How to design the perfect 404 page for your website

What things can’t be missing on my 404 Page?

August 17, 2021

If you are here, you probably need to develop a 404 error page… but you also want it to be special!

That’s what happened to us. We recently faced the task of renewing our website, and once we had all the sections solved, we realized that our 404 Page could not be less. 

When you set out on this task, you probably checked all the lists of original 404 pages on the internet, but you don’t see how to apply them to your site. Right? 

Well, let’s start designing it now. Are you ready? 

What is a 404 page?

I know it may seem unattainable now, but let’s start from the beginning. A 404 page is a landing page that tells your site viewers the requested page is unavailable or, in some cases, doesn’t exist. 

So, what we have to do is to find the best way to tell this to the user who is on the other side looking for information. And the ultimate goal for you: not to lose that visitor, to make him stay on your site. 

The main points you have to solve in your 404 page are: 

📣 Explain the problem: You must be clear, “The page you are looking for cannot be found” is the basis of this point. 

💩 Say it straight: Acknowledging that you have a problem is the first step, as they say. You don’t want to hide it, users are not happy to see a 404 page, but you can turn this experience into something positive. 

🔎 Make sure that on this page your visitors can find tools to stay on your site. Search bar, menu, contact information or a link to the homepage work perfectly. 

🎩 If you have worked so hard on the design of your site, make sure the 404 is no exception. Maintaining the style is essential at this point, as the user should find it familiar. If they come across a different design, they might close the page without even looking at the content. 

💔 Of course, don’t forget to check your broken links.

Take your towel

Now, let me tell you about the decisions we made in the creation of ours. 

Definitely, the design had to be aligned, but having this in mind, we worked on the concept, because that’s how we are, we love to think content! 🙂 

That’s why it’s important to act fast and give yourself alternatives, something like a floating rope tied around your waist to get you back to your spaceship: a link back home. 

If you haven’t navigated our site yet, I’ll summarize it for you: it’s about space. Yes, a website of a development company about outer space, planets and all. The structure is designed for those who visit the site to go through each planet, with different sections. 

So, what we did was to put ourselves in the user’s shoes, and we thought it would be best to continue with the general narrative.

So, the story is this: you navigate through space, you go from planet to planet, seeing stars, space stations, and asteroids… And suddenly, a black hole.

A total blackout.

You get lost, and you don’t know which way to go back, and you may even forget where you were going! That’s why it’s important to act fast and give yourself alternatives, something like a floating rope tied around your waist to get you back to your spaceship: a link back home. 

And on the other hand, take away the anguish of waiting by offering you a different and pleasant experience. For example, would you like to listen the Space Hitchhiker audiobook? You would, wouldn’t you? Then go ahead and enjoy it! 👇

In conclusion, when designing your 404 page, don’t just take into account the technical part, add a bit of narrative to your design, and you will see how integrating it into your website will bring you better results (or at least, it will keep your visitors on your site, or so we hope!)