Error 404—it’s perhaps one of the most ubiquitous obstacles on the internet. For webmasters and site owners, this error is unavoidable, especially if their content needs to be constantly changed or updated. For users, this can make all the difference between finding a solution to a problem and satisfying a need.
To elaborate, the “404 Error” page (also known as a broken or dead link) is a response code from a website’s server when a browser tries to open a page that the server can’t locate.
This can be caused by a number of reasons: the page has been deleted from the site, the user made a mistake in typing the URL, the link itself is incorrect or misspelled, the page was moved but not redirected accordingly, or the website itself no longer exists. While this may seem like a disadvantage, it can actually aid site developers when troubleshooting issues.
However, too many 404s on your webpage can be detrimental for both your site and its users. Users may end up attempting to troubleshoot the page or end their search altogether, making them less likely to return.
On the flip side, your site registering a higher bounce rate and short time on site can hurt your brand’s image and authority, leading to a lower ranking on the search engine results page, far fewer traffic, and of course, losing your chance of closing a deal.
It’s a matter of staying on top of the changes on your website, using the right tools to ensure that your visitors find the page they need, and crafting a clever 404 page with a call-to-action to make them stay and continue browsing your site.
Keep reading for an overview of how to tackle these error pages and which tools to use for finding and fixing them.