There are a lot of great websites that have been designed for businesses, yet many of them forget some of the simpler features that can make or break an online business. One of the simpler tasks you can do is create customized error pages. These are the pages that are shown to visitors whenever there is a problem with your site, or a problem with their search.
For potential customers, there is nothing more uninspiring than to land on a website only to see a “page not found” error, or worse, “server not found”. Think about those errors. A “server not found” error could mean you no longer exist so the visitor will look elsewhere. “Page not found” errors shouldn’t happen. This generally means the visitor has followed a link that arrives on a page that no longer exists. Either that, or the link is badly formed in the first place.
Customized error pages can actually help your visitors. When customizing, a friendly message that states the page is not available at that time while suggesting alternatives can help direct traffic further into your site. You can also place a search box prominently so the visitor can search your site for content they are looking for.
Traffic is hard to get at the best of times. The last thing you need is to waste any traffic because it is arriving on dead pages. What you should also bear in mind is that if that visitor happens to be one of the search bots, and they cannot find your site, or your pages, then this can have an effect on your position in the search results. There are many website owners who have complained bitterly about being dropped from the front page of the search results, simply because their server was out of action. From the search engine’s perspective, your page could not be found so why include it in search results?
If you are having your website professionally designed, be sure to insist on customized error pages. They can save a lot of hassles.