A 404 page is what shows up when visitors click or type in a bum link. WordPress does a standard 404 page, but it’s hella boring and you can design a custom one that just gives a website that extra pop of profesh.

The “nothing found” page is great way to set your site apart from others. When potential clients stumble upon it you get another chance to wow them, elicit a chuckle, or make them feel special.

For mine I went with a laugh (obvs).  Check it out: https://codepuffin.co.za/tippytaps  

It features relatable copy and a puppy fail gif that is both adorable and hilarious – so very on brand for me.

Take the time to design this page thoughtfully.

You want a site design to wholeheartedly represent your client’s brand.  That includes error pages.

And presenting a site design to your client that includes a thoughfully crafted error page will just take your client experience to that next level. If you even think of the error page then you really consider every aspect of a website design and the user experience. You think of everything because you are thorough and incredible at what you do!  And it’s such a simple page that adding it to your designs won’t take much effort or time, but it will really impress your clients.

Stand out from the crowd.

The error page is also another way to direct visitors to your most valuable content.  Either the stuff that adds the most value or the stuff that sells you the best.  So mine includes links to my blog page and my services page.  That way when potential clients land on it they can choose to check out my posts and “be sold” on how rad I am and how much of an “expert” I am, or they can go check out what I offer and how to work with me.

Direct visitors to your most valuable content.

When designing a website for a client going through a fresh rebrand, considering the custom 404 page is especially important because visitors are likely to come across it.  When old sites are replaced with new sites on the domain then some pages and/or posts will cease to exist.

Remember those useless and ugly gallery pages that every website had 7 years ago? You probs won’t include that page on the shiny new site. So old references to the site that still exist on the internet might link to that page. Then when peeps click that link they will be shown the 404 page on the new site. 

Shiny new sites mean dead links, which show 404 pages.

This often ends in lost visitors because those peeps will just leave your site.  They clicked the link because they wanted to see/read something specific, and then that page or post isn’t there anymore due to a site redesign, business pivot or niching down that meant those pages no longer needed to exist.  Instead of losing those visitors, keep them engaged and get them to check out something else on the site.

Need some inspo for interesting 404 page designs? Here are some ideas and links to spark your creativity:

A cool animation and humourous approach that directs people to their home page.  Flywheel done good.  Check it out here.

Slack went with an error popup look and a random interactive animation that implies you are lost in the woods like the wandering farm animals. Check it out here.

Dan Woogler is an illustrator so their 404 features an adorable illustration and directs visitors to the portfolio. Check it out here.

Don't forget the error page in your next design.

Take your website designs to the next level.  Impress your clients.  Design a custom 404 page.  Pop me an email if you need some help or want me to send you more links to great 404 pages that exist on the internet.

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