A 404 error status code means that the web server has not found anything in its database that matches the request URL, this will occur every time a page is removed from the site without being correctly 301 redirected to another relevant page or if the user has misspelt the URL path.

It is best practise and good for user experience for you to create a custom error page that explains to the user that the file/page they are looking for cannot be found and/or has been removed.

A good 404 error page should find a good combination between design and functionality as it is this page that will help the user decide whether or not to leave the site after they have not been able to find what they were looking for.

Error Message

The most crucial element of your 404 page is the error message you display to users. The error message should be an apology, why the page cannot be found and some suggestions of what they should do next. Keep the explanation as to why the page cannot be found brief, a simple “The page you are looking for may have been deleted’. Use a friendly tone as to not cause frustration, you want to try and correct the situation by guiding the user to the correct destination.

Search Box

Your custom 404 error page should always include a search box. If the user knows exactly what they are searching for then it is a lot easier to give them the functionality to search for it themselves than have to navigate around your inner pages.


Include key links to your category pages, featured posts you want to push, your about page and the contact page to encourage users to continue browsing the site. If your page has no links then it is more likely users will bounce and go to a competitor site, you can change this by simply adding a few links to your page.

For more information on landing page design get in touch with the In Front Digital team.