What is a 404 page?
Whether you’re an occasional internet surfer, or browse the web constantly, chances are that at least once, you’ve come across a page that says “404 – Page Not Found”, or some variation of this message. What this means is that you may have mistyped the web address, or that the link that brought you to this page is no longer valid because the page doesn’t exist anymore, or there is some sort of temporary error.
Why is it important for you?
If you are a small business owner who has a website, or would like to have one in the future, 404 error pages are an element you need to think about, as an opportunity to engage with your visitors and prevent them from leaving your site. You can customise your error page in order to make sure it fits in with the rest of your site’s look and feel, as well as your brand’s personality!
If you have some time, check out this great TED talk: “404 – The Story of a Page Not Found.” If you prefer to learn by watching rather than reading a bunch of articles on why you should care about 404 pages, this fascinating video is for you!
[ted id=1444 lang=es]
What makes a Good 404 Page?
If a visitor lands on your 404 page, they should be able to have the following questions answered:
- Where am I?
- Why am I here?
- What should I do now?
If your 404 error page can answer those questions, being helpful in a way that is:
- Well Designed
Well then, you have yourself a winning 404 page!
Starbucks has an error page which is very useful to the visitor that lands there. It may not be humorous or super creative, but it’s a very good example because it answers the questions that visitors may have when they land there.
How do I create one?
If you’d like a more technical explanation on what a 404 page is, Google offers a good one.
If your web host provider allows you to customise your 404 file, you will usually find mention of it somewhere in their documentation.
Torque Mag offers a detailed explanation on how to customise your 404 page if you’re on WordPress. If you’re nervous about doing it yourself, consult your webmaster.
— Nathaniel Emodi (@natemodi) enero 28, 2015
Do you have your error pages set up?
It’s a good idea to consistently check your site for broken links. Remember that with marketgoo you’ll be notified of which links are broken and how you can fix them! www.brokenlinkcheck.com can also help you identify links that don’t work.
We’ve created a continuously updated Pinterest board where you can see many examples of creative, and useful 404 pages, as well as some that could use more work. Go get inspired!
Update: The folks over at Canva also think 404’s are majorly important and shared their list with us here.