A 404 error page is effectively a page that display an error when you try and visit it because does not exist or can’t be found. These errors usually occur when you mistype a url or change the url of your webpage without updating any backlinks you may have published.
Why 404 Pages Are Bad
If someone is navigating your website and clicks on a link to be greeted with a 404 error page, this provides a very bad user experience. It not only stops them in their tracks of looking for the information they want, but is also creates a very unprofessional image for your business, and could lose you a potential client.
Ideally you never want your visitors to see a 404 error page, but if they do then you need make the experience as pleasurable as possible! You can do this by creating a custom 404 error page that displays instead of the default one. This page should be friendly in nature, apologetic and most importantly easily allow the visitor continue navigating your website or allow them to contact you for the information they need.
Below are some good, but also different examples:
Friendly, fun page with an easy to access search box to find the information the visitor wants
Another friendly, apologetic page that gives options to help the visitor continue navigating the website
A jokey page with an amusing video and link to go back to the homepage.
Okay, so we know 404 error pages are not a great thing, but if you have them designed nicely and take yourself too seriously with them you can avoid any negative damage they could potentially do to your businesses reputation. That being said, even if you have a great 404 error page, it is always best that nobody ever sees it!