How to Craft an Excellent 404 Error Page for your Clients?


Whether due to broken links or a natural user-error, each one of us at some point in time has stumbled upon a 404-error page while using the web. However, when it comes to business, an error page could be a horrible experience for your customers/leads and chances are they might never turn up back to your page thinking, it has nothing to scroll through.

An error page can add up to the woes of any online business. However, what if I tell you that your website’s 404-error page can increase conversion rate and can even boost sales? This might sound unrealistic, but little efforts like designing the right 404-page design, proper optimization and pinch of humor can turn lost visitors into loyal customers.

Why Creating an Excellent 404-Error is so Necessary?

The prime objective of a 404-error page is to engage the visitors on the website when the website is momentarily unavailable. Research tells us that typos, old bookmarks, and old links are the reasons behind 45.87% of 404 errors. Broken links on a website are less likely to cause a 404-error (17.58%) which essentially means that the vast majority of 404s caused on your site are beyond your control.

However, investing some time in optimizing your 404-page text and creating an innovative design can reduce bounce rate and increase conversions. For this, you need to design a 404 page with a purpose in mind.  Your purpose will decide if whether or not the visitor will hang around to experiment with more stuff on your website, even if the website is down for a while.

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Given below are simple reasons why you need to create a creative 404 error page, and how the same page can help you earn bucks even when your website is temporally unavailable.

1. To Re-attract an unhappy lead:

Presume a visitor lands up on your website, hoping it has all the necessary information he has been looking for. However, as he clicks on the webpage, he does not find any information, instead, he is greeted with a ‘Page temporarily unavailable’ or ‘Page not found’ error message. The visitor then will most likely leave the page. Feels pathetic right?

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If you want to make sure that customer stays even after being addressed with an error message flashing, you need to re-attract him/her by providing any sort of related information or a link of your website’s homepage. This way you keep them involved with your website for a while.

2. Helps to upsurge conversion rate:

An error page can undoubtedly give a boost to the conversion rate if you know the right tips and tricks to do so. Anything that appears on the website with or beside an error message will most likely catch the eye of the visitor.

You can make use of this opportunity by placing in an offer or a discount besides the error 404 page, that will make sure the error page converts for you. Using an HTTP status code this way can take errors to earnings at a spiraling pace. Moreover, try adding appropriate product recommendations on your 404-error page just the one like Ballard Designs is using.

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3. Show your brand’s personality:

You can use your error page to connect better and target the right emotions of your customers. Either you can strive hard to create an emotional bond with thought-provoking one-liners, or you can just give information about what you deal in and how is your product different and/or better from the others.

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A 70%+ of people who reach a 404-error page will leave your website and probably not return, thus making sure that they stay is important and creating warmth and comfort through your error message is one way to do it.

How to Design a Creative 404-Error Page

Here are some hacks that can help you design a cool and engaging error page so that you do not miss any opportunity to impress and express.

1. Include a List of Best Content

Just because your website is down for an hour and your visitor did not find what they have been looking for, it does not mean that is the end of the road. If you are aware of the best SEO practices, then you might also be investing in resources to create quality content, and you can direct a website visitor to some of the best content available on your website. It could be a blog or simply your home page.

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If you add suggestions to your error-page, you have a better chance of someone stopping by on your website instead of deserting it. And who knows, they might even find the information they had been looking for on a different page.

2. Include a Search Bar

You do not want your visitor to flee away from your website just like that, so you keep them engaged by including a search bar that can help them find relevant information available on your website. This gives the user the chance to search a topic internally, even when the incoming link is broken.

A genuine example to demonstrate this add-on would be the micro-blogging site Twitter. My former colleague explained to me, how twitter intelligently makes sure it’s visitor hangs on and use the search bar to discover pertinent information they have been looking for.

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3. Get in Touch with the User

This is by far the best thing to include in your 404-error page. A number of 404-error pages hold a working contact form that serves multiple purposes. It allows website visitors to connect with business personnel’s directly where they can ask quires, they are seeking answers for.

Furthermore, attaching a contact form gives the visitor direct access to report any sort of error or queries, providing you a chance to fix any such issues as quickly as possible.

4. Giveaway or Freebies to Light up the Mood

Even though the website visitors did not find what they were looking for, however, you can make sure they find a better deal to keep the sales pumping. You can offer an incentive like some valuable information to your visitors in return for their email id. Once they add their email, you get an opportunity to reach out to them later.

As far as professions like dentists, lawyers, doctors, etc. are concerned, even one customer can translate into thousands of dollars in revenue. Thus, if you can make them happy by offering valuable information or freebies, they might end up as a loyal customer to you.

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For example, HubSpot offers users the opportunity to ‘sign up for a free demo’ on their error 404 page.

5. Add a Pinch of Humor

Adding humorous text or picture in your 404-error page can instantly shift the mood of the visitor, or he might even smile while looking a cute dog tearing apart an old tape just like this one.

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Designers often suggest adding a humorous picture to a 404-error page as it motivates the user to click and follow the links that you have provided. Though some visitors will still not be convinced, as they were on the website for a different reason, however, you still need to make sure you include something simple and catchy. Just make sure it does not sound lame to the audience.

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Creative Examples of 404 Error-Page

Here are some creative error pages that will lure you to make changes in your website error page today.

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A creative 404-error page can paint a positive impression of your business in the mind of a potential lead. Just follow these simple tricks mentioned above when designing an error page and you will not have to worry about losing a lead anymore.

This article is written by Saun Tatt. He is a digital marketing expert associated with Paperdoers since its start. He works with clients around the globe and has helped nurture several start-ups into successful businesses.

Disclosure: Some of our articles may contain affiliate links; this means each time you make a purchase, we get a small commission. However, the input we produce is reliable; we always handpick and review all information before publishing it on our website. We can ensure you will always get genuine as well as valuable knowledge and resources.

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Article Published by Souvik Banerjee

Web Developer & SEO Specialist with 10+ years of experience in Open Source Web Development, specialized in Joomla & WordPress development. He is also the moderator of this blog "RS Web Solutions".

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