Sometimes visitors try to visit a page on your website that doesn’t exist. They may have made a typo in the URL or clicked an outdated link.
Every website is prepared for that. Your site will recognize it as “Error 404: Page Not Found”. Your website will show a 404 page, explaining what happened.
Case closed, right? Well, not really. Your visitor still didn’t find the page they were looking for. If your 404 page only says “Page not found,” they’ll probably just leave. What if you could instead make a 404 page that helps people feel welcome, gets them to the right place
Let’s take a look at some ideas for what to write on a 404 page.
An error page shows how you deal with errors
You know in advance that anyone who sees your 404 page is having a “bad” experience (even a very small one). Use this as a chance to show how your company responds when things go wrong.
The text on a 404 page is usually short and to the point.
What do you write on a 404 page?
- Explain what happened: Make sure your visitor understands why they see this page instead of the one they were expecting. Most websites use a variation on a standard sentence like:
“This page could not be found.” or “Oops, this page doesn’t exist”.
- Suggest interesting pages: Now that this visitor is on your website, you can suggest a few pages on your site that they might want to visit instead. That way they won’t bounce somewhere else.
Good examples of 404 pages
Here are some examples of 404 pages that go beyond the standard error message:
Ask people to tell you how they landed on your 404 page. You learn about outdated links and show that your company actively tries to fix errors.
Put links on your 404 page to the most visited pages on your website. There is a good chance your visitor was actually looking for one of those.
Why not add a link to your social media or your contact page? Visitors can ask you their questions directly and you can use the interaction to make them forget about any bad experience.