404 Pages Can Be A Great Opportunity
We all have been there. We type an address in our web browsers, and then after a few seconds, we find ourselves staring at an error page—our old friend the 404 page.
The 404 page tells users that the page they are trying to reach via the address they typed in the search bar isn’t working at the moment. There are a few reasons why you can’t access a page. Perhaps the URL was mistyped, or website changes altered the URL or deleted the page.
Before you slap on that generic 404-page template in your web design, I’ll give you five wonderful reasons why you should use a custom 404 page instead.
It Keeps Visitors Browsing
When users arrive at a broken link, they are likely to leave your website. Users would rather go to another website that is easier to navigate unless your 404 page steers them in the direction they need to go.
Think of it this way: a template 404 page is a dead-end sign on the road. A custom 404 page is an alternative route sign. An effective one can keep visitors on the site and help them get the information they want.
When designing a 404 page, try adding a search bar after the message. This simple addition can make users think that the error is with them and the site is helping them along to get to where they need to go instead.
It Showcases Your Brand’s Personality
Every brand has a personality, or at least they try to!. Custom 404 pages allow companies to inject a little more of their character into their website.
Regardless of whether you have a more professional brand or a bubblier one, a custom 404 page is a place where you can reinforce an identity. It reminds users what site they’re on, further increasing brand awareness.
I have a client who renamed her page a 444 page! As a creative with a rebel personality, this is on-brand for her – it injects personality it fun into the website.
It Enhances Your Brand’s Reputation
Typically, having a broken link on your page is not a good look for your website. However, if you have a custom 404 page that guides site visitors after reaching a broken link, that can positively impact your reputation.
Continuing to help site visitors through links or a search bar on your 404 page is a sign that you care. If you throw in a quirky error message in there, you can make an otherwise frustrating experience into a positive one. Customers like this, google likes this and everyone is happy!
It Improves Your Site’s Bounce Rate
Site visitors who view one page and leave make up a website’s bounce rate. Arriving at template 404 pages is one of the most common reasons for increasing a site’s bounce rate.
However, a well-designed 404 page with links to important site pages or search bars can help decrease your bounce rates. Links and search bars nudge people to different pages on the site rather than stop them on their tracks.
It Boosts Your SEO Ranking
Did you know that 404 pages affect a website’s SEO? Search engines consider bounce rates when they’re determining rankings. A site with high bounce rates tends to rank lower in search engines like Google.
A custom 404 page with internal links can encourage site browsing, eventually decreasing your website’s bounce rate. Internal links in 404 pages also help search engines better understand your site that may be beneficial for your site’s SEO.
Creating A Custom 404 Page Makes Sense
A site visitor can arrive at a 404 page because of user error or website changes. However, a 404 page doesn’t need to be your website’s stop sign. An effective custom 404 page can keep visitors browsing, showcase your brand’s personality, enhance your brand’s reputation, improve your site’s bounce rate, and boost SEO effectively.
If you need a freelance web designer who can create a stunning website with the perfect 404 page for your brand, then Plinkit is the one for you. I offer professional web design services and WordPress training in Sunshine Coast, QLD. Contact me today to learn more about how I can help!