The 404 error page. What is it and how can you maximize it as an opportunity to promote your business?
A 404 error (“Page Not Found”) occurs when a page no longer exists on your website … or never existed. This could be a result of restructuring your website, renaming or deleting pages without a 301 redirect (naughty) or it could be due to a searcher’s typo. Basically, you are trying to retrieve something from the server that does not exist. When this happens, if a custom page is not created, the following default page shows up:
Regardless of how a searcher ends up with a 404, we want to make sure that they stay on your site. To do this, you must create a custom 404 error page.
What should a “healthy” 404 error page look like? Here are some suggestions that will assist anyone who lands on it to continue navigating through your site.
A. You’ve got to acknowledge the mistake first and foremost. Some use humor to do this:
The page you seek cannot be found
but countless more exist
The links provided here and there
we hope will lend assist
B. Consider putting an abbreviated site map right on the error page. This way, we are acknowledging that they are lost, but giving them options to find what they are looking for. At the very least, you could offer them a link to your full site map.
C. Put your contact info on the error page. Give them the option to call or email you directly.
D. Consider a short contact form. Let the searcher send you their information easily through a simple, direct form.
I hope that this post encourages you to first discover whether or not you have a custom 404 error page. If you do not have one, create one! If you do have one, maximize the page to promote your business further! This is just one more opportunity you have.
Not sure how to create a custom 404 error page on your website? Call Mannix Marketing, Inc. for assistance! Toll free – 1-800-928-9154.