How to Design a Killer 404 Page for Your Website
Do you ever wonder what’s the point of a 404 page and how it can be beneficial to have on your website? In this blog post, we answer common questions about 404 pages. We will also show you how to design an amazing custom 404 page to appeal to potential customers who visit your website.
404 Pages 101
What is a 404 Page?
A 404 page displays when a page within an active website either doesn’t exist, or exists but has a different URL. If the whole website is down or not working, a different page will appear.
What Causes a 404 Error?
A 404 error happens when a user either mistypes the address, or clicks on a broken link. Broken links can exist because of the following reasons:
- The website owner enters an improper link URL
- The page no longer exists
- The page is in a different location
Having broken links on your website creates a bad user experience. Search engines view having broken links on your website as an indicator of low quality.
Why Should I Have a Custom 404 Page Design in Place?
Your website might not have any broken links right now, but it is good practice to still have a 404 page design in place. There is always the possibility that users will mistype a website address. There is usually a default 404 page in place on most websites, but customization is always better.
How to Design an Effective 404 Page:
Explain the Problem
Typing in a link to a webpage only to have the browser load a 404 page is frustrating. Make it easy on users by explaining what happened in simple terms, and also explain how to remedy the issue.
Make it Easy to Understand
You don’t even need to include the number 404 on your error page. Some other variations that use plain language are:
- Page not found
- The page you were looking for does not exist
- Looks like you got lost
- Something went wrong
- We can’t seem to find the page you’re looking for
Think about your brand’s voice – how can you align the 404 text with it? Avoid keeping the text cold and generic. Brainstorm how to tie the 404 page into the rest of the website in a clever or funny way.
Keep it Light-Hearted
Being directed to a 404 page is annoying. Keep users happy by creating an entertaining 404 page. It could be funny, inspiring or clever. Bonus points for relating your 404 page to the products or services you offer.
Include a Solution
Don’t stop at explaining the problem. Instead, offer a clear solution to users. A link or a button that takes users back to the home page or some other page usually works the best. If you want to give website visitors more navigation options, you could also provide a list of popular links. Offering a search bar is another great solution. Search bars are ideal for larger websites, or for users looking for something specific (i.e. eCommerce, tech or nonprofit).
Keep the Design Consistent with the Rest of the Website
Don’t let the default 404 page do the work. Design a great 404 page and run with it. Use the same fonts, colors and button styles as those used throughout your website.
Here are a few examples of 404 pages that we have designed:
The end goal of a 404 page is to keep visitors from leaving your website. If you follow the tips listed above, you will definitely have a better chance at retaining users. Don’t know where to start? Contact us to help you create an awesome user experience for your customers.