Why Should I Have A Custom 404 Page For My Website?
Clicking on a webpage and reaching a 404 error is disappointing, isn’t it? What’s even more disappointing is when a web design does not include a custom 404 page.
The truth is that mistakes and 404 pages happen. Servers go down, website designers may use an incorrect URL, redirects don’t redirect, and website design pages sometimes disappear into the vast internet beyond.
No matter why your customer may get an error message, it’s important that they see a custom 404 page and not a blank one.
404 Error Pages Are Disappointing
The last thing any viewer wants to see when searching the internet is a 404 error message. That message means that whatever page was once there, it no longer is. Cue the deep sigh.
Regardless of the many reasons why this happens, a 404 error message tells a user that they need to look elsewhere for whatever they wanted. Most of the time this means leaving the site unless your website design includes custom 404 error messages.
Blank 404 Error Pages Can Hurt Your Website
As innocent as they may seem, blank 404 pages can hurt your web design performance and your business:
- Primarily, those stark, white, ugly 404 pages cause viewers to bounce right back to the SERPs where they will find another website to look at instead of yours. You could be handing potential customers over to the competition if viewers don’t look for other ways to find the information on your site. Bouncebacks can also affect SEO for your entire site.
- Website designers also know that blank 404 pages may leave viewers wondering if your company is still in business. Many viewers mistakenly understand a single 404 page to mean an entire website is down or no longer available. That’s the last thing any business owner needs when the whole purpose of having a professional website design is to attract viewers.
Custom 404 Pages Can Help Your Website
Like any other part of your web design, a custom 404 page is designed to identify your company and hold onto customers, even if they don’t actually reach the page they were seeking.
When website designers create custom 404 pages that include your company branding, a message about the error with a little humor goes a long way on 404 pages. Most importantly, it links back to your site which can be instrumental in progressing those viewers to your website where they wanted to be in the first place.
Correctly designed, 404’s act as funnels to reduce bouncebacks and help viewers find what they need while adding more exposure to your whole website in general. Most viewers will naturally follow a link when it’s there for them in their search for information. They may even get a chuckle out of a funny error message which can form positive, memorable impressions when a mistake has obviously been made.
Before you decide to cut corners on website design by leaving a standard, boring 404 page, think again. The small additional cost of having website designers create an impressionable custom 404 page will pay for itself many times over in rescued customers. Web design that includes such a page helps you get the most from your site, even when mistakes happen!