March 16, 2012
If you have a broken link on your site and a visitor clicks on this link they will be directed to what is called a 404 Error Page. This is a standard page that will let the visitor know that the link they clicked on could not be found. We all know how annoying this page can be. The good news is that there are ways to make this error page work for us.
Although these pages can drive traffic away, we can design them to actually become productive sales tools. Customizing your 404 error page should be a fairly simple process. Check with your host or the program you are using for your site to see how it can be done. Consider the ideas below to change your 404 page from a hindrance to a benefit.
1. Warm Welcome – Add a warm greeting and make your potential customers feel welcome as opposed to chasing them away with a giant “ERROR” plastered across the page.
2. Apologize with Free Gift – Offer them a free gift for the mistake. Add a link going to a $5.00 gift card, a bonus product with order, a free report or ebook, etc. Try to give them a gift that will be beneficial to them and you.
3. Subscription Page – Send them to your subscription page. Be sure to give them a free gift for subscribing. Offer helpful info, needed resources and more in your mailings.
4. Affiliate Product – If you are an affiliate for quality products and/or services, add a link to your affiliate page.
5. Your Product – Redirect them to your product pages. Be sure you have well-designed, easy to navigate product pages.
6. Use a Little Humor – Add something humorous to the page to lighten the mood and make your visitors want to look around more. Use cute, happy, funny graphics to put a smile on their face. Be sure not to cross any lines and be professional.
7. One Time Offer – Give the visitor a special one-time offer. Give them a deal not available anywhere else.
8. SEO Benefits – Design your error page so it is similar to your site’s other pages. Give it a keyword rich title and content. Add your blog/site title. Add a link to your site map or a site search function. It is hard to avoid the error pages so making them work for us is a good option.
9. Main Site Links – Be sure to add the important page links of your site so the visitors will know where to go. Briefly explain how going on will benefit them and what you have to offer.
10. Call to Action – Be sure to add a call to action on this page to instruct the visitor what to do or where to go to next. In the seconds you have to get people’s attention after the error page comes up, a call to action will sometimes make the decision for them.
The goal here is to not let this usually irritating page make your visitors quickly leave your site. Grab their attention with something interesting or entertaining so they will overlook the error and stay on your site. This can lead to more traffic and sales for your business.
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