What are 404 pages?
One of the most common examples of errors on a website is the 404 page. This also may be called a “page not found” or a “link is broken” page wherein there may be network issue, some problem with the URL of the page or that particular page is missing or has been moved to a different address. Sometimes when the error occurs because of a bad connection, it may be solved by refreshing the page or retrying the same URL. The other most common occurrence is when the page address is misspelled and this can be easily resolved by correcting it.
If your website has been up for a while and the pages have been indexed on Google or other search engines, even when you move or remove those pages, the index may/may not have changed respectively. It is more so relevant if there has been a website re-design or too many names of pages have been changed, the listing could still not change for long.
What is the best thing to do
The search engine might give you a default error message or websites can have their custom 404 page.
Why it’s important to have your custom 404 error page is to make sure your traffic stays on your website by also giving them an option to go back to the home page or a previous page on the website. The navigation for your website remains the same avoiding drop-offs. This way the user understand they have reached the website they were intending to, and the page works like any other page on the website.
While it is good to give the user suggestions and links, you also don’t want to confuse them. They came looking for something specific so sending them to too many other places is not going to make a pleasant experience. Another good thing is to provide suggestions to similar or other pages a user can go to here. Apart from page suggestions, some websites also find it a good practice to provide the user with reasons as to why they’re seeing an error and how they can solve it. Nowadays a lot of websites have humorous or creative ways to do this.
Here are some of the best examples we think have their 404 page on point!
Keeping in tune with the look-and-feel of their website, the Lego error page is one of the most popular examples of creatively telling the user they’ve landed on the wrong page. It’s fun, it’s toys but it’s not the page you want.
The Airbnb website has an animation that makes this girl spill her ice-cream – you definitely don’t want that. Also, they tell the user that it’s their fault they can’t seem to find the page along with providing a list of other links to visit.
In line with their chimp design theme, this popular email marketing tool has made it pretty clear you aren’t on the right page but on the right website!
- CSS tricks
A clever 404 page design is by CSS Tricks that doesn’t use any words but just conveys that the code is broken.
Mindshare’s widely talked about error page works on the fact that you mind glaring at a screen glaring back at you – definitely not what you intended to look at, but in tune with the brand’s style.
- Casual Brand Shop
One of the most appreciated and amusing error pages is that of this clothing brand. There’s literally no clothes on this page for sure!
What’s hurts really bad according to Spotify? Broken hearts and vinyl records (also the page you’re at)!
IBM inverts their logo to show that things aren’t right, unless you’re talking about 404 pages, like this post! They give the user various other options to go to from the page along with an option to report the problem.
It’s almost like you’re on alien territory if you land on the error page for Linkedin. Keeping it simple, they send the user back to the feed or their help center.
Does your website have one yet?