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Be nice with your 404

One of the frequently overlooked golden nuggets on a website is the Error Page, also known as the 404 page.

A quick check in Google Analytics, Webalizer stats, or AW Stats and you will see the 404 page (usually error.html) is one of the most commonly visited pages on your jewelry website. Users will see the 404 page when they click a bad link, or when you've removed a previously existing item from your jewelry catalog, or when you've removed a page from your website.

Most inexpensive hosting companies, like GoDaddy and HostGator, will use standardized error pages. Those pages usually have the GoDaddy/HostGator information on it rather than your own jewelry store information. They infamously say "Not Found."

For branding purposes those standardized error pages give you a bad image.

Instead, create your own Error Page that tells people the page wasn't found, but do so in your own way.

Some tips for you:
1. Make sure the error page looks like the rest of your website.
2. Make sure you tell the person the page wasn't found, or that there was an error.
3. Provide links back to your home page, to your product catalog, and also include the main navigation of your website.
4. Be creative with how you say "not found."
5. Never simply redirect an Error page to your homepage or another page--they won't understand what happened and will think your links are inaccurate.

A creative example could be showing a photo of a semi-mount with the message "This ring has lost its diamond and our website seems to have lost the page you're looking for. We're sorry but with our expert repair staff, we can at least solve one of those problems in no time!" Or, "Sorry, you've gotten lost--here's how you can find us in person!" and link them to your Directions page."

One final note for today is that you may have to ask your website host to reprogram their standardized error page and redirect it to your customized version.
AT: 12/27/2011 11:42:57 PM   LINK TO THIS GOLD NUGGET
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