6 Advantages of Having a Custom 404 Error Page

Have you ever surfed the internet looking for something, can’t find it, and run into a page that says, “Nope. No content for you. Here’s a 404.”? Nearly all folks who enjoy spending time online have had this problem. 

The technical term for a broken link or missing content is a 404 error page. To reduce the “yikes,” and “how disappointing” factor of your target audience seeing a generic error page, why not go the custom route? 

If you own or manage a website, this is an important opportunity to have fun with your site’s visitors while addressing their concerns. How you handle this situation can either drive visitors away or give them a laugh while helping them find the right page.

Let’s explore six other reasons why it’s best to turn this negative 404 experience into one that’s not only on-brand but a way of connecting personally with your site’s visitors.

1. It Provides a Better User Experience

The more enjoyable and informative you can make this online oopsie, the more likely you can keep visitors on your website instead of running for the hills. I mean, as long as it’s functional, that’s obviously where they want to be, right? 

Many companies use funny images and lines to entertain their viewers so that the “Where did it go?” experience isn’t so offputting. Then, they try to provide options for navigating to the right place or other relevant content on their website, enhancing the users’ overall browsing experience. One method is to include a search bar on your broken link page so users can try searching for something else. And, keeping people on your site longer reduces your bounce rate! That’s a win-win.  

2. It Shows that You Care About Your Users

People matter! Custom-designed 404 error pages clearly state that you care about your users. Even though the error message is not a part of your regular content, it will show that you have gone the extra mile to improve your website. It will also help you to boost the trust factor among your users and can give that last push to encourage users to do business with you. Woo-hoo!

3. It is a Great Opportunity to Connect with Your Visitors

Engaging and clear communication is the key to building a better relationship with your visitors and improving your sales performance. You can make the content match your brand voice and visualization with a little copy and design. For instance, you can create humorous content if you have a youthful and funny brand (ahem, like us). A bland, standard 404 error page means you miss out on this vital branding opportunity (oh noooooooo!). 

4. Use It as a Chance to Upsell or Cross-Sell

A common (and smart) method of saving a sale when an older product or service package has been removed from a website is by showcasing what else you have to offer that’s similar (or even better). Take advantage of this error page that could have been a major letdown and, instead, create a new sales lead for your current offerings. Nice! 

5. It Offers an Opportunity to Display Ads

Finding a way to work more digital advertising into your website can require some creative thinking. Custom 404 error pages are an excellent opportunity to display ads from your trusted advertisers, ultimately helping you increase the revenue from your website. Cha-ching!

6. It Has the Potential to Re-Engage Users

Everybody loves a bargain, right? Are you running a special, a sale, seasonal discount, clearance event, or short-term sign-up offer? It’s your chance to let everybody know about it! Custom 404 error pages can showcase your current promotions, re-engaging your customers and putting them back in a buying mood. Sweet!

Partner With a Trusted Web Design Firm to Create a Custom 404 Error Page

OK then, now you know what your website is missing out on by having a cookie cutter error page: branding, user experience, bounce rates, conversion rates, ads, and just plain caring for your site’s visitors. So, what are you waiting 404? If you need help creating a more engaging website with custom 404 error pages, copy, design, ads, video, and more, kindly contact the web design experts at Rock Paper Simple for a right-fit conversation!