Sometimes visitors try to visit a page on your website that doesn’t exist. They may have made a typo in the URL or clicked an outdated link.
Every website is prepared for that. Your site will recognize it as “Error 404: Page Not Found”. Your website will show a 404 page, explaining what happened.
Case closed, right? Well, not really. Your visitor still didn’t find the page they were looking for. If your 404 page only says “Page not found,” they’ll probably just leave. What if you could instead make a 404 page that helps people feel welcome, gets them to the right place, or even makes them smile? You’ll make a better impression, and improve the overall customer journey.
Let’s take a look at some ideas for what to write on a 404 page, some examples, and we’ll also show you how to edit your own 404 page to fit your brand.
An error page shows how you deal with errors
You know in advance that anyone who sees your 404 page is having a “bad” experience (even a very small one). Use this as a chance to show how your company responds when things go wrong.
The text on a 404 page is usually short and to the point. The tone of voice is what makes the difference.
What do you write on a 404 page?
- Explain what happened: Make sure your visitor understands why they see this page instead of the one they were expecting. Most websites use a variation on a standard sentence like:
“This page could not be found.” or “Oops, this page doesn’t exist”.
- Suggest interesting pages: Now that this visitor is on your website, you can suggest a few pages on your site that they might want to visit instead. That way they won’t bounce somewhere else.
Good examples of 404 pages
Here are some examples of 404 pages that go beyond the standard error message:
Ask people to tell you how they landed on your 404 page. You learn about outdated links and show that your company actively tries to fix errors.
Not finding the page you want is disappointing. But a funny 404 page can bring an unexpected smile to your visitor.
Put links on your 404 page to the most visited pages on your website. There is a good chance your visitor was actually looking for one of those.
Why not add a link to your social media or your contact page? Visitors can ask you their questions directly and you can use the interaction to make them forget about any bad experience.
Put a nice reward on your 404 page, like a free white paper or a discount for your online shop. Most people will find it by accident and will feel like they won. So much for a ‘bad experience’…
How to edit your 404 page
The 404 page on your Jimdo website comes with standard text, but you can also edit it yourself.
If you want to edit your 404 page to fit your company style more, you can do so via the settings:
- Go to Pages > System Pages
- Choose Page not found / 404
- Edit the page like you would edit any other page on your website
- Publish your website
How to prevent 404 errors in the first place
Even if you have a great 404 page, it’s better if your visitors never run into it at all. The most common reasons people reach a 404 page are broken links or mistyping the website address (URL).
Here are some tricks to prevent ‘page not found’ errors:
- Use simple, short URLs: They are are easier to type, so fewer visitors will make mistakes.
- Use internal links: If you link to another page on your website, choose it from the list instead of typing in the link manually. That way, if you ever change the address of the linked page, Dolphin will make sure the link keeps working.
- Review your top referring pages — Your Statistics show you which other websites send you visitors. If a link on such a website is wrong or outdated, ask them to correct it.
Every website has a 404 page. With a bit of thought you can use that page to give visitors a great first impression at a time when they least expect it. Use the design, tone of voice, and unique personality to show a confident website-owner who knows what to do, even if things go wrong.