountered on your site. Customize the 404 error pages in such a way you invite the user further! Ask us if you seek assistance here; QeAgency is happy to help.