Why Do You Need a Custom 404 Page on Your Website?

a plain 404 error page leaving things lacking it would be better with a custom 404 page

Ever click on a link, only to find it leads to a digital dead end?

It doesn’t look pretty, it doesn’t look professional, and it doesn’t have anything of any use to a website visitor.

Enter the custom 404 page – the landing page for when things go wrong. Keep reading to learn more about a 404 error page.

404 Pages: The Dead-End of Your Website

404 pages are a curse that every website owner lives in fear of.

The 404 error page is what visitors land on when the page they’re trying to reach either doesn’t exist or the URL is incorrect. They think nothing of it when they land on one.

Instead, they go somewhere else.

And, unless your error page absolutely kills it, they probably won’t be coming back any time soon.

What Your 404 Page Shouldn’t Do

Many website owners don’t give 404 page design any real consideration.

To them, it’s an afterthought. The website is set up; it works fine, so why bother with the extra hassle?

But the error page can crop up at the worst of times – usually due to technical oversight. It’s easy to restructure your website only to forget to fix broken or dead links.

A bad 404 page is off-putting, ugly, and full of technical jargon. Like a hotplate, most users recoil as if they had burned themselves and go elsewhere.

Some might even think your entire website is offline. You don’t want either of these things – they cost you traffic, and they cost you conversions.

You Need a Custom 404 Page

Custom 404 pages are the way to go. They let you maintain your company’s branding, and they let you reduce visitor bounce rates.

You need to think of your error page as another tool in your lead generation toolbox.

Custom error pages allow you to take control when things go wrong – which can mean a bad event into a win. And the best custom error pages are so creative that they leave a lasting impression in your visitor’s mind.

It’s just another landing page, after all.

Great Ideas for a 404 Page

The best 404 pages put a new twist on the dry, lifeless, boring error page. Let’s take a look at some ideas:

#1: Include a Call to Action

Include a call to action right there on your error page. You needn’t fish for email subscribers or anything fancy – a link to another relevant page the user might be looking for. Popular posts are another option.

#2: Include Stylish Graphics

404 pages are drab and dull, so it never hurts to include style and flair. This is a great place to reinforce your branding – and put some of those expensive logos you paid through the nose for.

#3: Use a Pre-recorded Apology

A more off-the-wall idea for getting creative is to pre-record an apology. Explain, face-to-face, what’s gone wrong to your visitors, ask them to have a look around, and apologize for the inconvenience.

The personal touch is bound to go far.

Turn a Bad Thing Around

Often, 404 errors can slip under the radar and won’t be detected until a comprehensive website audit is done.

Including a custom 404 page at launch is great insurance for your site against human error and broken backlinks – and it will turn a negative experience upside down.

Contact us for information on how to audit your site, improve your marketing, and grow your emailing list.