The 404 page doesn’t have to be an ugly blemish on your website. Okay, so maybe your visitors didn’t find what they wanted, but that doesn’t mean this page is useless. You can still use it as an opportunity to increase conversions and build your brand’s personality in the process.
Are you ready to get started? Here are a few things you can do to add personality to your 404 page.
1. Use Normal Human Language
As cool as it would be, you’re not communicating with robots. The person on the other side of the screen is a real, live person, so “HTTP 404” or “Server not able to retrieve the requested page” isn’t going to mean a whole lot to them.
The language on your 404 page should instead be easy to understand, while at the same time using your distinct brand voice.
- “Page not found.”
- “Darn, we can’t find the page you’re looking for.”
- “Yikes! Something went squirrely.”
- “This page is on vacation.”
Keep it short, sweet, and to the point, and for the love of Pete, make sure you spell check! You need the user to be able to understand at a quick glance that the page they’re trying to access isn’t working and spelling errors don’t help the matter.
2. Add Visual Interest
Your 404 page should be designed in a way that’s creative and memorable. Use colours that really pop on the screen and images that will stick in people’s brains.
It could be a simple graphic or even a display of your products, such as on Lego’s 404 page. Those little yellow guys add a ton of personality to a page that would otherwise be dull and boring.
Remember, this is your opportunity to show people coming to your website what you’re all about. It takes only 50 milliseconds for users to form an opinion of your website, so if the 404 page is the first one they see, you want to make it count!
3. Make it Interactive
Kick your 404 page up a notch by making it interactive for the user. If you want it to be fun, try making it into a game or including some kind of GIF. Do you want something more functional? You can’t go wrong with a classic search bar that helps your users find a new landing page.
As it stands, 81% of marketers believe interactive content grabs attention. There’s a reason sites like BuzzFeed are so successful. Bring some of that click-worthy fun to your 404 page.
4. Create Easy Navigation to Other Pages
A crazy 73.72% of users who reach a 404 page will not return to the website. You don’t want a pesky link issue to turn all these potential visitors away. Encourage them to stay by offering alternative links they can explore instead.
Try call-to-action (CTA) buttons, such as the ones on ModCloth’s 404 page. Notice how there are clear categories for the user to click on like “home décor,” “dresses,” and “sale.” These clickable links are also formatted in neat columns that are easy to view.
CTA buttons make it easy for your web user to see their options and click to another place on your site. This shows you care about the user experience. Meanwhile, you keep getting traffic and may just get a new customer out of the deal. It’s really a win-win!
5. Keep it Simple
Your creative juices may be flowing, but don’t go overboard with the design and copy on your 404 page. It should ultimately be neat, clean, and super simple.
There are many good reasons to go with a minimalist approach on this page. Aside from making it easier to read, you also come across more professionally. This scores you major brand points!
There you have it! A few choice words, a fun but simple design, and a couple of clickable links can work wonders for an otherwise drab 404 page. Customise yours in a way that makes sense for your brand. The sky’s the limit!
About the author:
Alyssa Mertes is a promo expert with over three years of experience in the industry. Her passion for writing has led to a BA in English & Communications from Aurora University and work published for the Advertising Specialty Institute and The Bolingbrook Sun Times.
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