Everyone has been on a website and navigated to a non-existing page. Whether you typed in the wrong URL, or a URL that never existed, you got the same result – a 404 error page. Some are eye attracting, others are dull and boring. Some have search bars, some have funny images, others have ads, and some even have humor. No matter its content, they all are alike, but your 404 error page needs some things to allow it benefit your website.
Keep new visitors flowing through your website
Let’s say someone links to your website, but they put in the wrong URL. The people who click on that link will then be forwarded to your 404 error page which is dull and boring by default. By putting humor or an interesting design into your 404 error page (that matches the rest of your website), those visitors may well visit the rest of your website. That one visitor could become your most loyal reader and bring many more on the way. A search bar may also help – it allows your visitors to search through all of your site and find what they really want (obviously). No one likes a dull, lifeless page that offers them nothing to do.
Monetize your website
Everybody loves money and a 404 page can be a great place to do it. Yeah yeah, ads aren’t very good for your community, but one or two of them are good if they flow into your website’s design. They don’t even have to be someone else’s ads, they can be your own ads for a product you offer such as an eBook or eCourse. Let’s face it – your 404 page will get a lot of views since everyone will see it when they type an invalid, deleted, or offline URL. Just by adding some catchy text and a short but sweet advertisement, you could have sales up by a lot. As long as you design the rest of your page to flow along with the ad, it will look natural and eye-appealing. Just don’t overdo it – you don’t want a page that looks like it’s begging for clicks.
Make your readers feel more “comfortable”
By default, your 404 error page is boring and dull. Nobody wants to see it over and over again, so give your readers a break and show them some of your creativeness with a page that will take all of ten minutes to design. Yeah, it may not be a huge page, but it will allow your readers to see that you are taking time to customize your website. Not only is the default 404 error page dull, but it is most likely not merging well with your theme. Most readers probably will go insane when they see two different pages, both with the same domain name, with totally different themes.
So take ten minutes and design a 404 error page that will really blow your reader’s minds off. It could be the difference between zero and one visitors.