“404 Not Found”
“404 Page Not Found”
“404. That’s an error.”
We’ve all seen 404 pages when we unexpectedly click a broken link on a website. No matter how many times organizations and marketers try to eliminate them, they end up popping up anyway.
It looks something like this…Make no mistake—an error page can lead to lost conversions and a negative user experience.
Here are some statistics that prove its negative impact:
- 73.72% of visitors who reach a 404 error page will leave your website and never return.
- Only 23% of visitors that end up in a 404 page make another attempt to find the missing page.
- 88% of online customers said that they will never return to a website if they have a negative user experience.
404 pages may seem like no harm at all but they can significantly reduce conversions.
What Are 404 Pages? Why Do They Occur?
404 page is a landing page that users reach when they end up in a non-existent page in your website.
A user may have clicked a link to an old product page, a deleted blog post or entered a link with a typo. It’s usually a page that no longer exists because it has been deleted or removed from the website.
You may crawl your website daily to find broken links though you may not be able to identify them all every time.
According to Impact, the primary causes of 404s could include the following:
- Direct, Typo, Email, Bookmarks: 45.87%
- Referrals & Social Networks: 30.26%
- Broken Link On Your Website: 17.58%
- Search Engine: 6.3%
404 pages are bad news.
Let’s say you own an e-commerce store.
New customers may have discovered your brand through an old product page. This page has since been deleted because the item is out of stock.
While new customers have discovered your brand, they end up leaving the website and never returning ever again. In short, many potential clients are hitting dead ends and leaving your online store.
The Benefits of Designing 404 Pages
What if I told you that you can get visitors in a 404 page to return back to your site? We’ve recently discovered that a well-designed error page with the right elements can get lost visitors back to your online store. Here are some benefits of designing 404 pages.
Opportunity to Redirect Users to Relevant Links
A custom 404 page may have links to other relevant pages on the website. You can add a link to your social media pages, promote your product pages, or even post personalized product recommendations.
Boost User Experience
A 404 page doesn’t have to be the end of a user’s journey.
A creative 404 page doesn’t just guide users back to the website. Some brands have included interactive games and activities that can entertain users. Humorous and fun copy are used to showcase their brand’s personality
Make a Compelling Offer
Reaching a 404 page can be a frustrating experience, but you can use it as an opportunity to convert potential customers.
To apologize for the inconvenience, you can offer a discount, coupon, or free content. Use it as an opportunity to upsell your latest offerings. Instead of losing customers, your business can increase conversions. This is how you turn a setback into an opportunity.
Examples of Creative 404 Pages
How can you make a 404 page that encourages readers to return back to the website? Here are some creative examples:
1. Steve Madden (Product Recommendations)
Steve Madden’s 404 page looks like it’s still part of the website. There’s a navigation bar and brand logo so it seems you’re still shopping on the site.
Since the page is not found, the brand offers product recommendations featuring its trending items. This persuades shoppers to go back to the website and continue browsing products.
How to Do It:
For starters, integrate your website’s design and branding in your 404 page. Instead of a blank page with the usual 404 message, give customers a reason to return back to your store.
If you own an e-commerce brand, make the 404 page seem like a part of your e-commerce store. Include a navigation bar and product recommendations to encourage customers to keep browsing on the website.
2. Kualo (Interactive Game)
Kualo—a web hosting site—takes their 404 pages to the next level by making it a space invaders game. Players have to annihilate the invader’s fleet and increase the difficulty level each time they win the game.
The interactive page is a nice surprise that could encourage your visitors to keep playing on your website.
How to Do It:
Kualo’s 404 page is a welcome departure from the norm. To improve their guest’s user experience, they have an interactive game that will entertain them for several minutes.
3. Ready To Go Survival (Leverages Popular Culture)
The Ready To Go Survival—a store for bags—has a welcome email that references popular culture with a cool Matrix reference. You can either click the blue pill for the homepage or the red pill to get information about personalized preparedness.
If they don’t click the pills, they still have a variety of options to return to the website. They can “Subscribe Today” or get personalized survival kits.
How to Do It:
For starters, don’t make it sound too technical and use casual language. Instead of the usual 404 message say, “Looks Like This Page Got Lost In The Matrix”.
The page is designed to look like the website so it seems like the customer never left. They can either click the navigation bar, available pills, subscribe via email or visit their social media pages.
4. Orange Coat (Entertaining Diagram + Search Bar)
Orange Coat–a web design agency—creates beautiful and high-end creative websites for its clients.
The business uses a diagram to explain how visitors ended up in the error page. By following the diagram, users can get a series of options for finding their preferred page so they can reach the page that they want.
How to Do It:
Orange Coat’s 404 page doesn’t look like an error page at all. They explain why users could end up on the page through a creative diagram. This encourages visitors to return to their website.
5. Hotdot (Hypnotic Design)
If there was a design contest for 404 pages, Hotdot seems to reach the top stop. The 404 text is composed of a series of red dots that hypnotizes the viewer and encourages them to stay on the page for a long time.
At the bottom of the page, there are links to the homepage and portfolio that users can click once they leave the website.
How to Do It:
Design is key.
True to its name, Hotdot uses a series of moving red dots. This achieves the goal of grabbing the viewer’s attention and making them stop then stare.
How Will You Design Your 404 Page?
When designing your own 404 page, the key is creativity. Think of how you can get customers back to your online store.
Use it as an opportunity to upsell your products or redirect customers to relevant pages in your website. An interactive game or a funny graphic could entertain visitors. As a result, they stay on your site for a longer period of time.
Some brands created 404 pages by thinking outside the box. They’ve leveraged hypnotic design elements which still match with their brand’s aesthetic.