Robert Beerworth Team : Web Strategy Tags : Web Design Web Strategy

The 404 page is more important than you might think

Robert Beerworth Team : Web Strategy Tags : Web Design Web Strategy

We’ve all seen 404 pages…

That page that tells us that the webpage we requested is not found on the server.

It presents a total dead-end. And admission – rightly or wrongly – that we have nothing to give you, the user.

And it is at this point that the user needs to make a decision… a decision, already laboured by the fact that you have disappointed them.

And with the impression that there might be something wrong with your website.

The 404 page begins a fast and downward trajectory for the user, their experience and confidence.

And this is where a well-designed, usable and possibly amusing 404 page can help.

After all, you have little time to win the user back.


What your 404 page should do

First and foremost, the 404 page should help users get out of their rut.

Clear and strong links to get back on the path.

Ideas for how they might remedy the issue and start a new search.  Or talk with customer service.

Possibly an incentive to keep going; remind them that you have FREE SHIPPING and all the other great things you do.

Throw in some fun. It will keep the user focused and reading which is time on your website to reconnect.

List out your key pages, destinations and categories.

If you’re an eCommerce website, show links to CLEARANCE and possibly some featured products and promotions.

Make an effort however.

This is your chance to change the direction the user is taking and your chance to restore your connection and trust with potential customers and clients.

And it’s worth the effort.

As aside… a 404 page I like. A bit of humour and a prominent link to the latest breaking news… Better than some black, server-automated text on a white background.