Turn Your 404 Page Into A Lead Generator

Ah, the classic 404 page; the bane of web surfers everywhere. That lovely page that indicates that the link is broken or that the URL doesn’t exist, or some such other irritant. But, if you have a commercial or business-related website, you don’t want prospective customers to turn away from your whole site in disgust when they get a 404. Now, you can actually make a 404 page work for you! Here’s how to turn that 404 annoyance into a lead generator, and keep those people on your site!

how to turn your 404 page into a money making landing page404 pages are about as welcome as lost Internet connections

First Of All, Keep It Consistent

Make sure that your 404 pages retain the same basic design scheme as the rest of your site, rather than having it be a jarring white page with stark black lettering. A personalized error page keeps a sense of uniformity and doesn’t give the false impression that that user has somehow been booted off the site. All of the pages of your site, and yes that includes error pages, should have an organic flow to them.

Reading suggestion: SEO Tips To Enhance Your Website Conversion Rates

Explain The Problem

People as a rule will put up with an annoyance if they at least have some idea as to what’s going on. Be forthright and clear, using lay terms, to explain what the issue is. It also doesn’t hurt to inject a little humor, which keeps web surfers in a good mood and receptive frame of mind.

HTML static implementation of 404 error page for landing

Your 404 Page Should Offer Solutions

Prolonged web-surfing breeds impatience, short attention spans, and a low annoyance threshold. Offering some quick and easy fixes to the despised 404 page will keep visitors around and hopefully defuse any irritation. Among the solutions you can offer:

Step #1 – Link To Your Homepage

This helps orient people who tripped over the bad URL but are trying to find something specific on your site. By sending them back to the home page, you get them to square one and hopefully accessing a site map or other navigational aids.

Step #2 – Implement a Search Bar

Putting a search bar on your 404 page helps users to sort things out for themselves without having to back out of your site.

Step #3 – Easy Contact Form

Include a link that allows the user to easily contact you to report a problem. Perhaps that error message is coming from a problem you aren’t aware of. And of course, when the visitor reports the problem, you now have their e-mail on record.

Step #4 – Include An Offer/Signup

This option might be a little risky if you’re dealing with frustrated websurfers, but it’s not completely out of the question. Including a special deal on the 404 page as a way of easing the sting of the error page could net you some more customers. And of course, in the course of presenting this deal, you ask for the visitor’s name and e-mail address.

Now, granted, many people can simply hit the Back button and take themselves from the offending error page, but if the visitor happened upon the 404 right from a search engine. Acknowledging that mistakes happen and trying to engage a visitor nonetheless is a good way of building leads and keeping people on your site. It’s a way of turning lemons into lemonade.

John Terra has been freelance writing since 1985, and considers 404 pages to be the bane of his web-surfing existence. He writes about everything from SEOs to office furniture.

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Born and raised in the Boston area, I was rocketed to New Hampshire, where under the Granite State's yellow sun and lack of income tax, I have gained the powers of super-sarcasm, brilliant creativity, and slightly disturbing sense of humor.

8 Responses to “Turn Your 404 Page Into A Lead Generator”

  1. Mira

    Oct 05. 2013

    Great info! I did not know this ad will use the trick to set my apache webserver to redirect the 404 pages to my home/landing page. Thank you!!

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  2. Jamika

    Oct 06. 2013

    Good ways to use your 404 error page as landing page. Was looking for this, thanks a lot for sharing

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  3. Raphael

    Oct 24. 2013

    Thank you avinash, I really enjoyed the web design of your blog. You have many years of experience, which is visible through your blog my friend! Thank you for the article and helpful tips. BTW, the blog loads super fast in google chrome browser. This is amazing, how do you do this?

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  4. Samara

    Dec 15. 2013

    This site does cary advertisements but they are non-intrusive and allow for easy
    navigation within the site. To see a larger preview
    of any template created by Microsoft (see the first image
    above), click on the thumbnail in the cener panel of the window and the larger view will bbe shown in the right panel.

    Customized temples for particular purpose, businesses or organizations aadd personal touch to presentations.

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  5. Lester

    Feb 09. 2014

    you can convert 404 page entries by catching and redirecting them to the main homepage with wordpress very easily

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  6. Emory

    Feb 09. 2014

    how can I forward 404 errors to another site on my web?

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  7. Richard

    Feb 12. 2014

    It is highly recommended to handle 404 page not found exceptions properly to catch your visitors and show them your valuable content right away

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  8. Lavon

    Feb 26. 2014

    I’m really loving the theme/design of your blog and developer know how tips

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