A look at 404 error pages and why they are important.

Craig Greenup 21/03/18, 14:36

404 errors

So what is a 404 error?

A 404 page error or not found error appears when you go to a page that doesn’t exist on an active website. It is arguably one of the most common errors you can come across whilst browsing the Internet, which often occurs when following a broken link or if you type in a website address or URL that doesn’t exist, or has changed. You may have seen this error message in different forms, such as:

  • 404 Error
  • 404 Not Found
  • Error 404 Not Found
  • 404 File or Directory Not Found
  • HTTP 404 Not Found
  • 404 Page Not Found

Why should you have a 404 error page?

Not having a 404 error page is the equivalent of not providing diversion signs after roadworks or a road closure. It leaves you with a sense of feeling lost or not knowing where to go, especially if you are not familiar with the area, or in this case the website. The consequence is that the user is likely to leave the website and never return. This could mean potentially losing a new customer, after a bad experience that could have easily been avoided.

Top tips for creating an 404 error page

Here are what we believe should be considered when creating your own 404 error page:

  1. The design should be consistent with the rest of the site.
  2. Include a clear message acknowledging the problem, indicating the possible cause and provide a solution.
  3. Avoid technical jargon as many users may not know what a 404 error means.
  4. Include a link to the homepage.
  5. Add a link to the sitemap that provides links to all of the main sections of the site.
  6. Provide an option to report a broken link, via a contact form.

Unsure if you have a 404 error page, or need help?

So many websites out there don’t provide a 404 error page, or make no real effort. Having a well thought out 404 page is a worthwhile consideration, and very easy to do. Should you require any assistance, why not get in touch? we would be happy to help.