Creating a strategic website means understanding your goals and adapting each page to achieve them. From the moment your would-be-customer (new or returning), lands on your site, they are moving along your conversion funnel. With each click, they should be getting closer to making contact or making a purchase. Not only does a 404 error not have to be the roadblock on their journey towards conversion, but a custom version of this page might make for a sweet reminder as to why you’re the brand for them. Below, we cover all the must-haves of a custom 404 error page. But don’t forget to prioritize creativity, a bold branding statement, and stand-out design as much as these technical aspects.

Lead them in the right direction

Making use of 404 Page What to Include to A strong headline or text explaining to a user why they are here. It is jarring when you land on a webpage that is not what you intended. Signal to users they are on the right website but not the right page. Power up their ability to move on quickly. Make sure your 404-error page has the same search functionality (and in the same location) as the rest of your site. That way, users can look for the page they intended to visit. Links to your homepage and sitemap. If the person on the 404 didn’t already have a specific search in mind, you can give them a little nudge with design elements.

Turn Lost Visitors into Loyal Customers

Consider including a header or footer that matches the rest of the site and shows users the potential places they can go. Strip away complex navigation. Give that person a few meaningful next steps. Too many options here could further frustrate or confuse the user. Include an obvious call to action. Make it simple for them to easily get onto the right path. Consider including a few links to your most popular pages. Combine usability with eccentric, awesome, or at the very least, thoughtful design, so your error pages pack a punch. As you’ll see below, the Human Society has gone with the simple “no-go” text for their 404 page. Considering their brand is quite literally built on cute, fluffy stuff, we had the sneaking sensation this may not be their best bet for keeping users engaged.

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