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How to Take Advantage of Your Website’s 404 Pages

Have you ever browsed a website, clicked on a link, and suddenly, a blank web page appears with the text “404 Error Not Found” on it?

While the actual text copy may vary, a 404 page means that the website page no longer exists—“404” being a server error code.  404 pages provide for a poor user experience.  While many companies run monthly or weekly scans to check for broken internal links that will lead to a 404 page, they still don’t get all of them. For example, let’s say someone links to a product page that no longer exists on your website. When their visitors click the link to visit your website, all they will see is a “404 error” page. Smart businesses will use a 404 page as an opportunity to capture the attention of that person through one of several different methods. Read on to learn more about turning proverbial lemons into lemonade and take your 404 pages to the next level.

Add Images

A standard 404 page is hideous, as it’s nothing more than black text on a white background that lets the user know the page no longer exists. Consider adding images of your products to your 404 page. This might pique their interest and cause them to explore your website further—instead of hitting the back button on their browser.

Add Funny or Unique Text

The standard server response on a 404 page is simply “404 error page not found.” Consider livening that text up with something unique. For example, has a unique 404 page, as shown in the image below. Look at how Adobe provides visitors with links to other pages/services that might cause the visitor to click and explore. Canva, on the other hand, has a fun 404 page that provides visitors with a fun puzzle to solve.

Offer a Coupon

Consider adding a coupon code to your 404 page to entice users to browse and buy something. Be sure to track conversions from this page—you might be surprised at how many people will take you up on your offer!

Optimize for SEO

Take the keywords that you want your website to get ranked for and add a few links to internal pages that you’d like to drive traffic to. While it probably won’t get you page 1 rankings overnight, it can help out a little bit to improve your SEO. A great way to employ this method without it coming off as spammy is to use your keyword in a sentence. For example, let’s say that you sell widgets on your website. Add a link that reads: Are you looking for blue widgets? Click here!

Add a Link to Your App

If your business has a mobile app, consider adding a link to the download page. You could position the app by saying it’s easier to find things and won’t return a 404 page. While this method probably won’t generate a ton of downloads, it can still add up over time.

Add a Search Bar

You can add an internal Google search bar for free to your 404 page, allowing the person who landed on it to go to a similar page. For example, let’s say that your website used to sell lime green widgets. After a few years of dismal sales, you decided to retire that product.  If someone clicks a link that leads to your non-existent lime green widgets page, they can use the Google search bar to find similar pages, such as regular green widgets. This helps keep people on your website for longer and can improve your bounce rate a bit.

Send ’em Back Home

A standard 404 page does not offer much in utilization. If witty text or funny images aren’t your thing, consider at least adding a link back to the home page. As seen from the image below, a bakery in Australia did just that with their 404 page.

Add Blog Blurbs

If you regularly update your company blog, consider adding a few interesting blog articles along with a ~25-word summary written to entice people to click through. Try internally linking to blog posts that can help solve a pain point or problem.

301 Your 404s

If you have web traffic that regularly comes to a page on your website that no longer exists, consider adding a 301 redirect that will automatically take that person to a targeted landing page based on the subject of the non-existent page. This way, they won’t get shown a 404 page and instead will get shown content or products that closely match the reason why they came to your website.

Marketing Help in New Bern

Take advantage of the above tips to help redirect otherwise lost traffic from 404 pages to more useful pages on your website. While it won’t generate a flood of new traffic, it could potentially drive new leads or sales over time.  At AlphaGraphics of New Bern, we can help you with your existing or future marketing efforts. To learn more about how AlphaGraphics of New Bern can produce and design your next project, you may email usrequest a quote, or call us at (252) 633-3199.

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