What do people who make website do for entertainment? Create amusing 404 custom error pages of course! Ok, so I was a bit bored the other day and I had spent way too much time in front of my computer. I mistakenly typed the wrong URL address on my own site and got a 404 error page.
My first thought was, gosh that’s boring. Then it hit me that this was an extremely useless waste of space and it was not very user friendly, either. I thought I’d do a little perusing around the web to get some ideas as to what other companies were doing to spice up their 404 pages and maybe have a little fun at the same time.
I ran across a great article on Creative Bloq’s website, “30 Brilliantly Designed 404 Error Pages.” I was inspired by the likes of Airbnb, Lego, and MailChimp. There are obviously some web designers out there with great senses of humor and way too much time on their hands.
I thought I would have a little fun too and decided to stick my cartoon likeness in a natural disaster scene with a “This is NOT Where You Want to Be!!” banner across the top of the image.
So I thought this was very clever and amusing. I know. I really need to get out more. But just a cute picture is a waste of space. The real purpose of a 404 error page is to help a lost visitor find their way to useful information and hopefully what they were searching for in the first place.
I didn’t want to waste all this great real estate with just an amusing picture of my likeness stranded on a rooftop in a flood, so I added a “Quick!! Choose another page” at the bottom of the image with an arrow that points to three different images that link to major pages within our site. I choose three of our most popular products/services to hopefully start to get any lost users headed in the right direction.
My website is done in WordPress, (Hey, I practice what I preach!) so I used a great free plugin from Jurgen Schulze, 404 to Start. It had 70,000+ active installs and although it only had 22 reviews, it was rated at 4 stars. I gave it a try and was very happy with the results. It was easy to use and the whole project didn’t take more than 30 minutes from installing the plugin to creating the image to customizing the page.
So the next time you’re bored with nothing to do, have a little fun with your 404 error page and help lost visitors find their way to really great information in your website.
Have you customized your 404 error page? If so, share your results.