How many times have you clicked a link on a website and find that it’s taken you to a blank page? The dreaded ‘Error 404’ page has been the source of much frustration for consumers. The reason why the page appears is because a link on the site might be wrong, or a page could have been removed recently. For retailers and small businesses, having broken links can affect customers who are exploring your website, leading to a loss of sales. A recent study showed that 54% of small business owners now rely on websites for revenue, meaning all avenues of customer interaction should be explored.
A broken link can be turned into a way of engaging with people. This can be done via a customised error page, either through altering the HTML of a website yourself, or investing in a web designer. So, what are the advantages of a customised error page?
Turning a problem into an advantage
A customised error page can benefit your business by keeping a visitor invested. Rather than finding a blank page, they’ll be surprised to find a message that offers them something interesting. This could be a funny note that references an error has happened. Or a link could be included that leads back to a useful piece of content.
By customising an error page, the customer will get an indication of your brand personality. The page can become a mini-ambassador for the website and might even be shared on social media. This will bring more awareness and traffic to the business.
What should be included?
When building a bespoke error page, it’s important to know what to include so you don’t alienate your audience. A quick note should be added to let readers know that something has gone wrong and an explanation for why it’s happened.
A navigation bar is crucial because it will let customers click off the page. Be sure to include links to the most popular pages of the website so people can find their way to what they want to search for. Contact information is useful because a customer will be able to get in touch if they are having difficulty finding a specific product.
Error pages in action
Customised error pages can be as simplistic or as creative as you wish. A great example of a simple design is from icon designer, Dan Woodger, who uses a picture of a cheeseburger wearing roller skates. The burger is smiling and holding up a flag that says ‘sorry.’ It’s a funny idea that shows off Woodger’s style and encourages you to check out his other work.
Another example is from Starbucks, who rely on a content based approach to explain that something has gone wrong on their end. It’s an informative page that features a missing coffee cup, playing to the strength of their main product.
Looking to the future
Bespoke error pages offer a fresh way of generating consumer interaction. They are an important detail of your website that shouldn’t be overlooked. By editing an error page, you can tailor it to customer needs and increase brand awareness.