404 Pages: What’s the point?

Error pages on the web are commonplace and everyone has encountered one whilst browsing their way through a website at one point or another. Most commonly, a user will end up on an error 404 page which displays very little information and merely tells the user that the page they are looking for does not exist.
The standard 404 error page isn’t especially helpful or even interesting to look at. If the user cannot navigate their way back to where they were, the chances are that they’ll get fed up and navigate away from the website altogether.

While broken links and deleted content will land a user at an 404 page, it isn’t always the fault of the webmaster that a user lands on the error page. If a user mistypes a URL then they’ll be confronted with it.
Either way, it’s in the webmaster’s best interest to reengage the user should they land on the error page. There are lots of simple ways to create a great error page which should reduce the risk of your user wandering off the site and going elsewhere.

Leave a lasting impression

The rest of your site is well-designed and aesthetically pleasing, so why shouldn’t your error page follow suit? By creating a unique image, interesting graphic or amusing meme, the chances of you reengaging the user increase significantly. This is especially for brands, as an interesting or quirky 404 page will have a lasting effect on your user and grab their attention.

Link back to the homepage

This is a really simple way for the user to reengage with their site. In the event that they do wander off the edge of the website, then providing them with a link back to the homepage, the parent pages or even the last page they were on, will navigate the user back to where they need to be.

Include a search function

If a user is struggling to find some content on your site, then including a search function on your 404 page will help them to find what they’re looking for which, again, will reengage the user and keep them on your site.

Virgin Holidays

Wufoo 404


RetardZone 404

For more interesting 404 Pages please see a similar article on Geekalicious.
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