Theoretically we all know about the 404 pages or “page not found error” on websites in world of internet. We mostly do not interact with 404 pages on regular basis but 404 pages do have importance in its own way. Believe it or not sometimes they can actually help retain our visitor and keep them engaged in our websites.
And as website owner lets accept that whatever the reason, when the visitor hits that 404 page, you want it to funnel back into your site or you risk losing your visitor to your competition.
How user can reach your 404 page?
There are many ways in which a visitor can stumble upon the 404 pages. Some might just click on broken links and some smart user might play around with our website URL just to check whether we have kept this fact in mind or not (of course, to judge us 😛 ) and there are N number of ways user end up at 404 pages.
The goal of the 404 page is to keep a visitor on your site even if they hits a page that doesn’t exist.
By injecting a little creativity and adding a purpose , 404 page can keep the visitors on your website . You can customize 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!
Because we all know, nobody likes message as shown below on website , err!
So a novice user might not understand what just happen and you lost him. Game Over. This message also doesn’t give the visitor any options to stay on the site. More than likely, user will simply leave your site at this point. What he did might be as simple as not typed correct spelling for what he was searching.
Do you have your error pages set up?
It’s a good idea to consistently check your site for broken links. You can thoroughly check for every link on your website once in while. It is not waste of time but actually can help you get some customers.
Here you can identify links that don’t work on your website.
Tips to make Your 404 Page useful :
- Gradually let him redirect to main flow of website.
- Put the links to again go back to main web page or blog where user can again click without much of fuss
- Avoid using technical terms or internet terms. Your site visitors don’t care why the page isn’t there or what caused the error as much as they care about getting to the page they want.
- Don’t tell user that its “you” who typed the or misspelled the word. Simply let him know we cannot find what you are looking for. You might want to look at other links over here.
Custom 404s in WordPress
WordPress offers the easy way to customize your 404 page. There are many free plugin such as:
If you are familiar with coding, you can pull up your theme’s 404.php file and add some custom coding to force the page to do what you want.
All the best with your 404s.