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Brands Who Nailed Their 404 Error Page

It’s inevitable. No matter how on point you are, one day, someone in your audience is gonna click a broken link on your site. It’s a little bit embarrassing, but it also happens. 


Why not take that moment and turn it into an opportunity to improve their user experience just a teensy bit more?

The 404 error page is often one of the most overlooked pages on your site. And it shouldn’t be, because it inevitably pops up for website visitors more than you think. And honestly, there’s nothing less fun and less inviting than a big white screen blaring “404 Error” with not-so-fun code that makes no sense and has you smacking the back button as quickly as you can. 

But sometimes you come across a brand that put a little thought into it, and suddenly that little mistake leads to a little chuckle. Or it directs you somewhere even better. Or it reinforces the brand’s whole messaging, building their authority even more. So much so that you didn’t even mind that you clicked a broken link. Everyone wins. 

So as a business putting effort into improving your client’s experience, having a strategic 404 error page is completely and 100% worth the extra time it takes you to create it.

And depending on your unique brand, you could take this page in any number of directions, which is where the fun comes in!

Here are a few examples of some of my personal favorite brands who upped their user experience game by optimizing their 404 error page in unique (and fun!) ways.

LUSH Cosmetics

Why it works? Everyone loves a good play on words (you’re lying if you say you don’t). And something as simple as this is still impactful and memorable. And fun!

Plus, I love that they offer suggestions for where to visit next along with a search bar to really get visitors where they want to be. All in a very not-overwhelming way. 


Why it works? Because it feels fun! Similar to LUSH’s strategy, they keep it close to their brand and offerings. It’s short, sweet, and then allows the visitor to continue on their merry way.


Why it works? So while this may not feel as creative as other brands, it still works because it’s crystal clear, clean, and direct. There’s no confusion whatsoever as it guides the user to either input where they’d like to go or use their site map. All of which feels very on-brand for Apple, a very intuitive brand that always prioritizes user experience. 


Why it works? If you’re not familiar with Ravelry, it’s a database and hub for fiber artists. And so they add a little bit of humor with Sherbert the sheep, and casually throw in the word “following,” making a sneaky connection to the sheep theme. Honestly, how could you not smile at Sherbert!? 

If they wanted to make it even stronger, a CTA directing visitors where to go next is always helpful. (And I mean, with the whole “sheep” and “following” idea, they coulda had some fun with that!). 


Brand: Quince

Why it works? Quince takes a simple and straightforward approach by affirming that the visitor must be lost and then easily directing them back to the homepage. The photograph helps build on their brand image. Simple, clean, and clear. 

This is a super short sampling of some of my fave brands, and from that alone you can see that there are many different strategies you can use for an error page, depending on your specific brand. The sky is the limit on this one, and because of that, it’s probably my favorite page to write!

Hey there, I’m Kristie! I write website and email copy for service-based businesses and creatives who want to build meaningful relationships with their clients *and* not drown in the overwhelm of being a business-owner.

Hopefully seeing these examples has given you the inspiration you need to consider how your own error page can strengthen your messaging and visitor experience while having a bit of good fun while you’re at it! 

If you’re one of those people with a default 404 page, this is your moment to go update it! 

But if you’re struggling, reach out because you already know I’d love to help!

So glad you’re here! XO

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