How to build Outstanding 404 error pages – making an error look cool and helpful

I love 404 error pages. Not all of them, but there are some pretty good ones out there (I will show you some of my favorite ones later in this article).

Whether you’ve typed a link incorrectly, or accessed a webpage that is no longer available, there’s a strong chance you’ll meet with a 404 page. That right there is a great opportunity for that website to either be remembered, or forever forgotten.

Maybe I’m over exaggerating a little bit, but still.

I, personally, am sick of seeing error pages that only give me the option to go back to the home page. Really? Really? This is the only thing you can do to help me? It’s like getting lost in a maze, and your only option would be to start from the beginning.

Why Do You Need to Customize Your 404 Error Page?

404 error pages are great opportunities for you to keep your visitor on your website for longer.

Because there are so many completely useless error pages out there, I believe that customizing yours is a great opportunity for you to redirect the visitor toward some helpful content. At the same time, the visitor will be able to explore the site further, and not become annoyed about the fact that he’s being redirected to the home page.

What Should Your 404 Error Pages Include?

First of all, even if you customize the 404 page, the visitor still needs to know that he’s landed on one. Also, use common language, so that you don’t confuse the user with jargon.

Second, what most 404 error pages lack is a search bar, a basic search bar.

Then, it’s all about the links. The visitor should be able to navigate wherever he may want from that point, so that he easily find the answer he’s looking for.

That being said, you need to include a link to the homepage, or a link or a contact for the support team. Other than that, show your visitor some of your latest article, or the most viewed ones, because chances are, that’s what he was looking for.

If you have a website that sells products, include product recommendations in the error page, so that the visitor can get back on track, right where he was lost.

You definitely need to put some effort into creating a helpful 404 error page. I’ve seen a lot of error pages, but unfortunately, some were more funny than helpful.

If the visitor is redirected from an external link to your website, you lost him if you don’t have a proper error page. If you didn’t put a little bit of effort in helping him find his way back, then he’s definitely not going to stick around, trying to figure out where to look for “it”.

“How not to do it” – Examples of 404 Error Pages

1. Google

The first example that comes to mind when it comes to bad 404 error page practice is <drum rolls> Google. You’ve probably seen it as well, but didn’t really give it much thought, because it’s Google we’re talking about here.

Nevertheless, their error page is simply dull. It doesn’t say more than we all know, and on top of that, the visitor is not even given the chance to find out what went wrong, and how they can find what they were looking for.

google

2. South Park

The second example is the South Park error page. You’ve probably heard or even watched South Park before, so you know the characters from the show.

For their 404 error page, they used its characters, and for each one of them, there is a custom message, which is created based on what the character would actually say, and what words he would use. The error page changes every time you go back to it.

I’m not saying that their webpage is not cool, because it is. I’ve included it here, because it lacks functionality. The only thing a visitor is able to do is go (back) to the home page. A search bar would have been just fine, though.

southpark

My Favorite Examples of Well Done 404 Error Pages

1. Virgin Holidays Cruises 

Their error page proves that you can adapt this page in a very creative way, no matter what type of business your website does.

It’s clear, it has a funny message, and the picture with someone’s legs on a deserted island are the cherry on top.

The visitor has the possibility to search for whatever he may be looking for. It’s just perfect!

404 error pages

2. Marvel

The Marvel App error page is very different than what I’ve seen so far. It’s very interactive. The background is actually a .gif, and you have the possibility to change it, and what another one and another, until you get bored.

Also, their error page gives you the possibility to email them, or send them a tweet. It is the first site I’ve encountered so far that has the option to tweet the company. I think that this is very convenient, because the visitor might receive a faster response on Twitter than on email.

marvel

3. Content Look

We’ve come up with a funny, but helpful 404 error page for our new online tool, Content Look as well.

As you can see, we used our dear Squirrel in this process, and we think it turned out really nice. We’ve included a button for the home page, and a search bar as well.

contentlook

Let’s Have a Discussion

These are my thoughts on 404 error pages, along with some examples to show you how good practice looks like.

Now it’s your turn to share your thoughts, and tell me whether you think it’s worth investing a little bit of your time in these error pages.

Also, what are the coolest and the most helpful error pages you know?

How a High Content Blog Will Improve Your Sales

Blogging has become highly competitive in today’s market. It’s not enough to just have one. Modern companies need a blog with high quality content to attract readers and improve sales.

How Blogging Will Improve Your Sales

Content marketing enables you to attract readers, inform prospective buyers, demonstrate the value of your products/services and gain trust so that you’ll stand out amidst competitors.

According to statistics, 9 out of 10 organizations market with content. Blogging is the vessel you can use to improve your sales. Here’s how you can do it.

 

improve your sales                                                         Photo Credits: Yann Ropars’ Flickr

Establish Your Business As An Authority

The main reason you want authority is because authority automatically brings trust.

When potential customers have an issue or a problem, if you’ve provided them with valuable information in a previous post, they will automatically think of you first before any of your competitors.

You must provide consistent content that's simultaneously enjoyable to read and valuable. Click To Tweet

Statistics estimate that 50% of the time consumers spend online is spent reading content.

This also involves being active in communities which prospective customers frequent and helping them when they need it.

Comment, encourage and humbly share your experiences. This shows your interest and knowledge and leads them to trust you.

Also, combining your experiences with real life situations that potential clients truly relate to builds credibility.

If you provide content that leaves the reader wanting more from you, you’re prompting their willingness to enter into your sales funnel. It’s lead generation in disguise and it’s half the battle of converting a reader into a customer.

Attract Readers

There’s two parts to this aspect.

i). The first part involves producing quality content on topics that are up-to-date and relevant.

When you create a copy, make sure you incorporate keywords that are commonly looked up on the web and include them in your headlines, subheads and weave them into your paragraphs.

Always remember when you're writing that your ultimate goal is to improve your sales. Click To Tweet

ii). The second part involves sharing the content on social media outlets.

If you’ve created high quality content, your articles will be memorable. The advantage of memorable content is twofold.

Readers will be more likely to share and comment on your posts and your products/services will be the first they think of when they need help or advice.

 

social media

Lead Readers To Your Sales Funnel

Because the evolution of the Internet emulates a ‘do it yourself’ type of learning/shopping experience, prospective customers respond well when they can read about your products/services and reach their own conclusions.

High quality content leaves its readers feeling like your business is the answer and makes them want more. This is the perfect time to convert them from readers to customers and lead them right into your sales funnel.

A carefully crafted call to action that’s placed into a highly informative, engaging post is highly effective.

However, its power lies in direct correlation to the content. The content must fit the aforementioned aspect before a call to action is introduced.

If you’ve related to your reader, provided a solution to a problem and been authentic about what your products/services provide, you will easily improve your sales using this method.

If you want a successful blog that improves your sales, you need a system that produces high quality content on a consistent basis. Would you like to learn how to get 300+ readers per article? We’ll show you how to do this for free. No more grasping at straws trying to get more leads or more shares. The answer is here and it’s free. Take a minute, follow the above link, leave your email address and let us start helping you increase your sales today.

How to Get The Most Out of Google Analytics

Every website owner has to be able to precisely analyze their content’s performance, regardless of its type. In that case, there’s mostly just one solution: Google Analytics (GA).

You’d be amazed how many aspects it can track! And does it for free. You don’t need to pay anything – except attention to the following lines.

Learning the ins and outs of GA is a must for all website owners. Not just because marketers say so, but because it’s a good way to grow your business.

Here are the top tips on using Google Analytics and getting as much as possible from the data (and how to precisely read the data).

Set Up Your Goals

Are you running an eCommerce business?

Are you selling certain services?

Have you developed a SaaS and people are downloading it?

Regardless of what the answer might be, you should always clearly define your goals in Google Analytics so you can track and analyze it better.

Downloads, form completions, add to cart, successful sales – everything can be defined and tracked through GA. You should do this right at the start because your decisions should be based on the goals and conversions you focus on.

google analytics

To define these goals, head to your Google Analytics and click on the Admin wheel. Then, click on Goals from the right column and on the red button NEW GOAL. The tool provides you a user-friendly wizard which guides you through the entire process.

Track Your Events

Part of setting up your goals is Event Tracking.

By using just a bit of extra code, you can start collecting data on countless extra activities that can’t be tracked with the regular GA code. These are actions you can’t track because they don’t lead to a Thank You page or follow up page.

Events include aspects and actions like:

button clicks,
clicking on links,
email addresses,
social media icons,
file downloads.

Setting up events is just like setting up goals, except you’ll have to add a specific code.

If your site is using Universal Analytics, you’ll need to use this code:

ga(‘send’,’event’,’category’,’action’,’opt_label’, opt_value)

There are a few variables that will change with each different event you track:

Category – grouping events into desired tracking groups
Action – the action the user takes
Label – to differentiate this event from the others (optional)
Value – perceived dollar value of event (optional)

If you want your visitors to download something without taking them next to a Thank You page, you’ll want to input the following:

  • Category: Downloads
  • Action: Click
  • Label: Whitepaper/Plugin
  • Value: 0

Thus, the code you should implement on your page looks like this:

ga(‘send’, ’event’, ’download’, ’click’, ’plugin’, 0);

Sync Your Google Analytics with Google Webmaster Tools

For the uninitiated, Webmaster Tools (now officially rebranded as Google Search Console) is another free application which lets you check the indexing status and optimize the visibility of your website.

By connecting your Search Console property (website) with your GA account, you gain full access to Google’s new Search Engine Optimization reports.

These come in three forms:

  • Queries,
  • Landing Pages,
  • and Geographical Summary.

In addition to helping you discover your top performing search queries and landing pages, the data can also be used to identify:

  • Keywords that have a low click through rate, but high average position. Once you know what these are, you can change the meta title and description of your page to improve their CTR.
  • Landing pages that have a good click through rate, but low average position. These pages can then be put through an on-page optimization process to improve their rankings.
  •  The countries your organic visitors are browsing from.

Filter Out Your Traffic

Do you and your colleagues have your website set as their home page, or do you visit to test and update content? Of course, you do.

Accessing your website over and over again can actually alter your analytics data.

To prevent this, and to exclude yourself and your co-workers from your Analytics data, you will need to set up a filter under the Admin panel.

If you have a static IP address, go to All Filters, click on Add New Filter and set a Predefined Filter to exclude traffic from your given IP address.

If you don’t know your IP address, just google ‘what’s my IP.’ Be aware, though, this will ONLY work if you have a static IP (most business broadband packages come with a static IP these days).

Conclusion

Every website owner needs to use Google Analytics, regardless of the stage of their business.

This fantastic free tool can answer so many questions, be them simple or complex. Without it, you can’t possibly know the answer to essential questions, such as:

  • How many people visit my website on a daily basis?
  • Where do these visitors access my website from?
  • Are they using mobile devices to browse my site?
  • Which pages on my site are the most popular?
  • How many visitors are converted into customers?

And the list can go on and on.

If you have additional questions about Google Analytics, please post a comment below.

If you found this article helpful, you can share it with your audience on social media.

6 Tested Personal Branding Tips For Social Media Authority

6-tested-personal-branding-tips-for-social-media-authority-1

Almost anyone with a smartphone and an Internet connection is using a social media network.

Numbers don’t lie.

Facebook is still the leader of social media networks with about 2 billion monthly active users. Instagram has about 700 million users, while Twitter has about 328 million.

So building your personal brand includes having a presence on social media.

Here are six personal branding tips for your social media profiles.

1. Clean Everything Up and Be Professional

Before you get started with anything regarding personal branding, do a general clean-up.

You may have some embarrassing photos you posted years ago. You may have left some foul language comments at a certain point. Do a complete sweep of your profiles. Including games – clean those up as well.

Then turn everything towards professionalism.

Use great quality photos that showcase your professional side. In case you don’t have any, get to work. Dress nicely, put a smile on your face and take the best photos you can. Use a white background.

2. Be Consistent

It is vital to be consistent on all social media networks you are using. This doesn’t involve posting the exact same thing. No, it’s about having the same style of images and including your logo. This is how people recognize you.

personal branding tips

You want to send a steady message to your fans and followers, not confuse them.

So if you chose a specific color for your most popular social media profile, use the same on the rest. If you picked a specific style, implement it everywhere.

Be consistent on all social media networks. That's the first step towards a great personal brand. Click To Tweet

It is also essential to make sure your style and colors present on your social media profiles match the one on your website. If you have great SEO, many users might find your website before getting to see your social media profiles.

3. Apply These Personal Branding Tricks to Your Facebook Profile

Creating a vanity URL is an important step. Since your name is what defines your personal brand, it should be visible. For example, your Facebook profile URL should be www.facebook.com/YourName.

personal branding tips

Creating a Facebook Page for your brand is a must. Granted, content that you share on your page might not reach a lot of people. But pages let you manage things better – including ads. A page can be followed by people you don’t personally know as well.

Provide as many details as you see fit. Your job description should be the most important information. Next are your education background and degrees. Last but not least, mention all the great causes you contributed to.


Find relevant communities and be active. Engage with people and help them solve their problems. When it comes to groups, make sure you stay a member of only those that showcase your brand.
Personal branding tips: Your job should be the most important information you post, even on Facebook. Click To Tweet

4. Here’s What You Should Do for Your Instagram Profile

Instagram is owned by Facebook. As mentioned before, it has about 400 million users. So it is a place where you should be. However, the decision should be based on your niche.

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If it makes sense for your personal brand to be on Instagram, you should do the following:

  • Remember consistency – make it look as close to your Facebook profile as possible.
  • Let people know why you are there and why they should follow you.
  • Maintain a balance between fun and professional posts.
  • Interact and engage with your audience.
  • Know your hashtags – here’s a great guide that will help you achieve that.

personal branding tips

Create an Instagram landing page on your blog and link it to your profile. Do everything you can to make it mobile friendly. Instagram is mostly a social media network for smartphone users.

Personal branding tips for Instagram: Keep a balance between fun and professional posts. Click To Tweet

5. You Must Be Present on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the place where you should emphasize your professional side the most. Think of it as your online resume. Don’t neglect the SEO aspect.

personal branding tips

Here are a few personal branding tips for LinkedIn:

  • Take time to provide useful details – Google always shows your city, position, and the company you work for
  • Create a unique URL for your profile – www.linkedin.com/YourName
  • Use a professional photo
  • Make it public – it’s not a personal place but a professional one
  • Add relevant links to your profile – your blog, social media profiles and so forth
  • Connect with professionals you know – thought leaders in your domain
  • Publish great content on the channel – you will position yourself as an expert
LinkedIn is the place to showcase your personal brand's true value. Click To Tweet

6. Personal Branding Tips for a Professional Twitter Profile

Consistency is a must. So your Twitter profile should look pretty similar to your Facebook profile in terms of colors and profile picture.

personal branding tips

To grow your followers and increase brand authority, do the following:

  • Keep an eye out for live Twitter chats – join in on discussions related to your niche
  • Whenever you get mentioned, reply
  • Engage with thought leaders – retweet, reply and so forth
  • Look for Twitter lists relevant to your personal brand
  • Follow the trends and be an early-adopter

A tweet is limited to 140 characters, so it shouldn’t be that hard. You’ll spend most time retweeting thought leaders in your niche. Twitter isn’t as time-consuming as Facebook.

Personal branding on Twitter: engage with thought leaders - retweet, reply, start conversations. Click To Tweet

Conclusions

These personal branding tips will get you six steps closer to achieving your goals. It will take time, so you need to be perseverant and stick to your plan.

If you’re using other social media networks – like YouTube or Tumblr – the same “rules” apply. Keep in mind that Tumblr is more popular for the fashion niche. To be successful on YouTube, you’ll have to dedicate a lot of time and effort into creating great video content.

If you’d like to learn more about personal branding, we got you covered. We’ve put together a great eBook on this topic that you can enjoy for free. Get it from here.

personal branding tips

Back to you: What other successful personal branding tips for social media you know? Tell us in the comments section below.