The best 404 page examples illustrate how to make lemonade out of a lemon. They’re a creative way to keep your website visitors put rather than being the reason that they bounce off your site and onto another or back to Google.
What is a 404 Page?
When someone goes to a page on your website that doesn’t exist, your site typically displays an error message that reads “Page Not Found” or something similar. It’s known as a 404 page.
404 Page Examples (Video):
Most website tools configure the 404 page error message by default. The text is often basic, telling the visitor something like
- 404 Error
- Page Not Found
- 404 Page Not Found
- This Page Does Not Exist
Worse, there is usually just a link to the home page for the visitor to start over – and sometimes not even that.
The result: that web visitor that you worked hard to attract is now frustrated and likely leaves your website. That’s known in web terminology as a “bounce”. You don’t want visitors bouncing off your site because they landed on a page that doesn’t exist.
Pro Tip: Read Top 10 SEO Ranking Factors: How to Increase Google Ranking
The best 404 page examples below will show you how to keep your web visitor on your page through clever, usually simple, messaging.
How do visitors get to a 404 page?
There are many reasons a visitor finds your 404 page. Some common reasons are:
- You updated the name (URL) of a page, possibly for SEO file name purposes, but didn’t update the links to it – or put in a 301 redirect so all references to the old name go to the new URL
- You deleted a page and didn’t update internal links pointing to it (or use a 301 redirect as above)
- Another site put in a link to one of your pages but made a typo so the link doesn’t go to the intended page
- A web visitor made a typo when trying to get to your page
When a page can’t be found on your site, your web server automatically displays the 404 error page.
If they landed on the error page through another link on your site, they might even be thinking you should be monitoring your site links better to update the ones that no longer work. You can do a site audit using tools like SEMrush (our top recommendation – this is an affiliate link to a tool we use daily). You can set up a free trial account and run a full audit on your site in minutes.
How to See Your 404 Page
Wondering what your website’s 404 page not found message looks like? Do this:
- Go to your domain in Google (type https://<yourdomain>)
- Type a forward slash character “/” (no quotes)
- Add random characters after the forward slash
- Since this page does not exist, your website will display your 404 page error message.
Example of what we would type to see ours:
If you click the link above, it will go to a page that does not exist on our website so you will see our 404 page.
Remember: it’s unlikely someone will go to a page like the one above, but it’s easy to make typos. So, if you had a page called “about-us” and your visitors (or a site linking to you) typed “about-use” then your visitor would go to the 404 page.
Best 404 Pages
The good news is that all is not lost if someone lands on your 404 error page. You can guide them to related content, or even encourage them to look at other areas of your site.
Here are the best 404 page examples to show you how to make your visitor smile and stay on your site instead of getting frustrated and leaving.
We would be remiss if we didn’t list our own 404 page message here. Take a look at how we structured it to make it one of the best 404 page examples:
- Use an on-brand message rather than saying 404, Error, or Page Not Found
- Offer relevant content as an alternative to the page the user is looking for
- Provide additional navigational options
If you don’t publish content, you can direct visitors to relevant locations on your site, like United Airlines does in their page:
Funny 404 Pages
One way to keep someone’s attention is through humor. Funny 404 pages are a solid option if your company’s brand uses humor in other areas of marketing.
Keep your error page consistent by using a funny 404 page message like Mint Mobile’s below. This is actor Ryan Reynolds‘ company. He is known for humor in his entrepreneurial efforts, not just in his movies, and the messaging makes theirs one of the best 404 page examples online.
404 Creative Pages
Sometimes, the best 404 creative page is the one that leads the visitor back to the home page. That’s precisely what Pizza Hut’s page does, but with a pit stop to show a splash page as an intermediary step. It makes this one of the best 404 page examples we’ve seen.
The messaging on this 404 page is very creative and ties in with the theme of the company – baking pizzas.
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Optin Monster, one of our favorite website tools to capture email addresses of visitors (we’re an Optin Monster affiliate by the way), offers the visitor a way to “Snag a marketing lesson” while they’re on the error page:
404 Video Page
Disney uses animation in their message to create a 404 video page. The animation shows one of their characters breaking out of the “0” in 404 and offers the visitor the option to find other content.
Adding a touch of movement to create a 404 video page can keep your audience’s attention a bit longer. Disney’s use of humor and video puts their page into one of our best 404 page examples.
404 Page Examples
With all of the creative 404 pages above, we wanted to share what, unfortunately, is all too common: bad 404 pages. Here is a 404 page example that screams “update me please!” Visitors are getting stuck because they land at a dead end with no obvious guidance on what to do next. Don’t let this be your site:
Template for Your 404 Page
As you can see from the best 404 page examples above, there are many ways to craft an ideal one for your company so that you stay on brand and offer visitors the navigational information they need.
Be sure to avoid leaving your default message in place. If you are using WordPress, you can visit your Theme’s pages and update your 404 page to display an image or text that makes sense for your audience.
Follow these 404 page template guidelines:
- Don’t leave your message to be only 404, Error, or Page Not Found
- Offer alternative navigational options for the visitor to quickly locate what they might want
- Add a search box or samples of links visitors can click on so they don’t bounce off of your website
With a little creativity, your website can offer one of the best 404 page examples so that your website traffic stays on your site and doesn’t leave after seeing your 404 page.
There’s more to online marketing than reviewing the best 404 page examples and setting up yours.
Read More: Top 10 SEO Ranking Factors