As a web user, I am sure you have landed on this one particular page with a “404 Page Not Found” warning, at some point of time or the other. For those of you who are not aware of what exactly a 404 page is, it is a page that users stumble upon when they mistype a URL or reach a page that no longer exists on a website. A standard 404 Page does not display any useful information, therefore, users generally turn away from your website immediately after landing on a 404 Page.
That is probably the reason why many website owners underestimate the significance of this page and do not give much importance to its design and interactivity. However, many web gurus believe that an appealing and engaging 404 Page can prove extremely beneficial for your WordPress website.
But why would you want to invest your time and money in developing a customized 404 Page when all it is doing is notifying people about a missing page or content? Let me tell you why.
When someone accidentally lands on an Error Page on your website, the first reflexive action of any user, most of whom are impatient beings, is to surf away from your website and move on to another option. So, in a way, your 404 Page may be the only page the user ever sees on your otherwise beautiful website. Now do you understand how crucial this page may be? You may have the most aesthetic website, but if your Error Page is not designed properly, it will all be for nothing.
So how do you ensure that your 404 Page is appealing enough to keep your visitors from running away as soon so they see this error? This is where WordPress weaves it’s magic!
When it comes to fixing a 404 Page, no other CMS is as nifty as WordPress. It provides the most convenient means to turn a bland and unimaginative Error page into a creative and specialized page that conveys it’s objective well and also gives the visitors the option to search for what they were looking for in the first place.
If you are wondering how you can modify this page and make it more alluring, then here are a few tips to help you with the task.
1) First and foremost, get rid of the annoying title of “Page Not Found” or the dull and standard “404 Page.” Instead, use your creativity to rename it with a witty and humorous line that complements the nature of your business and communicates the meaning at the same time.
2) Use delightful and inventive imagery while designing the page, in a way that it impresses the visitors enough to make them stick around and check your website on the whole.
3) Many users expect some kind of explanation on why they have landed on the Error Page. So it would be considerate on your part to explain the problem and provide a solution in the form of alternative options which will help them continue their search. For the extra sensitive users, you can even squeeze in a small line apologizing for leading them to the Error page.
4) Visitors often look for links to other pages when they land up on the 404 Page. Therefore, it would certainly work in your favor if you included a sitemap on the page which will redirect the visitors to the pages they were searching for, especially the homepage.
5) Lastly, dont forget to mention your contact details on the 404 Page. This will give the visitors a reason and choice to get in touch with you for their queries or problems, thereby giving you an opportunity to interact with potential customers.
The 404 Page is as important as any other page of a website. For this reason, it is very important to address this crucial page with care and attention. Also remember, if you want an easy way to customize your 404 Page, there is no other option better than the versatile WordPress. So utilize this wonderful CMS and keep your visitors pleased even when they mistakenly land on your 404 Page.
For your reference, here are some truly ingenious examples of clever 404 Pages.
A simple yet quite ingeniously designed page, Hot Dot’s 404 Page consists only of the message, which is made up of dissolving dots that disperse when the cursor hovers over it. It’s creative and interactive.
Magnt’s 404 Page consists of a clever Venn diagram that wittily describes what could have gone wrong with the search and why you have landed on the 404 Page. It’s not very high on visual appeal but scores with the smart use of a Venn diagram.
If you want to see the maximum use of creativity and artwork on any 404 Page it has to be in Audiko’s. Depicting a London street backdrop with Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, this 404 Page is both artistic and clever.
Using brilliant animation to convey the idea, Daily Motion’s 404 Page depicts a rainy day with a 404 Error on a sign post. The animations while being visually appealing, also convey the message effectively.
This 404 Page uses the picture of a waterfall with the message that complements their website, which promotes life coaching. The simple line of “Uh Oh We’ve Got Lost Somewhere” get across the point appropriately.
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