How to design your 404 error page to keep visitors on your website

404 Error Freddy looking surprised

Meet 404 Freddy. He lives on our 404 error page.

You might see other versions of Freddy when you can’t find a webpage because it was moved or deleted, the URL is broken or the website server is down. This is called a 404 error.

Nobody really likes landing on a 404 error page and while we work to avoid them where possible they’re nearly unavoidable and do happen sometimes. That doesn’t mean your completely out of luck though because they provide you with the opportunity to spin a potential negative user experience around and use them for good. A well designed 404 page shows that you care about your customers and want to help them find their way back to what their looking for on your website.

Here are a few simple tips you can use to turn a potential frustrating experience into a positive one for your visitors.

  • Include a short message letting your visitor know that they’ve landed on an error page
  • Use a design that matches your branding
  • Add a bit of humour
  • Include links to top pages (including your homepage)
  • Add a call to action
  • Don’t overdo it. Keep things simple.
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