By Ian Hayes
By Ian Hayes
We’ve all been there: we’re searching for an answer on a site and unexpectedly a 404 error page stops us in our tracks. Typically, these pages are boring and clinical, with no explanation or apology; a huge turnoff to us as users.
It doesn’t matter how often you check your site’s uptime or how experienced your company’s developers are, pages will go down. While these things inevitably happen, it doesn’t mean that you have to lose a user for it. Take this error as a marketing opportunity.
Making users laugh by customizing your 404 page is a great formula for turning those who would otherwise abandon your site into users who will stick around. These “Easter eggs” can cultivate a sense of community and belonging on your site, which is a great way to increase loyalty to your brand.
Need some inspiration? Let’s take a look at the 18 best 404 pages to make your users smile.
Of course, a website dedicated to sharing memes and funny content can’t leave you hanging with its 404 page. The GIF changes from time to time, but always has a link for you to download the 9gag app. Smart!
Adobe doesn’t do boring, and its 404 page is no exception. It features a gorgeous image courtesy of one of its Behance users. Way to inspire us to use your products, Adobe!
As you probably know, pufferfish inflate to startle predators, but also just when they’re startled. Given that Bitly’s logo is a pufferfish, you can imagine what their 404 page is like.
We know the Internet is run by cats — and apparently so is Cloud Sigma’s website. Or at least, parts of it.
Ah, the sting of lost love. Or lost webpages, for that matter. eHarmony plays on this theme while not-so-subtly plugging its services.
We definitely don’t want to leave out the internet’s other favorite animal! Embrace Pet Insurance’s website blames the dogs for missing 404 pages. Guess they’ve graduated from eating homework.
Playing on the stereotype of developers as huge geeks, GitHub features a whimsical Star Wars themed 404 page . The illustration is so cute, we might just deliberately mistype GitHub URLs…
One of our favorite Easter eggs is a game hidden in a 404 page! HeyZap features just that. Although HeyZap has now merged into another company, the game is still up, take a trip over there if you’re bored at work.
If you’re on this site, you’re probably a fan of movies. And so you might even want to bookmark IMDb’s 404 page, which scrolls through countless film quotes perfect for this occasion.
If you’re lost on Kualo’s website, make the most of it with a quick game of Space Invaders. If you score more than 1,000 points, they’ll give you a discount off your web hosting. Now that’s clever marketing.
Thankfully, coming across a broken page on LEGO’s site isn’t nearly as painful as stepping on a LEGO, with this amusing illustration that places the blame solely on this guy.
Sometimes, it’s the webmaster’s fault. Sometimes, it’s the user’s fault. This snarky 404 page at Magnt shows a Venn diagram mapping out the possibilities.
Recently, Magnt learned that their 404 page had gained some notoriety and published an update, asserting, “We’re very creative.”
Medium’s 404 page wants you to know that you’re not alone. To that end, it offers suggested reading about other people who were also lost. Aw, how nice.
If you’re a fan of Jurassic Park, you’ll enjoy Nouveller’s fully animated (sound on!) 404 page that mimics Dennis Nedry’s desktop. It has to be seen to be believed. Ah, 90s nostalgia.
Who doesn’t love Pixar films? Naturally, you’d be upset if you encountered a 404 error on their site. Pixar smartly includes the perfect character for this moment.
Slack’s 404 page is so relaxing, you might just bookmark it to take a mental break. It features cute animals wandering around a forest landscape. Definitely takes the stress out of coming across a 404 page!
You’d think that stock image database Unsplash would choose one of its many gorgeous images for its 404 page, but nope, it’s a random funny gif. It has to be seen to be believed.
We know we aren’t perfect and anticipate the occasional website issue. We took this as a great excuse to let our development team have a little fun while guiding users on what to do next.
So. What makes a good 404 page?
All of these 404 pages accomplish three things:
Some of them also offer calls to action, such as encouraging people to sign up for or purchase services. This technique is particularly good to capture customers who might follow a link from another site. If they’re impressed by your error page, they’re likely to be impressed by your other products!
Our advice is to put some time and effort into your 404 page. Make it something that surprises your users and helps them feel like part of a community. By doing so, you can encourage brand loyalty—or better yet, you can encourage people to share your website in articles like these!
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