Monday, October 22, 2012

Got a 404? Make it Rock!

Everyone hates those 404 pages. You know, the ones telling you that you visited a page that does not exist. In an ideal world, no website should have a 404 but there are instances wherein a 404 is unavoidable. So, what can you do? Make it rock!

A 404 page is a valuable page that can turn your visitors into customers so if you can’t avoid having them, make sure to take advantage of them. Here are some ideas.

Search box
Add a search box in the page so that the users can try to find the page or content that they want. This involves a little technical know-how. If you have a dedicated programmer, ask him to work his magic.

Give suggestions on other topics or content in your website. Don’t forget to provide links. You can also recommend your site’s top post. Make sure that these links are working though!

Jazz it up with images
Jazz the page up with powerful images that convey who you are as a company. You can also put images that reinforce your brand. Include compelling text to make the page more appealing and convince your visitors to browse other pages of your site.

Google widget
Google has a tool for your 404 page. It’s called Google’s Webmaster Tools 404 widget. Google will give you a code which you can copy-paste to your 404 template. After that, Google will automatically give your users a search box and a list of recommended pages related to your user’s search. This solution is best for those website newbies or those who lack the technical know-how to make their own search boxes in their 404 pages.

Avoid 404’s as much as possible
No matter how good your 404 page is, it’s still an error that can cause frustration to your visitors. Make sure that you don’t have broken links in your site. Some website platforms have plugins to check broken links. These plugins will alert you when they detect a bad link. You can also use a 301 redirect plugin to automatically transfer all traffic from a broken link to a working page in your website.

The key here is to lessen the frustration of your visitors when they encounter the 404 page. Next is to make your users stay in your website and hopefully convert them into paying customers. Make sure that you have attractive call-to-action offers in your other links to convert visitors.

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