Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Customizing The 404s

Customizing The 404s
For every site, the 404 error code will appear unavoidably from time to time. This happens when users mistype your address, through a broken link or the server going down. When the page fails to load, you will find a stark 404 Not found error page.

Now, companies have started customizing the 404 Not Found pages and this is found to be more effective than the plain looking 404 page. You can customize the blank page and give it a more user friendly touch and put a creative message and that ways users will be tempted to visit your site again.

Some companies have also gone through different ways to turn their 404 page into indexed pages. This is a fine line but it is better to consult with your SEO specialist first.

A custom 404 error can be a part of your SEO plan but not for the content itself. The main aim for customizing the 404 Not Found Page is just to explain to the users about the error and bring them back to the working page.

While designing the 404 page, you need to focus on these elements:
  • An apology: The 404 Not Found page mostly comes up due to the user’s error but that doesn’t matter as users would assume errors are the site’s fault. Well, you can’t argue with them so apologize for the error and try to move the users to the desired page.
  • Links: Select the links on your 404 page very carefully. It is not that the 404 page will appear on all your site’s pages. Being too specific doesn’t really help and you need to provide the closest thing.
  • Personality: Keep the page compelling and interesting to look at. Some companies use humorous customized 404 pages, which have a big impact. Think creative and design the page with a friendly tone.
A customized 404 Not Found page, if designed well, can result in better user retention. When you hire a professional website design service, try to consult with them regarding this page design.