How to Utilize and Benefit from a Custom 404 Page

 

Photo courtesy of India7 Network

We live with 404 errors. They are that pesky neighbor that always shows up unexpected, and they will always keep coming and coming. It is always recommended to clear 404 site errors from your site when you find them, and more of them will appear, so what do you do? Ignore them? Sweep them under the rug? Or how about turning them into a prosperous opportunity! Ok, so what do I do? It is currently best practice to create an official 404 page on your site for whenever a user runs into them on your site. Google has offered some great advice as far as best practices for these page, and you can read more here. I’m paraphrasing, but here are some of the highlights pulled from there:
  1. Tell visitors that the page they’re looking for can’t be found.
  2. Make sure that your webserver returns an actual 404 HTTP status code.
  3. Be sure to feature a navigation pathway back to your site, like a homepage link, as this will prevent exits, drop-offs and can encourage higher conversions.
  4. Have the same look/feel of your site on your 404 page.
How can I do this? Keeping the above guidelines in mind, there are many different ways that you can create a great 404 page that not only keeps the user experience in tact, but also adds new elements to enhance it. I will break down a couple of ideas for you.
  • Add Some Personality to Your Site!
There are plenty of opportunities in the construction of a website where your business style, personality, and/or humor can truly shine. The 404 page is a great place for this. You can turn the unfortunate event of a page error into something that will put a smile on the user’s face. And remember, a happy consumer will practically already have their wallet out! You can be artistic with your 404 page, like they did here: Or you can be funny with your 404 page, like they did here: Or you can be obvious and to the point, like they did here at Propeller:

Got it. What else should I do?
  • Encourage More Site Engagement!
You can include features on the page that encourage a further action from the user. Examples of these are:
  1. A Search Box – This will give the user an opportunity to look for something specific on your site.
  2. Link to Homepage – when in doubt, send them home. This will reset the user experience and get the user to where they really want to be on your site.
  3. Link to Top Site Pages – You could include links to your homepage, your sitemap, or even include favorite or site pages in the attempt to encourage additional pageviews.
  • Promote Yourself!
Are you trying to push the sale of blue widgets this month? Or trying to get rid of the overstocked fruitcake supply after the holidays? You can use this opportunity to feature promotional items, discounts and seasonal incentives on this page to encourage a purchase or conversion!
  • Make it Your Own!
In conclusion, you can create a great 404 page for your website where both you and your business can truly shine. You can have a better user experience, gain more site traction, and even improve sales or conversions. That’s like having your cake, eating it, and then eating it again! Sound good? Now get to work on your own incredible 404 page! Contributed by: Darryl Blank, SEO Account Manager at BrightHaus

Four Free Online Tools I Can’t Live Without

These days, time can often be in short supply, especially for those of us in the Internet Marketing field. Countless start-ups have risen to the occasion to combat the ever-mounting challenges of time management, as evidenced by the wide variety of tools and apps on the market. But where does one start? In this post, I have identified four tools that have proven to be especially helpful in managing and streamlining my workflow. Continue reading “Four Free Online Tools I Can’t Live Without”

Five of Our Favorite Free Marketing Tools

If you’ve taken the time to peruse our blog, you will notice that we take a very transparent approach to the way that we share our tricks and tips on the SEO industry. It is extremely important to us that we help to educate our customers so they have a full understanding of the measures that are taking place behind the curtain. With that being said, I wanted to highlight a few marketing tools that we find to be extremely helpful to our day-to-day workflow.

1) Open Site Explorer

This tool provides you with a list of the websites that are linking to you, or another site. By acquiring insight into a backlink profile, you then have the opportunity to establish strong relationships with websites that are interested in your product or brand. This can also be used as a handy tool to monitor the websites that are linking to your competitors. With this information, you can then work to obtain similar link profiles of these competitors. Open Site Explorer

2) Content Idea Generator

Are you struggling to come up with unique ideas for your next blog post, or content piece? The content idea generator can help. By simply entering a broad topic, it creates strings of popular searches that can be placed together to come up with innovative new topics. Sometimes the topics that it spits out are just plain silly, but with a little tweaking, it can provide some creative insight. Portent’s Content Idea Generator

3) Hemingway

Hemingway is a helpful tool that analyses a block of content, and helps you to tighten it up. State your thoughts concisely with Hemingway. Hemingway

4) Google Trends

Google Trends works to show how often a keyword, or search term is entered relative to the total search volume across different regions of the world. It also offers insight into, “interest over time” of a certain topic. This can be helpful in dissecting traffic fluctuation over an extended amount of time. Google Trends also provides, “related searches” which can provide additional ideas for keyword research. Google Trends Graph

5) Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo helps you to quickly identify topics and content that is working well in a specific industry. See who the top authorities are for any given field, and glean insight into areas you may need to strengthen. Buzzsumo These days, it seems as if there is a tool to assist with the majority of our everyday challenges, and SEO evolves, as do our tools. From content inspiration to competitor comparisons and research, all of the information is right at your fingertips. What tools are integral to your workflow?