What is a 404 Page? You’ve seen them plenty of times. They’re the pages you land on when you’ve entered a web address incorrectly or gone to a page that has been removed.

They can be boring, like this one…


Quite frustrating really. You’re hoping to get some information you need and you end up there.

This is not only frustrating for you but also a wasted opportunity for the owner of the website.

Every Website Page is Important

Every page on your website should serve a purpose to the user. We’ve spoken about it before in this post on usability and this post on utility content.

But, with a 404 page it’s hard to know the user’s intent when they get there. They could be looking for anything.

So, how do you use a 404 page to solve this problem?

Your 404 Page Can Be a Solution

Take a look at our 404 page – featured recently on ReallyGood404.com


Here is the full page…


As you can see, we’ve had a little fun with the “Lost at Sea” animation. But, more importantly, we haven’t taken the fun too far.

This page does exactly what we need it to: send someone who is lost in the right direction.

We’ve included the following  on our 404 Page to help our wayward visitor…

  1. The main site navigation at the top so they don’t feel totally out of sorts
  2. An image and clear message letting them know they aren’t where they want to be
  3. And choices below that will help them find their way

So, what happens on your website when someone gets lost? Are you wasting this opportunity to engage with a potential customer?

These are simple to set up. At a minimum, contact your website developer and ask them to help.

But, I challenge you to go a step further. If your company has a sense of humor, use that. If your company is known for solving problems, here’s another chance to help.

Each page on your website needs to serve two purposes…

  1. Help the user solve a problem
  2. Help you achieve your website and marketing goals

Your 404 Page is no different. Now, go make sure it’s the best 404 page it can be! Need help? We’re here for you!

Jon-Mikel Bailey - Before co-founding Wood Street in 2002, Jon worked in sales, marketing and business development for technology and marketing firms. A popular speaker, he gives seminars on marketing, internet marketing, branding and web design to chambers of commerce, trade associations and colleges. He has a BFA in Photography from Frostburg State University and still shoots photos for Wood Street clients.