A website is always a work in progress. You cannot expect to accommodate all of the visitors’ needs at all times. That is why 404 pages are invented. People believe that these pages can only inform visitors about the availability of information being looked for. However, a 404 page can help retain visitors if you know what to include.
6 Recommended Contents on a 404 Page
It is a downer to be taken to a ‘not found’ page when you have a good time surfing through a website. The developer needs to include the following things so that visitors will not get discouraged from exploring the website further:
A salient headline is important when it comes to 404 pages. Most people skim texts when they are browsing through the web. Thus, if the headline is neither big nor catchy, people will not immediately realize that the page they are looking for is not available. The headline must be large enough to catch the visitor’s eyes.
Brand Identity Components
On the ‘not found’ page, you should add brand identity components. It includes your brand’s logo, tagline, or any other markers. The presence of brand identity components on this page will make the visitors feel at ease. It informs them that they are still on the same website, but the page that they are looking for is unfortunately unavailable.
A Search Bar
It is a simple call-to-action feature that may change everything. Often, visitors get stuck when they encounter one of these pages. They are expected to return to the homepage to access other pages. A search bar on the ‘not found’ page enables visitors to do more than sit around. They can obtain other information valuable to them.
The report button is another functional button that you should consider including on the 404 pages of your website. It is a call-to-action button that is very beneficial to the web developer. When a visitor reports the unavailability of a page, the developer can check whether there is a broken link on their site.
Links to Relevant Posts
A responsive website tends to garner more followings than non-responsive ones. It is recommended to add links to relevant posts on the ‘not found’ pages. The related links might have some keywords in common with the ‘not found’ page. A visitor on a quest for information might find the offered alternative valuable.
Some websites have successfully implemented mini-games on their ‘not found’ pages. The games are often very simple yet impactful. For example, a movie review website might quiz the visitor about a certain movie’s title or infamous movie quote. Mini games make finding this ‘not found’ web page fun instead of frustrating.
Tips to Design a Good ‘Not Found’ Page
Some 404 pages are better than others. The main objective is to maintain visitors’ attention, and poorly designed ‘not found’ pages will not be able to do it. Here are some tips that you will find useful when designing such pages:
Using CTA features as necessary
Some developers might want to retain visitors so bad they are adding many call-to-action features. This practice is not recommended because it will make the page look crowded. Your visitors may only be able to focus on one or two CTA simultaneously. Thus, it would be best to choose which feature is more necessary to your cause.
Being apologetic and sympathetic
This tip is related to the tone you are using for the page. Visitors will be more understanding if you are showing regret about not being able to deliver their needs. This tone can be presented in your texts by saying “We’re sorry.” or other variations. The Contact Us button can also help enhance it.
Another tip given to web developers for their ‘not found’ pages is the importance of condensing everything into one page. The visitors should not scroll when they encounter the page. You have to design the page carefully and add the necessary things. You can take notes from a landing page to design yours.
It is the right time for web developers to make an extra effort for their 404 pages. This page can help with your website development. It can notify you of broken links and provide direction for new content.