Visitors see your Yikes page (also called a 404 page) when they hit a dead end on your website. They click a link that’s supposed to take them to a particular page, except you moved or deleted that page and forgot to update the link.
They’ll also see this page if they mistype your web address. If you’re at wildedesigns.com, for example, and they type in widledesigns.com, they’ll get your Yikes page.
Since you can’t completely control the paths your visitor takes (or how much espresso they’ve had,) your Yikes page is your safety net. Instead of them running into that dead end, getting frustrated and clicking off into the wide blue yonder, it gives you the chance to fix things and keep them on your site.
Before we dive into the templates, here are some things to keep in mind when designing yours.
1. Acknowledge their feelings
There’s a chance that whatever lead your visitor astray isn’t your fault. Nevertheless, something annoying happened to them while in your place of business and it’s polite to acknowledge that.
2. Help them get back on track
Tell your visitor what to do now to steer themselves off the rocks. You can provide a search bar or direct them to one, ask them to click “back” or to your home page, or provide a big, beautiful button that’ll send them somewhere you want them to go.
It doesn’t matter which option you choose, as long as you’re being clear about what you want them to do.
3. Show your personality
Yikes pages are a wonderful chance to infuse your website, and your potential customer’s perception of you, with personality. Something odd happened and the two of you have found yourselves in what could be a rather awkward situation.
But this strange twist of fate means you’ve really got their attention. Even if they were idly clicking around a moment ago, they’re certainly listening to you now. Don’t biff that advantage.
Be a little funny or a little weird.
There’s an old saying about how you find out who people truly are when things go wrong. That’s what we’re shooting for here. We want your potential customer to come away from this detour feeling amused or intrigued, or at least satisfied that you helped them. Help them to feel that way and the odds of them sticking around (and maybe even buying something) shoot up.
Editing your Yikes page
Yikes or 404 pages are sometimes stashed in a not-very-obvious place on the admin side of websites. If you’re not sure how to edit yours, contact your platform’s customer service team.
Now let’s look at some templates you can use.
2. Blame Your Pet
3. Blame The Page
4. Blame Them
5. Offer Multiple Options
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