Internet

Error 404 and how to use it to your advantage

Custom Error 404 page -TurkishAirlines

Error 404.

Again.

We all know what 404 stands for, but do you have a clue of how you can use “404 not found”? I mean – do you know how to make it more beneficial for your website or online business?

I know, and I’m going to show you today.

What is Error 404?

For those who have always been lucky and never have encountered “Error 404,” while browsing online I would like to say that all these words describe the same “thing” :

  • 404
  • 404 not found
  • error 404 not found
  • page not found
  • HTTP 404
  • HTTP error 404
  • URL not found
  • not found

People who know what stays behind the term Error 404, use one or another of these synonyms when they talk about it.

But what Error 404 or just 404 stands for?

While browsing online and click one of the links to reach a website or a webpage, but by one reason or another you can’t enter in it then you should see something unexpected like this.

Custom error page 404 - "page not found"

The above can happen in case the reason you can’t reach the desired online destination is not the funny dinosaur here

No Wi-Fi error page, Windows

Error 404 is a standard HTTP status code also known as a “response code”.

Ok, now I will explain it in simpler words without the “response code” wording and will try not to scare you.

Error 404 is to indicate that your computer was able to communicate with the internet server, but the server was not able to find what you were looking for.

In the most frequent case, 404 error is returned (happens) when a web page has been either moved or deleted.

 

How to avoid Error 404?

It is challenging in the real world to avoid the deletion or not to move a webpage. In many cases, this is practically impossible.

Every webmaster or blogger knows about it, and there are many various reasons behind.

One reason for you to want to delete a page could be – the topic is not interesting anymore. Imagine a topic about Google+ for instance. The subject is not existing anymore, so it’s pointless to have “how-to’s” explaining how to register on Google Plus, right?

Okay, let’s say you wanted to delete a webpage, or you have removed a page from your site by mistake(one of the worst things in the world).

When by some reason the webpage was deleted a 410 Gone Error code should be returned and here you can find how to do it.

In the second case, it is better to employ URL redirection or use URL mapping by returning a 301 Moved Permanently response.

 

Should you care about Error 404?

Well, it depends.

It’s all about user experience (UX). Nobody likes to see 404 or in other words to find out that something is missing just when you arrive already there. Right?

The user experience is of utmost importance for SEO (search engine optimization) and SERP (search engines result in pages). Ergo SEO and SERP are also involved because the UX reflects both of them.

In the past, Google wasn’t really concerned about the 404 pages and you can see it here, while if you check Bing even now, you should get relaxed.

If you think that search engine optimization and search engines result in pages are essential about your online business or website, then, in my opinion, yes- you should be more concerned and care about Error 404.

In such a case, you should not think about only about it, but also for other response status codes.

In the case that things like user experience, search engine optimization factors or search engines result pages are vocables from another world, then you shouldn’t worry much about 404.

In any case or if you have doubts on how vital is Error 404 for your online presence or should you care so much about it is always wise to check first what presently Google and Bing say on it.

Good vs. Bad 404 Error pages

There is no such thing as good or bad 404 pages because the main purpose every error page is to be informative and that’s it.

There are better 404 error pages and dull, repetitious 404 error pages though.

Simple but charming custom design and few useful bits on the error page may have some benefits and make it better.

In other words to turn a boring “404 not found” into a better page.

A simple design combined with a clever approach may help the traditional standard error page to stand out of the crowd, to keep the visitors on your website (at least a bit longer) and even to turn your visitors into customers.

When browsing the Web you will see 3 different types of customized “404 not found” pages:

  • Traditional (we all know them);
  • Innovative (there are many, but not as many as the Traditional “404” pages);
  • Awesome 404 error pages (the ones that to stand out of the crowd);

Use your 404 pages to your benefit

Is it possible to use Error 404 to your advantage?

Oh, yes.

Although how to avoid 404 pages is a bit more important question to ask now we’ll see together some examples where having nice looking “Not Found”  page makes the life just a little bit funnier and a way better.

Look, if your website looks dull and have no practical value for your visitors, then, in my opinion, you shouldn’t bother at all how you can make the appearance of your 404 error pages outstanding.

Anyway, it’s always good to learn from the best, so even if the  “Not There” page is one of your negligible problems at this point, have a look at this art presented below.

See the examples of some of the best 404 error pages you can ever find on the Web. Some of them are innovative, while others are awesome.

custom Error 404 page AndroidError 404 page -Comedy CentralCustom Error 404 page-DisneyCustom Error 404 page -FandangoCustom Error 404 page -HMPG.netCustom Error 404 page-ImgurCustom Error 404 page -INCORECustom Error 404 page -LavazzaCustom Error 404 page -PixarCustom Error 404 page - SouthparkCustom Error 404 page -StarwarsCustom Error 404 page-Tumblr

Aren’t they great?

If you have a look at how the 404 pages of the biggest retailers such as ok like you will find that some of them are a bit “usual.” Carrefour, Kroger, Rakuten, Carrefour, Target, Toys”R” Us, Argos, Alibaba or HomeDepot ….look boring…

I was expecting more imagination involved here, especially for such big names and companies.

Pretty much same is with some of the biggest and most popular brand names such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter. Boring.

YouTube, Amazon, and eBay are slightly better in this aspect. In fact, they are innovative, but not really impressive.

This is why they are not on this list with the awesome 404 error pages.

How does your 404 error page look like – is it traditional or innovative and stand out of the crowd?

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