How does your 404 error page look like? Are you using the default WordPress 404 error page “This is embarrassing….we can’t find what you’re looking for, etc”? Why not take advantage of your error traffic?
I`ve recently discovered a great way to monetize it and also give your visitors some options how to proceed.
Convert your 404 Traffic
Every marketer should run an email list. So why not place a free offer on your 404 error page and grab another email? If you check your website stats every now and then a visitor ends up on a “page not found” link. You can create a 404.php template in your WordPress theme directory and use custom html code. Simply place a great landing squeeze page on it.
Something like: Sorry, seems like there is an error on this website. The requested page cannot be found. To apologize I`d like to give you a free offer: [your cool product topic]. You get the idea.
This is a great way to convert 404 error traffic. Below the signup form you can also give further options. Here are a few tips and tricks – do not use all options and focus on maby 1-3 options. (i.e. signup form; homepage link; searchbox. That pretty much should do the trick to prevent a bouncing visitor.
Tips for your 404 Error Page
- Avoid Clutter: A user-friendly 404 error page should strike a balance between giving out too much and too little. You can showcase your entire site navigation on the page, but will it help? An overwhelming number of links will add to the predicament of the already lost user
- Use A Non-Technical Language: In most cases, the user will have no idea what 404 implies. Thousands of people search every month the meaning of 404 errors. You need to state it clearly to the user that the page he is looking for is no longer available under the link he clicked or the URL he typed.
- Spell-Checks: Prompt the reader to check the spelling that he has typed in the URL. The 404 Error Page is also displayed if the URL is misspelled.
- Add Links Of Navigation: add tabs with links to your homepage or a search box so that he can search for the page he was originally searching for.
- Present The Page Creatively: A creative 404 Error Page will always reduce the anger and frustration of the user.
- Show your recent posts: Give a few options (1-3) similar to a sitemap styled page and let the user choose which may be of interest.
- Don’t blame the visitor: It’s not their fault that they’re seeing this error message, so be nice to them and apologize for the error. You don’t want your visitors to feel stupid.
- Allow your visitors to send you a message: Put a link to your contact form so if somebody is totally lost or just wants to personally inform you about the error this is a good option.
- Don’t redirect to your homepage: this leads to confusion. Your visitor expected specific content and will be confused if he ends up on your homepage without any further informations.
Please leave a comment if you got more ideas and tricks how to make the most out of a 404 page.