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Reinventing your 404 Pages can make your site Legendary

One of the most common errors a website can experience is a 404 Error or a digital version of return-to-sender. When an invalid address is entered for an active page, a user is directed to a 404 Page to alert them of this problem. As a top web development company, we feel that 404 pages offer a unique opportunity to showcase a brand’s personality along with providing a higher level of user experience and increased customer satisfaction. This type of error is going to happen at some point but reinventing your 404 Pages can make your site legendary.

Why do these errors happen?

Shouldn’t a web developer do a good enough job that 404 Page Errors don’t occur? While in theory that is always the goal, the fact is that they will happen and for reasons that are sometimes out of the developer’s control. For example, if a user simply types the wrong URL in the browser there is no fault on the development end.

Broken links are another common cause of 404 Page Errors, and while in some cases this could be the fault of a web designer, it can also happen because of mishaps within the content management system by other employees. Products can be removed, content gets deleted, or there can be changes made to the permalink structure.

Ultimately, 404 Error Pages are a part of a website whether the business wishes them to be or not so the best approach is to maximize that page during the design and development process to create a positive user experience for a visitor that they tell other people about rather than creating a negative experience. With proper design and optimization, a lost visitor can be turned into a loyal customer.

Reinventing your 404 Pages

A default 404 page is about as exciting as a dentist’s waiting room. While functional in its’ purpose, it is often boring, bland, yet informative. A typical 404 page uses black text on a white page with a basic message of “The page cannot be found” followed by general reasons why and then options to go back or search the internet.

Wow.

Let’s review the checklist for this page. Is there any branding in places such as color scheme, fonts, or layout? No. Is there anything engaging about this page? No. Does the user feel as if this is possibly their fault or might be confused as to why they are on this page? Yes. Can this confusion cause frustration which increases bounce rates? Yes.

404 Error Pages should be: