Crafting Effective 404 Pages for Better UX

404 Pages

A 404 page, also known as an error page, is displayed when a user tries to access a URL that no longer exists. To provide a good user experience, a useful and user-friendly 404 page is essential. Following best practices can turn a frustrating error into a positive interaction with your website.

When users encounter a 404 error, they might feel frustrated and confused. However, by incorporating clear error messages, engaging visuals, and intuitive navigation options, you can guide users back on track and enhance their overall experience.

One common reason for 404 errors is a broken link. Broken links can occur for various reasons, such as URL changes, outdated content, or website restructuring. By regularly conducting website maintenance and checking for broken links, you can minimize the occurrence of 404 errors and improve the user experience.

Key Takeaways:

  • An effective 404 page is crucial for providing a good user experience and guiding users back on track.
  • Best practices for crafting a 404 page include clear error messages, engaging visuals, and intuitive navigation options.
  • Customizing your 404 page to align with your brand’s voice can enhance user engagement and reinforce brand image.
  • Ensure your 404 page is mobile responsive and accessible for all users to deliver a seamless experience.
  • Regularly conduct website maintenance to minimize broken links and 404 errors.

What is a 404 Page?

A 404 page is displayed when a user tries to access a URL that does not exist. It is also known as an error page. The 404 status code error is an HTTP response that indicates the webpage cannot be found on the web server. It tells the browser that the requested webpage is “not found.”

When a user enters a webpage address into their browser, the browser sends a request to the web server to retrieve that page. If the server cannot find the requested webpage, it returns a 404 error response. This indicates that the webpage does not exist or cannot be accessed at the given URL.

The 404 error page is designed to inform users that the webpage they are looking for is unavailable. It helps prevent confusion and frustration by providing a clear message that the requested content cannot be found.

On a well-designed 404 page, you may find helpful information such as suggestions for finding the desired content, links to the homepage or other relevant sections of the website, and contact information for support.

Website owners often customize their 404 pages to align with their brand’s design and tone to create a user-friendly experience. This allows them to turn a negative experience into an opportunity to engage with visitors and help them navigate back to the desired content.

Note: The image above provides an example of what a 404 page might look like.

404 Page Best Practices

Creating a user-friendly and engaging 404 page is crucial for providing a good user experience. By implementing the following best practices, you can turn a frustrating error into an opportunity to keep visitors engaged with your website.

1. Display a Clear Error Message

When users land on a 404 page, it’s important to clearly communicate that the page they were looking for couldn’t be found. Use concise and friendly language to explain the situation. Avoid technical jargon and use a tone that matches your brand’s voice.

2. Incorporate Visually Appealing Visuals

Engage users with visually appealing graphics, illustrations, or even videos on your 404 page. Instead of a generic error message, use visuals that are consistent with your brand’s aesthetics and create a positive impression.

3. Provide Navigation Options

Guide users back to the homepage or relevant sections of your website by including clear navigation options. This could be a simple menu or links that direct users to popular pages or categories.

4. Include Search Functionality

Integrate a search bar on your 404 page to allow users to search for the content they were originally looking for. This helps them quickly find what they need without leaving the page.

5. Include Contact Information or Links to Support/Help Centers

Ensure users have a way to reach out for assistance by providing contact information or links to your support or help centers. This instills trust and shows that you are dedicated to resolving any issues they may encounter.

By following these best practices, you can create a 404 page that improves user experience, enhances your brand image, and keeps visitors engaged with your website.

Examples of Funny 404 Pages

When it comes to crafting a memorable and engaging 404 page, humor can go a long way. Brands like Marvel, PitVipers, Southwest, Chubbies, and Taco Bell have embraced the power of wit and clever language to keep users entertained when encountering a 404 error. These funny 404 pages not only lighten the mood but also create a memorable user experience. Let’s take a look at some examples:

  1. Marvel

    404 Page: “The page you were looking for is off somewhere doing superhero stuff.”

  2. PitVipers

    404 Page: “404 Not Found? More like 404 Not Sorry! Shop our sunglasses instead.”

  3. Southwest

    404 Page: “Looks like this page took a wrong turn in Albuquerque. How about exploring our destinations instead?”

  4. Chubbies

    404 Page: “Uh oh! Looks like your shorts took a wrong turn. But don’t worry, we’ll get you back on track!”

  5. Taco Bell

    404 Page: “404 Craveable Error. But hey, we’ve got plenty of delicious tacos to make up for it!”

These examples showcase the power of using humor and clever language to turn a frustrating error into a delightful experience. By incorporating a touch of wit, brands can keep users engaged, encourage them to explore more content, and strengthen their overall brand image.

Examples of Formal 404 Pages

When it comes to designing 404 pages, some brands opt for a more formal approach. These 404 pages maintain a professional tone and use respectful language to convey the error message. Let’s take a look at some examples:

1. Medium

Medium, a popular online publishing platform, showcases a formal 404 page. The page features a clean design and a simple error message, offering a professional and informative tone. Users are encouraged to use the search functionality to explore other content or navigate back to the homepage.

2. Delta

Delta Airlines also presents a formal 404 page, displaying a well-structured error message along with navigation options and contact information. The page maintains a professional tone while providing users with helpful links to continue their journey on the website.

3. The New York Times

The New York Times, a renowned news publication, incorporates a formal 404 page that aligns with its brand identity. The page features a clear error message and provides users with a search bar to find relevant articles. It maintains a professional tone while offering valuable options to explore the website further.

4. Ford

Ford, a well-known automotive company, presents a formal 404 page with an emphasis on user experience. The page includes a concise error message and offers users the opportunity to perform a site search or browse popular sections of the website. The overall design and language maintain a professional tone.

These examples demonstrate how formal 404 pages can effectively communicate errors while maintaining a professional and respectful tone. By incorporating informative language, navigation options, and contact information, these brands ensure a positive user experience even in the face of an error.

404 page examples

Examples of SaaS 404 Pages

When it comes to SaaS platforms, clean and minimalistic design is crucial for providing a user-centric experience. Here are some examples of SaaS 404 pages that showcase clean and user-friendly designs:

Sprout Social

Sprout Social’s 404 page exemplifies a clean and minimalistic design with a simple error message and their brand logo. The page incorporates their brand color palette, maintaining consistency throughout the platform.

Mural

Mural’s 404 page follows a clean design approach, featuring a friendly error message and a visually appealing illustration that adds a touch of creativity. The page also includes links to their main website sections, offering easy navigation for users.

Intercom

Intercom’s 404 page stands out with its neat design and user-centric approach. The page provides clear instructions on how to navigate back to the homepage, reassuring users that they are in the right place. The minimalistic layout ensures focus on the main call-to-action button.

Help Scout

Help Scout’s 404 page follows a clean and user-centric design, featuring a friendly error message and a search bar to help users find what they are looking for. The page also includes links to their support center and knowledge base, providing additional resources for assistance.

Mailchimp

Mailchimp’s 404 page showcases a clean and minimalistic design, presenting a witty error message that adds a touch of personality. The page includes a search bar and links to their main website sections, ensuring users can easily find their way back to relevant content.

These examples of SaaS 404 pages demonstrate how clean design and a user-centric approach can effectively guide users back to relevant content, minimizing frustration and enhancing the overall user experience.

Examples of Ecommerce 404 Pages

When it comes to ecommerce websites, a well-designed 404 page can make a significant difference in retaining users and providing a seamless shopping experience. Here are some examples of ecommerce brands that have gone the extra mile to create engaging and user-friendly 404 pages:

Crocs

Crocs, the popular footwear brand, understands the importance of preserving the user’s shopping journey. Their 404 page features a search bar prominently placed at the center, allowing users to search for the desired product. This search functionality ensures that users can quickly find what they’re looking for, even if they encounter a dead end.

Ugg

Ugg, known for their cozy and stylish footwear, takes a different approach to their 404 page. They provide users with category navigation, allowing them to explore different product categories directly from the 404 page. This thoughtful feature ensures that users can easily find alternative options, preventing frustration and guiding them back into the shopping experience.

Mrs. Meyers

When it comes to preserving the user’s shopping cart, Mrs. Meyers, a popular home cleaning product brand, takes the lead. On their 404 page, they not only display an error message but also include a button that allows users to “Keep Shopping.” This clever design element ensures that users can seamlessly continue their shopping experience without having to start over.

Garmin

Garmin, the renowned GPS technology company, incorporates customer reviews into their 404 page. By displaying positive customer feedback and testimonials, Garmin not only reassures users but also encourages them to explore their products further. This innovative approach turns a potential error into an opportunity to engage users and build trust.

Charmin

Charmin, a well-known toilet paper brand, injects humor into their 404 page. They use witty language and clever puns to entertain users while informing them about the error. This lighthearted approach not only adds a touch of personality to their brand but also keeps users engaged and minimizes frustration.

Patagonia

Patagonia, an outdoor clothing and gear company, takes advantage of their visually stunning products to create an engaging 404 page. Their page showcases captivating imagery from their product line, attracting users’ attention while providing a visually appealing experience. This approach reinforces the brand’s aesthetic and entices users to explore their offerings further.

These examples illustrate how ecommerce brands can leverage search functionality, category navigation, cart preservation, and creative design elements on their 404 pages. By prioritizing user experience and incorporating these features, ecommerce websites can minimize frustration, retain users, and ultimately drive conversions.

Examples of Bad 404 Pages

When it comes to 404 pages, some websites miss the mark and provide a poor user experience. These bad 404 pages lack clarity, guidance, and rely on generic error messages that leave users frustrated.

Let’s take a look at some examples of websites with bad 404 pages:

  1. Wired: Wired’s 404 page lacks clarity and fails to provide any guidance for users. The generic error message leaves visitors feeling lost and unsure of what to do next.
  2. Nordstrom: Nordstrom’s 404 page also falls short in terms of clarity. It lacks clear navigation options or a search functionality, making it difficult for users to find their way back to the main site.
  3. Reliaquest: Reliaquest’s 404 page offers no guidance or alternative options for users. The generic error message provides no context or assistance, leaving users with a poor experience.
  4. QuickBooks: QuickBooks’ 404 page lacks clarity and fails to guide users back to the main site. The generic error message does not provide any helpful information, resulting in a frustrating user experience.
  5. Today: Today’s 404 page lacks clarity and doesn’t provide any options for users to navigate back to the main site. The generic error message leaves users feeling confused and dissatisfied.
  6. Target: Target’s 404 page is a missed opportunity to provide helpful information or a seamless user experience. The lack of clarity and generic error message can lead to user frustration and abandonment.

These examples highlight the importance of avoiding bad 404 pages that lack clarity and fail to provide guidance. A well-designed 404 page can turn a frustrating error into a positive user experience, helping users find their way back to your website.

How to Find a 404 Page on Your Website

There are several ways to find a 404 page on your website when it comes to troubleshooting errors and broken links. By identifying these issues promptly, you can improve user experience and maintain the integrity of your website. Let’s explore some methods:

  1. Typing in a Non-Existent URL: Manually entering a non-existent URL into your browser’s address bar can quickly reveal any 404 errors associated with that specific URL.
  2. Clicking on a Broken Link: Clicking on a broken link within your website can lead you directly to the corresponding 404 page. This method helps to identify and rectify broken links efficiently.
  3. Using Website Search Functionality: Utilizing the search functionality on your website can assist in finding 404 pages. By searching for non-existent content, you can pinpoint any URLs that trigger a 404 error.

It is crucial to regularly check for 404 pages and broken links to ensure a seamless user experience on your website. By taking proactive measures and promptly addressing these issues, you can maintain the functionality and integrity of your site.

To give you a visual example, take a look at the image below:

How to Edit a 404 Page in WordPress

Editing a 404 page in WordPress can be done using various methods, depending on your WordPress setup. You have the flexibility to make changes either through a page builder or a plugin. One simple option is to utilize the theme customizer found under the “Appearance” menu in WordPress.

Here are the steps to edit a 404 page using the theme customizer:

  1. Log in to your WordPress admin dashboard.
  2. Navigate to the “Appearance” tab and select “Customize”.
  3. Look for the “404 Page” or similar option in the theme customizer’s menu.
  4. Click on it to access the customization options for your 404 page.
  5. Make the desired changes to the content, layout, visuals, or any other elements of the 404 page.
  6. Preview the modifications in real-time to ensure the desired outcome.
  7. Once you are satisfied with the changes, click on the “Publish” button to save and apply them.

By using the theme customizer, you can easily update the content, design, and overall appearance of your 404 page without the need for any coding knowledge. Remember to keep the page user-friendly, visually appealing, and aligned with your website’s branding to provide a seamless browsing experience for your visitors.

For more advanced customization options, you may consider using a page builder or installing a dedicated plugin designed specifically for creating and editing 404 pages in WordPress. These tools offer enhanced flexibility and functionality, allowing you to incorporate unique elements and designs to make your 404 page standout.

WordPress 404 page customization

Does Google Remove 404 Pages?

When it comes to 404 pages, Google does not actively remove them from search engine results. However, over time, if Google repeatedly encounters a 404 page, it will eventually remove those pages from its indexed results. This process occurs as Google’s bots continuously crawl websites and encounter broken or non-existent URLs. It is important to note that this removal is a natural consequence of the website’s content being inaccessible or non-existent.

If you have a 404 page on your website that was previously indexed by Google but has since been restored, you can prompt Google to reindex it. By ensuring the URL is accessible and functional again, Google’s bots will revisit the page and update its indexed status accordingly.

It’s worth mentioning that the removal and reindexing process may take some time, as it relies on Google’s algorithm and crawl schedule. Additionally, it is not possible to directly request Google to remove or reindex specific pages. However, by resolving the underlying issue causing the 404 error and ensuring the pages are functioning correctly, you can successfully restore their visibility in Google’s search results.

By keeping track of your website’s 404 errors and promptly fixing them, you can maintain a positive user experience and ensure that your content remains accessible to both visitors and search engines. Regularly checking for broken links and resolving any 404 errors will help improve the overall health and usability of your website.

Conclusion

In conclusion, a well-designed 404 page is essential for improving user experience and keeping visitors engaged with your website. By following the best practices discussed in this article, such as incorporating engaging visuals and clear navigation options, providing search functionality, and including contact information, you can effectively turn a frustrating error into a positive user experience.

Remember to regularly track and report 404 errors to identify and fix broken links, ensuring seamless navigation for your users. Additionally, it is important to make your 404 pages accessible to all users and mobile responsive, as more and more users browse the internet using their mobile devices.

To summarize, the key takeaways for crafting effective 404 pages are:

  • Provide clear error messages to indicate that the requested page cannot be found.
  • Incorporate engaging visuals to capture the attention of users and encourage them to stay on the page.
  • Offer navigation options to guide users back to the homepage or relevant sections of your website.
  • Include a search functionality to help users find the content they were looking for.
  • Provide contact information or links to support/help centers in case users need further assistance.

By implementing these key takeaways and continuously improving your 404 pages, you can enhance the overall user experience of your website and ensure that visitors have a positive impression, even when encountering a page not found error.

FAQ

What is a 404 page?

A 404 page, also known as an error page, is a webpage displayed when a user tries to access a URL that no longer exists.

What are some best practices for crafting effective 404 pages?

Some best practices for designing effective 404 pages include clear error messages, engaging visuals, navigation options, search functionality, and contact information.

Can you provide examples of funny 404 pages?

Yes, here are some examples of lighthearted and humorous 404 pages that use witty and clever language to engage users and keep them on the page.

Can you provide examples of formal 404 pages?

Of course, here are examples of formal 404 pages that are designed to look more professional and take a respectful tone in the copy.

Can you provide examples of SaaS 404 pages?

Certainly, here are examples of SaaS 404 pages that align with users’ specific needs and expectations when visiting a SaaS platform.

Can you provide examples of ecommerce 404 pages?

Absolutely, here are examples of ecommerce 404 pages that offer search functionality, category navigation, cart preservation, and even customer reviews.

Can you provide examples of bad 404 pages?

Unfortunately, yes. Here are examples of bad 404 pages that result in a lack of clarity, no guidance, and a generic error message.

How can I find a 404 page on my website?

There are a few different ways to find a 404 page on your website, such as typing in a non-existent URL, clicking on a broken link, or searching for non-existent content in your website’s search functionality.

How can I edit a 404 page in WordPress?

Editing a 404 page in WordPress can vary depending on how your WordPress is set up. You can do this in your page builder or a plugin. One option is to make changes in the theme customizer under “Appearance” and find your 404 page.

Does Google remove 404 pages?

No, Google does not remove 404 pages. However, over time, if Google repeatedly encounters a 404 page, it will eventually remove those pages from the index. If the 404 page is restored, Google will reindex the page.

How can a well-designed 404 page enhance user experience?

Well-designed 404 pages can enhance user experience and keep visitors engaged with your website. By following best practices and incorporating engaging visuals, clear navigation options, search functionality, and contact information, you can turn a frustrating error into a positive user experience. Additionally, regularly tracking and reporting 404 errors can help identify and fix broken links. It is also important to ensure that your 404 pages are accessible to all users and mobile responsive.