No internet user likes to land on an error page. At the least, it’s an inconvenience and may even be a major frustration when trying to find scarce data on a subject. For a site owner, it can mean lost opportunity, as visitors will often click away to another site rather than spend time looking for the right page. That means lost clicks, lost interaction, and lost revenue in many cases.

It is no surprise then, that an increasing number of savvy web engineers and graphic designers are using quirky custom 404 error pages to reel clients back in. Though users will curse the error page regardless, site owners can still optimize that page to redirect visitors back into relevant content. Since most sites will serve up a 404 in their lifetime, why not exploit this opportunity?

The key to transforming your 404 page from an error to an opportunity lies in over-riding the default page with a custom-designed error page. This page should have consistent navigation design as with the rest of your site, and should include a way for customers to contact you or notify you of repeated errors. Text on the page should briefly indicate the error, as well as provide a suggested next step. This can be a link home, to a search form, or to a site map. (Be sure to triple check any links on this page; a visitor who arrives at two error pages in a row is unlikely to be reclaimed.)

If you need steps on how to implement your custom page, check out The Site Wizard. Check out some creative 404 error pages below for inspiration! (Click image to enlarge.)

1. Blippy (Interactive; Meme-tastic)

Blippy Double Rainbow

2. Blue Daniel (Animated, Creative)

Blue Daniel 404

3. FrogsThemes (Puns, Pin-ups)

Betty Paige 404

4. Blizzard (Third-wall, Special Effects)

Blizzard 404 Error

5. NDP Canada (Politics, Tongue-In-Cheek)

NDP Canada 404 Error

6. Zappos (Rodeo Penguin, Navigation Options)

Zappos 404 Error

7. Reef Light Interactive (Professional, Navigation Opportunities)

Reef Light 404 Error

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