404 Advice: Effective 404
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:
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).
- 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.
encyclopedia description of 404 Page Not
- 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
- 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.