A 404 page, or error page, is the information that the user receives while attempting to navigate a non-existent page on our website. This is the page that the site shows when the URL requested by the user cannot identify. A 404 page is named when, responding to a request for a missed link, web servers return a 404 HTTP status code to show that a link is not accessible. While the standard 404 pages may vary depending on your ISP, it usually does not provide any useful information to the user. Most users may just browse away from your site.
Although there is a lot of thought and discussion about how you should handle 404 errors and their impact on SEO, the fact remains that 404 errors are almost inevitable. While it’s tempting to redirect all 404 errors to your homepage only, that’s the opposite of what you’re supposed to do. Our Web Page creation service at DigWeb is one of a kind, along with a 404 page, we can help you create Web pages of all kinds!
Redirecting to the homepage results in bad user experience for a few reasons:
- Users will be confused as to how they wound up on the homepage when they clicked a link to another page.
- Users will not have access to the information promised and will not know why.
- Your users end up on a website that may be entirely unrelated to the connection they clicked on.
If you can evaluate which pages are essential, such as a specific product/categories page, or content with the same detail, you can redirect 404 errors to the corresponding pages.
The Positive Aspect of a 404 Page
404 errors can frustrate users so that the primary purpose of a 404 page is to make a positive error from the user’s possible negative experience.
Links are the key to that. 404-page links are essential as they allow users to exit the error page. The user can find helpful and potentially relevant resources on a different page instead of closing the window or browsing away from your site.
Some links to add to your 404 page should include:
- Your home page
- Many of the most famous blog pages of yours
- Most popular or valuable pages in the product or category
- A way to report a broken link or a page/form
- A sitemap for HTML
- You will also enable users to find what they are searching for from this page by adding a domain search bar to the 404 tabs.
Why should you customise your 404 error page?
A regular 404 error page is better than none, but for some reason, consumers prefer a custom page. You can, on one hand, make sure that you get an exact HTTP status code for visitors: for example, the message’ 410 Gone’ should be forwarded when the requested content is not present on the site any more. The visitor is then aware of the permanent deletion of this content.
On the opposite, a dedicated error page with links to your website or provide substitues (i.e., links to your domain or pages that align with the information required by the visitor). You could even add a search function to your website. By taking these extra measures and providing incentives, you may be able to prevent visitors from leaving your site right after seeing the 404 code.
You can even find that visitors are more forgiving with a creative 404 messages. A customized or innovative 404 page can make up for the disappointment of not seeing the desired content.
Ensure you have the foundations for a useful 404 error page, and the design of the error message matches the website style. If you let visitors know in a funny and light-hearted way that your content isn’t available, you can get a smile out of them, and the chance of holding a grudge against you is decreased.
What to include in your 404 Page?
A valuable 404 page should include:
The first significant step to lead the tourist to where it needs to go is straightforward navigation. At the very least, always provide a link back to your home page and a search bar so that your visitor can try again. It is also useful to include the full navigation menu (which will be accessible on every other page on the site). You can also add a way to report the issue on your 404 pages, whether by sending an email or filling out a form. Live chats may invite lost visitors to find what they want.
The tone and design of your brand must be recognised and maintained on your 404 page. You don’t want a 404 ‘user to your website to feel like as an entirely different website. Maintain a consistent overall tone and style. Take advantage of this opportunity to strengthen your brand’s image or show a brand side that would not otherwise appear on your website.
Although the 404s may be annoying to some users, they are essential. The main reason behind the 404 pages is a broken link. Broken links are unavoidable, mainly if they come from an external website with no influence.
The main aim of the 404 pages is to turn a potentially bad experience into a positive one. You can do this by creating a 404 custom page.
Creating a custom 404 page can do the following:
- Reduce bounce rates and keep users on your website
- Keep people engaged with your site and move through your sales process.
- Leave them with a good feeling after a constructive response to their 404 questions.
- Maintain clear branding through the site;
- Attract public exposure to your brand if you do a decent job.
You can use this 404ing opportunity to boost your SEO by adding a few internal links to your custom 404 page.
There are several ways to get creative with your 404 pages: crack a joke, offer some interaction, display some interesting/cool/fun visual elements, or be thought-provoking. The bottom line is to configure it. This means that, for whatever reasons your visitor lands on your 404 page, they will enjoy before being diverted.