According to Google, a 404 page is what a user sees when they try to reach a non-existent page on your site (because they’ve clicked on a broken link, the page has been deleted, or they’ve mistyped a URL). A 404 page is called that because in response to a request for a missing page, webservers send back a HTTP status code of 404 to indicate that a page is not found. While the standard 404 page can vary depending on your ISP, it usually doesn’t provide the user with any useful information, and most users may just surf away from your site.
Google recommends that you create a custom 404 page, one that will help people find the information they’re looking for, as well as providing other helpful content and encouraging them to explore your site further.
Here are some of their suggestions for creating an effective 404 page that can help keep visitors on your site and help them find the information they’re looking for:
- Tell visitors clearly that the page they’re looking for can’t be found. Use language that is friendly and inviting.
- Make sure your 404 page uses the same look and feel (including navigation) as the rest of your site.
- Consider adding links to your most popular articles or posts, as well as a link to your site’s home page.
- Think about providing a way for users to report a broken link.
So how do the 404 pages of the 2016 Presidential Candidates stack up? You decide….
Not to show any favoritism (even though some 404 pages are a lot better than others), these are ordered according to the most recent Real Clear Politics national poll.
Dr. Ben Carson