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How to turn 404 Error pages into sales: Conversion Rate Optimization tips from ShouTech

Whenever someone clicks on your website from a Google Search or from a referral source, they expect to land on a specific page.

But what happens when that page isn’t available?

Users will see a beautiful 404 page to greet them instead of that particular webpage they were expected to browse. In such events, user doesn’t come back to your website as the content they want to see is not found.

404 Error
404 Error

Every website has issues with 404 errors; it’s very natural in business. But, it doesn’t mean that you can sit back and relax, by doing so, you might lose your potential customers.

Because neglecting 404 errors leave wrong impression to your users and they don’t come back to your website. Nobody wants to be disappointed while browsing a website.

But if you are dealing with such issue, then how will you hold your users and make sale through your 404 error pages. In this article, we will learn some ways how to make sales through 404 error pages.

What is a 404 error page?

A 404 Error page is a HTTP response code which will be seen by users when a resource is not found on the server.

Meanwhile, the server is unable to load the webpage from the server that you are trying to browse.

This is how a usual 404 error page looks like:

Typical 404 Error Page
Typical 404 Error Page

This displays a simple 404 error message, which is not a good practice.

After seeing this, people will immediately close your website and don’t come again and if you leave your error pages like this, then definitely you are missing lots of your potential customers and sales as well.

These are the possible causes for 404 errors!

  1. Sometimes it happens that mistakenly we misspell a single character which causes 404 errors.
  2. Even a character can cause your link to return a 404 error.
  3. Whenever you delete old webpages without using a 301 redirection code. This is very common cause to display 404 error page to users.
  4. Simple, whenever people browse the old pages from referral or shared links which is old or deleted then people will see 404 error messages.

And there are many ways which cause this but some common steps can transform your error pages to money making pages.

Here’s the 5 points to increase sales through 404 error page:

1. Include a search box in it

On-site search is a great method which people mostly use to find specific information and content and when you are browsing a website having blog integrated, it’s a bit tough to find the specific content you are looking for.

Integrating a site-search box helps people to reduce the efforts to find their appropriate information and help you complete your goals quicker.

Search Box in a 404 Error Page
Search Box in a 404 Error Page

If you don’t want to lose your traffic from 404 error pages then providing a search option on your website is the most popular way to do it. Instead serving a blank boring page, serve a cute graphic to welcome them and let them know that the resource they are looking is no longer exists or missing.

2. Make it a lead magnet

Lead magnets are the adrenaline of any online business. People don’t want to convert at very first visit because they are not ready to make a purchase from you.

It doesn’t matter from where they’ve found you, either, they love your content but they won’t give you any details. It means you need to implement a lead magnet to capture email addresses.

Remarketing or retargeting ads are a great way to drive leads with lead magnets and it comes in all sizes and shapes. A lead magnet can be anything which describes the value of your content to your audience.

If you are offering Digital Marketing services then an e-book could be a great lead magnet to capture emails of your visitors and turn those visits into sales.

Want to drive sales from your 404 error page? You must use a convincing call to action (CTA) or try to capture more emails to drive sign-ups.

3. Offer vouchers as exit objective

Everyone loves freebies and one of my favourite ways to stick users around is to provide them coupons. Because, it is not such an easy task to keep users on your website and the hardest things is to let them to make a purchase from your site.

AdRoll said in a report that 98% of users visiting first time on your website are not gets converted or not make any purchase, it means, only 2% of users are making purchase from your website and gets converted at their first visit.

But what about those who lands on a 404 error page of your website? In this case, conversion rate is probably less than 2% or there are chances that it could be 0 as well.

Exit Vouchers on 404 Error Page
Exit Vouchers on 404 Error Page

Well, there is no way to back it up, but yes, with some great growth hacks and slight changes in design can make your 404 error page to drive some conversion.

All you need to do is in a bad situation; you need to capture the visits and turns them into a sales opportunity.

Now, you ask me how I can do it in a bad situation. Then answer is, you just need to utilize the exit intent.

Exit intent is an idea of offering some discounts and coupon codes to the customers whose are almost leaving your website.

Here is a perfect example of a 404 page which is optimized well to attract users to make a purchase.

Such techniques are a great way to turn your boring 404 error page into a money making page.

4. Land your users to products or homepage

Landing your users to products or homepage is also a great way to increase the sales through a 404 page.

A usual 404 error page is a way to drive users away from your website by simply indicating that “Page not found” or “resource is not available” which is not helping people to fulfil their requirements.

Driving sales is not easy and it’s come easily from a broken page that doesn’t mean anything to users. But some small changes can change the game completely.

Adding a simple navigation can change the game and give you sales. It helps people to find the resource they are looking for, or you are providing them a way to find the resource they want.

It helps the users to make a search and be within your website instead getting frustrated and leaving your website.

5. Make an impression

If your website doesn’t have lots of 404 error pages than you can take a less marketing-focused approach and try to make an impression to your users.

One of the best ways is to try to entertain your users when they are browsing your website. They can laugh and they like spending time on your website and find it useful for them.

Make your 404 error page a memorable enough which forces users come back to the page.

According to some researches, it just takes 1 or 2 seconds to build an impression online. You get only a very small time to win the trust of your customers and make positive relations with customers.

In short and simple, use a “Cute” approach to build a great 404 error page which entertains your users.


There is only one factor which is responsible to drive more sales to get succeeded in online business:

Providing users exactly same what they are looking for and you have to solve their problems.

And the toughest thing is to hold the users who lands on a 404 error page of your website and converting those visits are even tougher.

Every website is infected with the 404 error pages you are not the only one.

So, don’t ignore it and don’t sit back with relax, try to find the ways and do some analysis to find and solve issues. Try to make your 404 error pages more interactive and more appealing to let customers to make purchases from the 404 pages.

Hope you liked the article!

What are the best ways you have taken to convert traffic from 404 error pages? Let us know in the comments section below.

Thanks for visiting ShouTech, have a nice day!

Image and Content Source: Source

Written by:Anish Tiwari, on behalf of Viral Web Tech an IT company provides bouquet of web solutions such as Digital Marketing, SEO, Website Design and Development services etc. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for the glimpses. You can also find me on Twitter and LinkedIn for better communication.

Anish Tiwari
Anish Tiwari is an SEO/SMO expert and Blogger loves to write and explore newness relates to IT, Search Engines, Web Development, Gadgets etc. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for the glimpses. You can also find me on Twitter and LinkedIn for better communication.

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