What is a 404 Page?
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10 Best 404 Error Page Designs for 2024

When accessing a website, users usually have a specific goal in mind. And technical problems are not something that they […]

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When accessing a website, users usually have a specific goal in mind. And technical problems are not something that they would expect. Hitting a dead end frustrates visitors and often makes them abandon the site, never to come back. But sometimes errors are inevitable, no matter how hard you try to avoid them. And the 404 error represents one of them.

What is a 404 Page?

A 404 error page is what visitors see when they attempt to reach a website’s page that no longer exists or may never have existed at all. There are some effective ways to fix a 404 page not found error like these ones, but you’ll never fully eliminate them.

There are some common reasons why this page appears:

  • Page removal
  • Site is offline
  • Broken link
  • Outdated link from a search engine
  • URL mistyped by the visitor

Why Choose a Custom 404 Page Design?

Successful websites follow a golden rule of never using a standard 404 page. They turn this page into one more marketing tool by customizing it. Here’s how a custom 404-page design can help a site:

  • It can encourage unhappy visitors to come back by giving them useful information, or even a just link back to the homepage.

Source: Amazon

  • It can build a strong brand image by maintaining the same theme on all pages, thus creating a consistent image.

Source: Shop Disney

  • Increase conversions by listing useful information, such as most popular site pages.

Source: Nintendo

In e-commerce website design, some stores go even further by offering popular products right on this page.

Source: ModCloth

How to Design 404 Pages

It’s not as easy to create a stunning 404 page as it may seem. Read on to learn what you should take into account.

1. Make sure you include a search bar

You can keep visitors on the website by granting them an opportunity to continue navigating from anywhere with the help of a search bar.

Source: CNN

2. Include links to popular posts or to the homepage

Blogs have turned into a must for many websites. And if you’re one of them, it’s a wise idea to engage users by adding links to the most interesting articles. If you are not running a blog yet, you can simply allow visitors to return to the homepage.

You may also be interested in 10 Best Examples of Beautiful Blog Design

Source: Hoppermagic

Source: Shopify

3. Speak plain language

Don’t utilize technical terms to explain to users why they’ve been taken to the page. Clarify the situation in a very simple way.

Source: Campbells

You can even write something like a nursery rhyme to entertain site visitors.

Source: Blue Sky Studios

Don’t forget about the curious nature of human beings. You can include the reason why the error has happened.

Source: BBC

One more tip: spice 404 page designs up with some humor like Adobe, Lucasfilm, and Lonely Planet.

Source: Adobe

Source: Lucasfilm 

Source: Lonely Planet

4. Make it easy for users to contact you

Give visitors a chance to reach you in order to report an error or ask a question, by accessing a special form or sending you an email.

Source: Forbes

Source: GOG

5. Allow users to join your email list

As we’ve mentioned previously, the 404 page can be a marketing tool. So use it to add new names to the email list. To make your offer irresistible, you can give a discount to new subscribers.

Source: Overstock

  • Ensure design consistency by using the same colors, image styles, and typography across the whole website.

Source: BuzzFeed

6. Put animation to use in order to hold interest

The animation is all the rage today. You can make a design more attractive by utilizing animated elements.

Source: Dribbble

7. Add a login form

Some websites require users to be logged in to perform a search, so allow visitors to log in to your site from the ‘not found’ page.

Source: GitHub

8. Enable social media sharing

If users love your 404 page, they’ll certainly want to share it with others. Allow visitors to share the page with almost no effort by implementing social media buttons.

Source: The Huffington Post

You can also add links to your social media accounts.

Source: Pixar Animation Studios

9. Utilize gamification

If you want to stand out from the crowd, think of putting gamification to use. You can follow the example of Eastern Market; they turned their page into an old-school game.

Source: Eastern Market

Conclusion

Great user experience is what today’s visitors expect from any website. To ensure this, and to leave competitors in the dust, website owners should use a unique design for all the pages. A custom 404 page may help to increase conversions and boost sales. In this article, we discussed how to create a great design.

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