Why is a Good 404 Page So Important?

21 August 2020| Post by Robbie4 minutes

AuthorRobbie

Nobody’s perfect – there’s always a chance that something could escape your cunning eye!

But that’s what 404 Pages are for. A page that is not the first on the list when you’re creating your website, but like every other aspect of your site, it still requires a high level of care and attention. But why is it so important to perfect your 404 page?

Well, as the experts in this equation, we thought we’d bring you a little food for thought in the form of reasons why you should be really thinking about your 404 page, and how you can make it reflect the rest of your site.

But first, what is a 404 page?

In simple terms, Error 404 or a 404 Page is the error code to a page not found. In other words, the user has tried a certain domain or area on your site, but there’s no information to view or the page simply does not exist. This can come around from user error – maybe they misspelt the URL key or inserted the wrong one, or it can be at the fault of the website itself. Either way, the 404 page lets the user know that something’s not quite right.

404 Error Page

Although an error page, it shouldn’t be concluded as its only purpose. Your 404 page still is a customisable aspect of your site and should receive the same treatment as the rest of your website and its design. It has the potential to do so much more for your UX and even your business so, let’s go through exactly why you shouldn’t be sleeping on your 404 page.

Why is it important?

Reiterates the user has reached a page by mistake

So far, you’ve impressed your user with your high performing, well designed and well-populated website. You wouldn’t want that going down the train why they suddenly come across an error! What if they think it’s something that has been disregarded by your team, or a site fault?

It may lead to a change of opinion towards your site’s attention to detail and UX, or even against your level of service as a business. By customising your 404 page, you can assure the user that they’ve simply reached a page that doesn’t exist, and that it’s a slight error that can be easily resolved.

This can be achieved through strategically thought out design and content – all of which point towards a solution. Take Limely’s for example!

You can reflect your user-centric services

By using a customised 404 page, it automatically shows the user that you care about their experience. They’ll be able to see the attention you’ve put towards their online journey and not leaving them to question what exactly has gone wrong.

It can relieve user frustration

Speaking of questioning what exactly has gone wrong, for some that are faced with a scary-looking default 404 page, it may be led to feelings of frustration and cluelessness as to why the link has not worked.

However, if they’re greeted with a 404 page that is in keeping with the rest of the site’s theme and design, and well as some helpful content to direct them back to a working page – well, problem solved! Your user remains happy, they remain on your site and the reputation of your brand is intact.

It’s an excuse to insert CTAs with important links

A customised 404 page is the perfect place to insert some CTA links. With nowhere else to go, your user will be funnelled to click any link you present them with.

Usually, you would direct them back to the homepage so they can start their journey from scratch, but there’s nothing stopping you from leaving links to some of your important pages that would benefit from some additional traffic. Maybe you could insert a CTA button for your blog area, or your contact page, or even your portfolio –  your 404 can be used to your advantage!

Can be your chance to show your personality

Don’t be afraid to get creative with your 404 page! Having a unique 404 page gives you the chance to exercise your own personality, which allows the potential to turn a tricky situation into a good one and leave the user with a smile on their face.

Depending on your existing branding and tone, you’re 404 page can be funny, quirky, cheeky or just simply reflect your sincerest apologies and outstretch that helping hand in the form of a link back to the homepage.

So, get creative!

Do you need a little help customing your site and making it reflect your business? Contact the experts today by giving Limely a call!

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