Creative 404 Pages: Page Not Found What To Do?
One of the things we look at during our Search Marketing Site Assessments for clients, is the use of 404 pages no matter what industry you are in. We always recommend having a custom 404 page. A 404 page is when a user discovers a “page not found” on your site.
How does this happen and why should you care?
Well, it may seem like a completely elementary thing to put in place however if someone comes to your site from another site (i.e. they linked to your site – maybe a blog post or old web page). If there is not an appropriate redirect process in place the user will be sent to a “page not found” or 404 error. You have control over what gets displayed on this page and if it is a generic 404 (no branding just black and white) it can mean losing a visitor forever or you could help them discover the appropriate page they were looking for, thus keeping them on your site. Think of it providing a bit of customer service to your visitor – if they entered through the wrong door, you would want to show them the appropriate one or guide them to the location they were looking for.
While creativity and humor might get you far with anyone, it also helps to be…well, helpful. If your page is useful in guiding the user to the area or page they were looking for then you are more likely to create a better customer experience.
A few suggestions for your 404 error page:
– At the minimum have your logo and main navigation on the page, better yet use a page template from your site that will help customize it to your look and feel
– Have a link to your home page or better yet a listing of links to popular sections on your site. You may also want to provide a link to the sitemap and promote it as a “full directory of site pages.”
Here are a few examples of 404 pages that we think work while also maintaining the brand personality:
Thanks to fab404.com for some great examples – check out others to for more ideas.
P.S. We’ve got some work to do ourselves. Do as we say not as we do ;).