Your '404 page cannot be found' page is a landing page no one wants to land on. But if visitors will land there anyway, why not make the most of it and turn a negative experience into a positive one? You can even turn it into an opportunity!
In this article I’ll show you some 404 page ideas to convert visitors into leads by giving them a positive customer experience.
What are 404 Pages?
A 404 error (HTTP 404), also called a “header response code” or “http status code”, or simply "crawl errors", is the computer equivalent of saying “Not Found” or “Page Not Found.”
When a visitor clicks on a link to a deleted or moved page they’ll see your 404 page template. They’ll also see it if they mistype a URL, or click on a broken link.
You know the feeling. You click an interesting looking link to a page that you want to read, and Bam! 404 ERROR – Page Not Found. The result – annoyance and poor customer experience.
Although 404 page content can be annoying for a user, you can use them as an opportunity to connect with your audience. A well designed 404 page template can be the difference between someone bouncing from your website and a happy user. Here’s are some 4040 page best practices that will turn a negative experience into a positive experience:
404 Page Ideas that Improve the User Experience - the 404 best practices & example of 404 Pages
1. An Error Message
It’s important to tell users why they’re seeing a 404 page message. For example “This page does not exist or may have moved”. Remember, not everyone knows what a 404 error means and they may be confused as to why they’re not seeing the content they wanted.
You can see the the 404 page on this website does a great job of explaining to the visitor exactly why they are on the error page and what the user can do to find the right page.
Make sure you’re empathetic – you know that this isn’t what they wanted to see. As well as making your page more personable, it’ll also show that you’re human by addressing the mistake.
In keeping with their minimalist branding and clean look, the Airbnb 404 page template plays the empathy card with their image and provides some helpful links.
3. A Search Bar and/or Navigation Links
Including a search bar is very important. A search bar offers the visitor a direct avenue to try and find what they are looking for straight away.
Tell users how they can continue their journey by including nav links. Instead of closing the window or navigating away from your site, the user can find helpful and potentially relevant resources on another page.
You can see on Amazon’s 404 error page that the main focus for them is to get you to search.
4. Strong branding & Personality
By using your brand’s personality and look and feel, you can help a user become invested in your brand, regardless of what page they’re on.
Many brands turn to humour on their 404 page ideas and, if your brand allows, it’s a good way to re-engage your users with your brand.
Have a look at Lego’s error 404 not found page. Not only is Lego’s 404 page 100% on-brand, it’s also fun and easy to understand. It also gives the user lots of alternatives to continue their journey.