make an error page, geez.May 22, 2007
Most of you have seen it, and developers should dread it. When your browsing the net and you find a site who’s page you are requesting is missing, you’ll see this infamous page (depending on your browser of course):
Please, for the sake of your viewers make a custom error 404 page.
A visitor is browsing your site and they click a link that goes nowhere. The user gets upset that they can’t navigate anywhere or do anything except to go to a different website (tip: you want them to stay on your site). This is browsing death. Why not just mail them a print out of your website so they can check it out? After all, paper is permanent.
Maybe you say to yourself, “I wouldn’t ever need an error page, all of my links work”. In some cases that is true, but just to be safe, create a custom error page. You can do this by setting it up with your web host. Most web hosting companies have this feature so it shouldn’t be that difficult to find.
So, what do you put on your error page? You can go about this two ways:
- Keep the navigation and other elements from the site the same, just change the content to illustrate that they have navigated to a non-existent page.
- Create an noticeably different page with a message. It’s a good idea to keep the logo of the company somewhere on the page so that the user knows they didn’t venture off into some other site.
Make sure that it’s clear to your visitor that the page they wanted moved or doesn’t exist. A common phrase used is “The web-page you have requested as moved or no longer exists”. You could also put the site-map of the website so that they can at least navigate from within the site (as opposed to clicking the back button). If you are really fancy, you can have the page email you when the error comes up so that you know to fix it.
There are other custom error pages that you might want to look into, but the error 404 page is a must have for any website.