The Most Underrated Page on Your Website
Mistakes happen. We’ve all been there. You’re doing some cleaning out of some old pages on your website or deleting some old blog posts, then boom. 404 Error. Now you’re like…..oh shit. How long has this link been broken?
404 Errors suck. If you don’t know what a 404 error is, it’s an error that occurs when you click on a link and the link is no longer associated with a page. It’s “broken” or “dead”.
It sucks when it happens to you, and it can be frustrating for visitors to your site that just want to get at your content. But herein lies an opportunity that not a lot of people choose to take. But you really should.
You should optimize the hell out of your 404 page.
I bet you’re saying “Ok, Ashleigh, that sounds like a great idea, but what do I put on that page?”. Well that’s going to depend how you want to approach it.
I’ve seen 404 pages done a number of ways, and here are the ones that I think work the best:
“I’m sorry for this mistake, here’s a free resource to make up for it” - Why do this? It’s simply another way provide some free and valuable information to your visitors and get them on your list. It’s somewhat safe to assume that they found your website because they’re interested in the overall topic of your business, so you can get away with providing a somewhat general (but useful) freebie to this person based off of what people are struggling with in your industry.
“It looks like you landed here by accident, here are some blog posts to get you back on track” - Why do this? To get them back into your website/blog before they close their browser. Think about it: what do you usually do when you land on a 404 error page? Close the tab! Add some of your most popular blog posts to this page to get you back on their good side. My 404 page uses this approach.
“Looks like you landed here by accident, here’s a 20% off code” - Why do this? It’s another chance for you to get your offers and products in front of them so they can take advantage of it at a lower price. If they decide to buy, you can provide other discounts or free offers down the line to help them even more.
It can be frustrating landing on a 404 page error page especially if you were really interested in the content that you thought you were getting on that page. Optimizing your 404 page is a quick and easy way to promo anything new that you have going on, give a quick freebie, or get them to into your sales funnels.
How to do this for Squarespace
- Create the page exactly how you want it and put it in your Not Linked section.
- Make sure to name the page something easy to remember like “404”
- Go to your settings panel > advanced > 404 Error/Page Not Found and find your custom 404 page from the drop down list.
Having some dead links here and there are going to be inevitable as your site starts to grow and things start to change, so use your 404 page to back you up and get you back on the good side of your visitors.