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Insights:Fun with 404

August 4, 2021

The 404 error notification is a standard HTTP code for when a browser cannot find a specific page on a server. This can be caused by issues such as a broken link, mistyped URL or a dead link. One of the most common reasons for a 404 is a page having been deleted from a site during an update but the link remains.

Virtually anyone who uses the internet on a regular basis has seen a 404 error code – probably way more often than they’d like. While no one likes to be disappointed when they’re searching for information, how you treat your 404 code page can make the experience much less annoying.

404 error notifications can be an opportunity for marketers to promote your brand tone, drive traffic to another (hopefully) active page or share information.

For some brands, funny messages, images or even games can take the sting out of a visitor’s failed attempt. Brands, where humor would be inappropriate, can share information their target market might find interesting or of some value. For ecommerce companies, providing a discount code can potentially turn a negative into a positive experience that drives additional sales.

404 codes are an often-overlooked and unexpected way to help build brand loyalty and show empathy for the customer experience.

Unfortunately, 404 codes can also have a dark side. In the past, and perhaps even today, they have been used by countries as a tool for censorship. By blocking content with fake 404 codes, the user has no idea the information they were searching for has been intentionally hidden from them.

As webpages continue to get larger and more complex, the chance of getting 404 codes continues to grow.  The better use companies make of the opportunity, the better chance they have of turning a negative into a positive, or at least not a reason to leave the website.

If you’d like to learn more about content creation, website design or just hear a couple funny 404 jokes, give Insight’s digital team a call at 605-275-0011 or send us an email.

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