Welcome all to this week’s chat regarding a piece of prime real estate on your website that is most likely not getting the love it deserves or is failing to capitalize on the refreshing opportunity of humor and personality. Yes, we’re talking of the infamous and sometimes frustrating experience of the 404 Error page.
Let’s cut right to it- a poorly presented 404 Error page will damage more than your website’s bounce rate. It tells your prospect, “It’s not me, it’s you…figure it out”, and boy, talk about serving up business to the competition on a silver platter. Sure, you can say, “Well, don’t let broken links happen”, but the reality is they do and they will; especially if you have more than one person making updates to your site. It’s so important to consider that your users still interpret a 404 Error page as part of your company and its voice. This page alone provides a great opportunity to bring in a different element of appreciation and user connection to your brand: the element of humor.
Maya Angelou, a poet well-known amongst those in the civil and service industries, said- “…people will forget what you said…and what you did…but people will never forget how you made them feel.”. This is such a great thought to keep in mind for your 404 page.
The basic purpose of a 404 Error page is to let the user know something went wrong and to provide a path back into your website, but even a well laid out 404 Error page can leave a bad taste with your user from the simple inconvenience alone. So why not leverage the opportunity to make lemons into lemonade with a side of laughter? Humor is such a powerful tool that can create new emotional connections with your website visitors. It can improve the visitor’s UX by humanizing your website to let them know you care about their experience and allow you to showcase your brand’s character creatively and engagingly. Speaking of engagement- in a time when sharable content is king, everything is game to share on a social feed; especially a well-crafted, humorous, and relatable 404 Error page. Attracting new visitors to your site is great, but providing a holistic engaging experience that could lead to conversions is even BETTER.
Here are a few humorous and thoughtful 404 Error pages that have stood out of the crowd over the years:
At the end of the day, don’t feel like you have to take your brand so seriously all the time. Adding in some humor here and there won’t crumble your professional reputation amongst the competition; if anything, it will help you shine brighter. So do yourself a favor and give your visitors a positive lasting memory of your website and a reason to remain loyal through the ups and “uh-ohs” of it all.