A web site is one of the most integral parts to your marketing. Without a reliable resource for potential customers to go to and seek out information they need, the potential to lose out on your share of business is incredibly high.
But, what makes a great web site? Great content, responsiveness, great design, ease of use, these are all necessary elements. But, not everyone is an all-star when it comes to using a web site. So, outside of having a Home page, About page, and other pages you need, there stands above those that every web site needs to get absolutely right.
The 404 page.
A 404 page is the term for the page that displays when you try to access a page that doesn’t exist on a web site. It’s basically your site’s version of a “dead end” or “no outlet” sign.
Some people mistakenly think of this as a bad thing—it’s not! Your web site can’t have a page or an answer to every question. But, that doesn’t mean you should neglect the opportunity that a 404 page offers!
A 404 page shouldn’t neglect your brand's design or voice.
Don’t let your 404 page look like this:
It should resonate that it is still a part of your site! Like this:
If it looks like the former instead of the latter, it only allows the user to return to the previous page, which obviously didn’t solve their problem. This increases your web site’s bounce rate exponentially which is exactly the opposite of what you want to happen.
A 404 page shouldn’t just tell the user they’re using the site incorrectly.
Seen above, Mint.com doesn’t merely tell the user, “Hey, look somewhere else,” but instead offers to solve the problem the user may currently have. It offers links to other site resources, it’s charming in its offer to solve the problem (I don’t know Justin, but he looks like a nice guy) and it even offers a link to their finance blog.
A 404 is a landing page, sort of.
It helps to imagine your 404 page as a CTA, but not in the typical sense. There is no specific offer in play here, other than the promise of information that wasn’t delivered. In response to this issue, include resources or information that is similar to what they were looking for. Apple does a great job of giving an overview to their site on their 404 page.
Basically, a 404 page can be a CTA landing page, except you’re free to fill it up with all sorts of links to information.
Is your 404 page on your to-do list? Follow through with your website redesign with our free checklist which you can download below!