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Why should you have a custom 404 page?

Custom 404 blog post picture

The goal of many websites is to drive traffic to it. With this in mind we want to convert that traffic into leads, which would eventually lead to sales. You never want to turn visitors away from your site because then you lose traffic and the opportunity to make a sale. You, however, will do just that if you do not have a custom 404 page.

What is a 404 page?

404 is the error number returned when a visitor attempts to access a page that doesn’t exist on your site. The main causes are usually mistyped URL’s or a visitor following a link to a page that no longer exists. The default 404 page would look something like this:

If your visitor sees this the only outcome would be a lost opportunity to convert a visitor into a lead and eventually into a sale, thus cutting into your profits.

Custom 404 Page

A custom 404 has the potential to convert a broken linkor lost page into a channel that will redirect website visitors back to your site. Creating a custom 404 page is not difficult, click here to learn how to make one. Once you have it in place, not only will you not turn away visitors, in fact, you could create plenty of opportunity for yourself. Let’s look at a few approaches to custom 404 page design.

Branding

You can re-emphasize your branding and in that way make sure that visitors will not be distracted from their experience and will still see the colours and theme of your website. Below you will see an example of one of our clients who deals with grains. The page contains their colour scheme and a picture of a grain field, which is topical to their business.

Search Engines

Search engines, like Google, crawl your site finding information that people are looking for that can possibly lead to traffic for your site which in turn gives you the opportunity to make a sale. This is done by the search engines following links to all the different pages on your site. If your 404 page is indexed without links, the search engine will be unable to continue and will be unable to index the rest of your site which can cause information that possible visitors are looking for, to not reach them.

Your custom 404 page gives a solution to this problem by providing your visitor a way to find what they are looking for, or just simply providing them a way back to the home page.

Being useful

If you want to be successful you want customers to convert from a lead to a sale all the time. To do this you need to create trust. Trust can be achieved by being useful. An example of a company being useful with their custom 404 page is LeadPages. They have turned their 404 page into a landing page – they offer a free giveaway related to their company and brand. You can offer something similar or provide links to a specific page where you want a visitor to complete an action.

Conclusion

If you create a custom 404 page that replaces the default page you will have the opportunity to re-emphasize your branding by keeping your brand fresh in your visitor’s mind. You will support search engines by fully indexing your site and providing all the information you have available to possible clients. And you will build trust by having a fully functioning site and by aiming to be useful where ever you can.

If you want a custom 404 page developed for your website contact us today for a quote and consultation on digital marketing strategies suited to your business needs.

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