Error 404 Page: Good Design Not Found. Click Here to Apply Fixes

You’ve worked hard to add a ton of quality content to your website. Then, you decide to optimize it and end up changing a few of your URLs. Suddenly, everyone who has the old web address runs into a 404 error.

This is a problem because users hate landing on a 404 page! However, all is not lost. In fact, if you follow some of the top 404 page design tips, you can actually turn this negative experience into a positive one.

Want to know how? We’ve got all the answers right here.

404 Error Page: The Basics

No website works perfectly all the time. Eventually, one of your users will click on a link that’s expired or broken… which will cause them to get redirected to your error 404 page.

This page serves two purposes:

  1. Inform the visitor that they successfully communicated with the server, but the server was unable to find the page they requested.
  2. Prompt the user to return to a working part of your website.

Every website has a default 404 page, but it’s very vague. It will often say something like “The requested page was not found on this server.” Since this doesn’t tell the user anything about why they got the error or what to do next, there’s a good chance they’ll get frustrated and simply move on to another website.

However, you don’t have to settle for this. Creating a custom 404 page can significantly improve the experience. Instead of a simple place to put an error message, think of your 404 page as a landing page. Making a few simple tweaks can turn an annoying message into an awesome opportunity!

A great 404 page will show your user that you care about their experience. Even more importantly, it will reassure them that although they’ve hit a bump, things are going to be just fine. This is why putting the effort into creating a memorable 404 page is always worth the effort.

Improving Your 404 Page UX

There are many advantages to creating a custom 404 page. First, you can give a clear explanation of what’s going on. This will help keep visitors from feeling confused and frustrated.

You can also give your visitors a few different options for what to do next, which might help them stay on your site a bit longer. When you do this, it will improve your bounce rate. When combined with keyword optimization strategies, this can also improve your SEO.

How to Design a Good 404 Page

If you know how to make edits on your website’s platform (like WordPress) then you can create a custom 404 page on your own. However, many people prefer to leave this to their professional web design company.

Either way, it helps to understand the features of a great 404 page design.

1. Clear and Simple Explanation

Users don’t want to see vague messages about “servers” and “responses.” This will only add to their frustration. Instead, use plain language to let them know what happened. Some useful phrases include:

  • The page you’re trying to find doesn’t exist
  • The link you clicked is broken
  • We can’t find the page you’re looking for

You can even take things further and give them some suggestions for why this might have happened. For example:

  • The website owner may have deleted this page or moved it to a new URL
  • You may have mistyped the address or made a copy/paste error

This clear, simple language makes it less likely that the users will get nervous and click away.

2. Useful Call to Action

After you’ve explained the problem, the next thing you want to do is tell your visitors what to do next. You can do this by creating one or more useful calls to action (CTAs). This greatly improves the chances that they’ll stay on your site instead of looking for the information they need somewhere else.

The most common 404 CTA is a link back to the homepage of your website. This is certainly effective, but it’s not your only option. If you have a content-heavy site, consider adding a search bar to your 404 page. This way, users have a better chance of finding what they were looking for (or at least something similar).

E-commerce sites can turn their 404 error page into an opportunity by adding images and links to recommended products. If you don’t sell products, you might consider adding links to some of your most popular blog posts.

Each of these options gives the user a more positive experience and a reason to spend more time on your site.

3. A Bit of Personality

Last, but definitely not least, you’ll want to give your 404 page a bit of personality. The idea here is to make your user smile – instead of feeling irritated. There are many ways to do this, including using a funny meme or GIF, adding a cute illustration, or using witty web copy.

Don’t be afraid to get creative! Just make sure that what you choose fits your brand image. If you take these simple steps, it’s easy to impress your visitors and make them want to keep interacting with your company.

Customize Your 404 Page Today

Now that you know about some of the great things you can do with a 404 page, you’re probably ready to get moving with your website design. We’re here to help!

Drive Social Media creates beautiful, dynamic websites that are mobile-ready and designed to convert. Contact us today to learn more!