Posted by Monish Vora
June 03, 2013
First things first, this article will focus on 404 pages and how useful they could be, in addition to some of my personal favourites.
Tips on optimizing your 404 pages:
• It should contain your name and logo
• Give an explanation on why the visitor has been directed to this page
• List the common mistakes which leads to this problem
• Provide links to your home page or other relevant pages
• Provide a search engine box for the visitors convenience
• Also, provide an e-mail links for the visitors to report problems
• Last by not the least; try to grab attention with your 404 page. It should match the theme of your website, at the same time must propel the visitors to stay on the same and read more information and click on the links to other pages of the website.
• Include humor wisely with some cartoons and funny pictures. These are my personal suggestion however, you could incorporate something innovative. Also, you could describe a story which relates to the 404 pages.
Usefulness of a 404 page:
• The first advantage of a well optimized 404 page is that you could direct your users to a different page, rather than having them leaves the website. Many a times, visitors do get confused on what step they should take next.
• Your appearance on search engines could also benefit with the help of a 404 page. Let’s suppose a broken link leads to a page which doesn’t exist. The search engines wouldn’t be able to go deep and index content. If you opt to have customized 404 pages, the page could be indexed even if a page is broken, and the search engines will find links to those pages, which could be beneficial from crawling.
• A 404 page could, in fact, help you in building a good credibility, if you present the visitor with an innovative page with pictures and colors so that he wouldn’t wish to leave the site. Build a user experience so that the visitor is lured to go to a suggested page and won’t leave the website.
My Personal Favourites:
Below given are some of the best, funniest and inspirational 404 pages and I do believe the same would help you in creating the best ones:
I hope this was entertaining and also gives an idea on how 404 pages should be like. Of course, a 404 error is the most boring part of the website, but you could make it interesting so that your visitor could forgive you and move on to the next page with a smile on their face.