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Clare Abner

student and blogger | Posted on |

Data-Backed Best Practices for Building a Killer 404 Page


Isn’t 404 page the most underappreciated and overlooked page on most of the websites? Well yes, it is. But don’t be fooled by the unassuming nature that of the said page. 404 page can actually serve some amazing purposes. Some instances are avoiding SEO penalties, reducing bounce rates, maintaining customer approval, improving navigation etc. People essentially have subscriptions to internet packages such as Frontier deals. And we are sure you must have encountered the 404 page during one of your browsing sessions. If you are someone who doesn’t know about the important goals which could be achieved with this page, let us enlighten you.

Read on to find some effective guidelines, which are based on the anecdotes from some leading brands. They will assist you in crafting a very well-optimized and creative 404 page. Ensure providing a strong user experience!

The Evolution of 404 Page

404 Lab informs that 404 page first originated somewhere in the 1990s. The page communicated to the visitors successfully, informing them that they have stumbled to a wrong site/page. It didn’t do anything more than that. It was non-engaging and static. You must remember it, the page had a white background with black text saying, ‘Page Not Found’. Back in the internet’s early years, this information was probably enough. But now, things have evolved and user expectations have clearly changed with the passage of time. Know that:

A well-thought and clever 404 page acts as a subtle strategy for controlling the damage when visitors encounter a broken page/link

You can use it cleverly to mitigate the frustration of the user by making it entertaining and interesting

This will increase the chances and the likelihood of visitors staying on the page. Which in turn, gives you a chance to facilitate them with some additional resources. This can result in successful conversions for the website

Creating a distinctive and interesting 404 page can be an important thing for SEO. Since most of the people avoid getting the said pages indexed, therefore, Google will not penalize them for the thin content

If your 404 page is poorly functioning, it can, however, still hurt the website’s SEO for various other reasons. Google monitors user experiences carefully, therefore you need to increase the time on average that the user spends on your site and minimize your bounce rate

What can be done with the 404 Pages?

As described in the aforementioned benefits, it is wise of marketers to become more innovative with the 404 pages, especially in recent years. You should follow various different strategies and improve the user experience on your website. Have a look at these common approaches:

Entertain your viewers

Offer an opportunity to communicate

Provide various navigation options

Let’s know some detail on each.

Entertain the Viewers

Many sites have come up with creative and catchy ways in order to make the 404 pages engaging. This can highly improve the visitors’ perceptions of your brand and they may decide to spend some time on your page. This will increase the time that they spend on your website. You can offer some entertaining images, humor, interesting information about your brand, or a limited time offer, which can prompt the users to search further on your site.

Just ensure that whatever content you are sharing is consistent in theme with your company or brand. Generally, humorous pieces work quite well for the brands, which want to have an open and casual connection with their users/followers.

Offer an Opportunity to Communicate

While your visitors have stumbled on the 404 page, they were searching particular information or specific solutions for what they were experiencing. The information may have been removed accidentally or it is located elsewhere which is difficult for them to locate. Your provided information may not address their queries.

Therefore, it is a good approach to make use of a call-to-action. This will encourage your viewers to communicate with you directly. They’ll be keen to reach out to you to get their concerned information. Hence, they will feel more connected and if you address them well, they will prefer you instead of your contenders.

Provide Various Navigation Options

Users ending up on the 404 page could have a number of various reasons. Unfortunately, it is practically impossible to know the query and need of each individual. Therefore, you can’t provide feedback or address everyone who lands there. Nevertheless, you can effectively provide some general information and provide them with clever navigation options, which will lead them to their desired information. Help them refine their search. Go beyond the standard navigation options and offer more help. You will see that even the astray visitors will spend a good amount of time on your website! For instance, if someone was searching Frontier Internet plans, and he landed on your 404 page, you need to provide an effective search bar for internet and TV plans. You can do this by making a few changes to your navigation options.