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Error 404: How to use the error page to your advantage
Surely you must have already accessed a website and waited for a page but actually found that famous “Not Found” message.
The 404 error is one of the error pages that users find most on the web and, for this reason, it is important to use it to improve the user experience on your website. With this objective in this post, we will address the 404 Error, explaining how it occurs and showing better ways to live with it. Check it out in the post.
How does this error occur?
The 404 error is an HTTP response code that indicates that the user can communicate with the server normally but the server could not find what was requested. Thus, the hosting server will display the message “404 – Page not found” feature.
This error means that the web page the user was trying to access was not found, that page may have been removed or modified. It can also occur when:
- the user tries to access a broken or non-existent link;
- website visitor types the URL incorrectly.
In short, Error 404 occurs when the page accessed does not exist in the URL entered .
What are the consequences of this error?
It is possible for the user to lose confidence in your site, especially if it is their first visit. Even more, if you have a virtual store – since, in this case, the error prevents the customer from making the purchase.
Unfortunately, this type of error is present on all websites, mainly because it can be caused by typos by the user. So the best way is to think of a way to use this error to your advantage.
First of all, you need to optimize your URLs to make them friendlier – which is great for SEO. Also, remember to perform redirects in case any page is deleted – it is possible that some user has saved your page in favorites.
And the best advice: customize your 404 pages! The standard error page is simple and with terms in English (as in the image), which generates a certain distrust, isn’t it?
So bet on usability always, see some tips when customizing your 404 error page:
- Remove the standard error message;
- Keep your site’s default layout to show the user that they are still browsing the same page;
- Keep your site menu or add a button to return to home ;
- If possible, add a search field or indicate some pages similar to what was searched;
- Mistakes are not well regarded by users, so add a touch of humor to the page – but be careful to always maintain your brand identity;
At first glance, visiting a website and coming across a 404 error page can be a disappointment to the visitor. With that in mind, several sites found a lighter way to deal with the situation, creating a fun page. See some examples below:
In our error page, we kept the default site layout with menu and footer, as well as buttons (unfortunately it didn’t fit in the image). We also try to give a fun touch with our mascot, Snappy, looking for the page that was not found.
The Lego website page approaches the error with a lot of humor, featuring a puppet holding an unplugged cable. It also has an apology message, with a lighter language, and offers a button to return to home, in addition to maintaining the layout of the site.
The Hootsuite website goes one step further, putting your pet as missing in a box. The page retains the default layout, with a more explanatory message, and also offers a button to return to the site home.
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