404 error pages are a great opportunity to show off a website’s personality while also offering help to potentially confused or lost users.
When it comes to 404 pages, beautiful aesthetics are only half the battle. The one thing that really sets a 404 page apart from the rest is the way it ties into your brand, products, or services and re-engages your visitors so they continue exploring your site.
A thoughtless or undeveloped 404 page has the potential to aggravate a user and cause them to exit the site completely; it looks like someone forgot to create content for an entire page. But, a good 404 is engaging, on-brand, provides subnavigation or a link to the homepage for reorienting, is funny/cute/quick-witted, and/or demonstrates your brand’s personality.
Further, it can be a space in which you can flex your company’s fun, goofy, clever, or off-kilter side—just be careful not to go too overboard and alienate or further frustrate a user. The reason a 404 page can be a good place to be funny or clever is that you’re essentially applying a balm to alleviate a user’s aggravation; you’re lightening the mood after they or your website made a mistake. So if you’re too cute or flippant with the content, you might lose a customer.
Below are a few examples of 404 pages that we think check all these boxes.
We love to collaborate with our clients to create engaging and attention-grabbing 404 pages that excite users and draw people back to the site. Here are some of our favorite 404 pages that we’ve created.
Here are three more examples of 404 pages that we didn’t create, but love anyways.
So, call us biased, but we love our 404 page. It not only has easy navigation back to the homepage, but you can play a Lightburn edition of pong! Be warned—it’s not easy!
Custom 404 error pages don’t have to be boring, even if we hope users won’t see them. With a little creativity, they can serve as brand collateral and bolster your online marketing strategy. These examples use everything from humorous text and custom illustrations to games and other interactive features to turn a broken link into another touchpoint for the brand.
While a 404 page can be a great branding opportunity, it’s important to note that silliness is not always the best idea. It’s important to think of your end user when designing your page and to make sure it’ll speak for your brand and to your users.