404errorpages.com - 404 Advice, 404 error page collections.

404errorpages.com

A collection of creative 404 error pages. Advice and guidance on how to create effective 404 error pages for web sites. Webmaster and web user resource on the topic of 404 errors and their visibility.

       

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404 Advice: Effective 404 pages

Surveys suggest that some 40% of users who run into a 404 Page Not Found error will leave your site. Never to return! Keep those users happy and: keep them on your web site!


What a good 404 page should look like:

  • The shock to not find what the user was looking for is big enough. Do no add any confusion with more fanciness. Use your common layout and visual theme to ease the pain.
  • Chose carefully what content you want to serve to your users when they run into a 404 Page Not Found error. To stay rather general and offer easy access to the major areas of your site will "catch the most flies."
  • A search field and a couple of browse links that are clearly designated to general, major topics of your site are a must.
  • Make an effort to apologize but never too fancy and obvious. 404 Page Not Found errors happen to everyone.
  • A nice way to apologize and immediately lead over to more activity is an obvious special offer that goes nicely together with your site's overall content. How about a book on the main topic for a nice discount or some additional promotion?
  • You can make a good impression on your users by asking them to submit the page that went wrong. Do not ask them to type anything or contribute in any other complex way. Users will love a simple submit button (write a script that submits the original URL to you instead of asking the users to type it for you).
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Wikipedia encyclopedia description of 404 Page Not Found Errors:

  • 404 File Not Found is a message in the case of a "404 error"; it appears in most web browsers when the connection works, and the first part of the URL correctly leads to a working web server, but the rest of the URL specifies a page that does not exist on the server.
  • If the connection does not work, or the first part of the URL is wrong, or the web server does not work, other messages are generated.
  • The 404 error is one of the standard response codes of the web's HTTP protocol. The first 4 indicates a client error such as a mistyped URL. The middle 0 refers to a general syntax error. The last 4 just indicates the specific error in the group of 40x, which in this case is "URL Not Found". The use of three-digit codes is similar to the use of such codes in earlier protocols such as FTP and NNTP.
  • These errors can be customized on a large number of such servers, such as Apache, to display a page that could be of more help than a default. Internet Explorer will not read these pages, however, unless they are larger than 512 bytes.