Have you encountered 404 pages indicating an error while strolling through the web? The recurring internet users will probably say yes to this question. In spite of its error message, this page actually has a good potential to promote your website, as long as it is designed in a proper way.
404 Pages, Explained
When you stumble upon 404 pages while surfing the web, it means that you reach an unlocated page. There are some possibilities why such a page comes up. The link might be broken, and the page is nonexistent—whether it is hidden or deleted, or you may mistype the URL.
The standard message of a 404 page can come in many forms. You can simply find a message containing “404 Error”, “404 Not Found”, or something like “HTTP 404 Not Found”. Other possibilities appear in longer sentences, such as “The page cannot be found” or “The requested URL was not found on this website.” Regardless of their various forms, the pages indicate one thing: you cannot get access to the intended page you are looking for.
Why Every Website Needs to Design this Page
In terms of web design, the error page with 404 code often receives less attention than other web elements. Most websites usually just leave it as it is, so the page only appears in a standard format with no significant detail whatsoever. However, if you aim to develop a good website, you must admit that this page also deserves a good design.
Imagine when your visitors accidentally type the wrong URLs or click on a nonexistent page, and you only present the standard page of a 404 error message. It is possible for them to lose interest in exploring other pages on your website because the standard page doesn’t have a good representation of your web personality.
Now, when you have a custom design for this page, the outcome will surely be different. Instead of looking at a dull error page, your visitors will be presented with a creative look of web pages, boasting unique messages or some alternative options to click more. One of your visitors might give a reaction like: “Hey, this website is really great! Even its 404 page looks cool.”
So, there it is. Having an excellent design for 404 pages can also bring many benefits to your web traffic. Among the advantages of designing this error page are:
- Maintaining your users on the website; thus, it can reduce the bounce rate that often happens when the visitors stumble across error pages.
- Motivating your visitors to keep engaged with the sites by moving through other working pages that you provided alongside the error message.
- Preserving your web personality because it contains consistent branding on every page of the website with no exception—even when the page doesn’t have anything to show.
- Giving your visitors a resolution for accidental errors, so they can continue browsing the website with a good feeling.
- Promoting your website externally because, surprisingly, well-designed 404 error pages are listed among the most interesting topics that web users talk about and share everywhere.
Some Useful Tips for Designing 404 Pages
Now that you know the benefit of designing 404 pages on your website, here are some useful tips to follow for this matter:
- Point out the error notification in a polite form.
- Give the page a consistent design and navigation just like any other working page on your website. Alternatively, you can spice it up by giving a themed design that looks more interesting.
- Provide an alternative link for your visitors to keep going—the link can relocate them to the main page or the most popular articles and topics.
- Offer an option to report the broken link or any other errors causing this page to show, whether it is a standard report form, your contact link, or official social media accounts that the users can reach more easily. This is considered a good idea to engage your visitors as well as evaluate your website at the same time.
With all those in mind, now you can start designing better 404 pages to giving the visitors a better experience when scrolling through your website. To find more amazing ideas, you can take a look at various creative designs for a 404 page across the websites of well-known brands and companies.