404 – Page Not Found Best Practice

We have all seen them, you arrive from a link and suddenly there is no page available. If you are lucky you are told that this page no longer exists and the website gives you an alternative means to reach the content you may have been looking for. Other times you are greeted with an 404 page that just puts you off. Generally 404 pages generated at the server level are not pretty.

Here are the best practices for 404 Pages that we will explore in more details.

Things You Shouldn’t Do
– Do not place advertising on your 404 page, this is not good for the user experience and you wouldn’t like it.
– Leave the standard server 404 page that is generated by the server, at least add your own, it takes just a few minutes to do this
– Do not make your 404 page load heavy, it should be very lightweight and you should avoid calling internal and external modules.

Things You Should Do
Ensure your page returns a 404 status code. This is set at the server level. This status code will also alert search engines that it is indeed a broken link and they will act accordingly.

Make Your 404 Page Smart
– Tell your visitor this is a 404 page and that it no longer exists
– Give the visitor alternative navigational options – You need to re-engage the visitor with your website.

We hope you found this post useful. If you have any questions about 404 or page not found links then please contact Pebble on 01733 367799 or request a call back via our contact form.