Greetings from inside the SEOigloo!
As readers know, Mike Blumenthal’s blog is one of our favorite reads on the web. He’s got a constant stream of meaty, useful data about local search issues running there. The tone, in general, is scholarly and to-the-point. For example, his most recent post is comparing Linnaeus’ creation of binomial nomenclature to the modern taxonomy of business categories. All the more reason why my husband and I cracked up when we tried to access an incorrect page on Mike’s site and got:
I hope that gave you as much of a chuckle as it did us!
For the record, our custom 404 error page. Not as funny as Mike’s but we did spend some time trying to make it friendlier and more useful than those dreaded automatic 404 error pages that appear if you don’t take the time customize them.
Both our page and Mike’s includes a logo, navigation menu, and links to things like a sitemap or the homepage, or the ability to use a search function. These little courtesies are extended to the visitor who got lost trying to find something on your website, in hopes of helping that visitor find whatever they were looking for. You don’t want to lose that visitor, and a customized 404 error page offers a ‘can I help you’ rather than a door slammed in the face.
Yosemite Sam and polar bears are not a required part of a custom 404 error page, but you should take the time to at least offer some options for help, and I really like it when website owners infuse a bit of personality into what otherwise presents a pretty bland and uninspiring document to the end user.
There are dozens of tutorials on creating custom 404 error pages, if this is a new concept to you. Here’s a fine one. My wish is to encourage you to go the extra mile for your visitors, and if you’ve seen any particularly good or funny 404 pages, please feel free to add them in the comments field. Thanks!