Huntsville Web Design Tips for 404 Error Pages
Most website owners tend to underestimate the usefulness of 404 error pages. In fact, it’s one of the most neglected elements of the web design tips that could be used to the advantage.
Huntsville web design experts can design the 404 error pages in a way that helps boosts conversion and revenues. With proper optimization of the page, you can turn the error page into something useful improving website performance.
About 404 Error Page
The 404 error page is displayed when an online user tries to reach a page that is non-existent on the site. This page is displayed by the server when it can’t find the page requested by the user.
The server displays the page when a page never existed or has been moved or deleted without any redirection.
You should not confuse the 404 error page with the DNS errors that are displayed when a domain is misconfigured or not registered. The errors are a different kettle of fish and are displayed by a web browser instead of a web server.
Why You Should Care About 404 Error Pages?
Designing proper 404 pages can help in improving the online experience and also help in improving website performance. A poorly crafted error page will result in a negative response. The online visitors may become confused leave your site completely and search a new site.
In contrast, a good design error page will mean that customers stay longer on your site.
Consider the example of Hubspot.com. The site’s error page displays an image, text in bold, and links to the internal blog site, product page, and also a bold call to action.
Another great example is IBM 404 error page design. The page displays an inverted IBM logo with links to IBM Marketplace and other products. Other great examples of 404 error page designs include Lego.com, Hayzap.com, and 9gag.com.
Examples of bad 404 error page design include Maxemail, List25, and Microsoft error pages that are bland, simple, and out-of-style that create a negative impression on customers.
A badly designed webpage can lead to high bounce rates, less time spent on site, and fewer pages views during a session. All of this will have a negative impact on the search rank of a site.
Tips to Create a Perfect 404 Page
Now that you understand the importance of the 404 error page, let’s look at some tips that can help you to craft the perfect error pages of your site.
1. Consistent Web Design
The web design of the error page should be consistent with that of the entire website. You should not make the page an orphan in the context of web design. Make sure that the error page retains the branding so that users don’t get a shock that they may be on the wrong site.
Make sure that the fonts, style, and color of the error page are similar to the rest of the website. The page should be integrated into the existing site in a way that it looks unique and stands on its own without appearing out of place. This will help establish familiarity due to which users will likely continue to browse the site.
2. Reassure Users
You should not just say ‘The page no longer exists’. You also need to explain what went wrong by listing some of the possible reasons for the error page. Help online visitors understand the reason for using creative, zany, or crazy images.
Try to make them laugh or be entertained so that they don’t simply leave the page upon landing on the error page.
Make sure you tell the users what to do next. This is a great place to create a CTA. Entice the users to continue navigating by offering something that is of value to the users. This is something that even Google suggests doing with 404 error page.
3. Explain in Plain Language
Online visitors become frustrated with an error page. You can increase the frustration by using complex website jargons to explain the reasons for the error.
To ease the frustrations, you should explain the error by using plain language. But that does not mean the message should be bland.
You can infuse the message with humor or personality to make visitors remain on the site a bit longer. Texts like “Houston, We have a problem” or “Now where did the page go?” along with an appropriate image will amuse the readers. You can add a link at the end to entice the users to continue browsing instead of leaving the site.
4. Offer Tools to Resolve the Error
Online users like to solve problems. You can make them stick to a site by providing tools that can help them to resolve the issue.
Consider adding a search bar so that online visitors can find the required page. You should also add contact information so that they can email or call a contact person. Adding menu and a link to the homepage is also recommended so that users land on the main page.
5. Add a Sitemap
A site map is useful for the SEO of a site. Having a site map will help in indexing of your pages. More data is passed to the search engine due to which it will give crawl priority to your site.
Consider adding a message “You should click on this site map to find what you are looking for” as has been done greatly by Starbucks.
The above tips will turn your error pages into a powerful way to attract and retain visitors. The page can be designed to reduce bounce rate and increase time spent by online visitors browsing the site. This will positively impact your website ranking.
But you should not loose of the bigger picture when it comes to designing of the error page.
The best option is to locate and fix broken links on the site. Consider doing a site audit once a month to search for missing pictures, videos, and articles. Fixing the broken links will reduce the chances that online users will face the 404 error page.
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