Yes, there is a ‘national day’ for everything. Is it getting a bit out of hand? Possibly. Will we still use these days as an opportunity to educate and inform? Definitely.
So, what is 404 day and why should it matter to you? Read on to find out…
What is 404 Day?
404 Day, falling on the fourth day of the fourth month aims to raise awareness about the reasons behind a 404-error message showing up and what to do with these pages. In the past, 404 day has been used by organisations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation to highlight internet censorship in schools and libraries.
According to one urban myth, the 404 error was named after World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee and co-developer Robert Caillia’s office, which was number 404. However, this has been debunked numerous times.
What is a 404 error?
A 404 error is a standard HTTP error message that means the website you were trying to reach couldn’t be found due to a broken link. It could mean that the webpage was deleted or moved, or the URL you have clicked on or typed in is just incorrect (web developers would like it to be your issue).
We’ve all been there. You ask Google (or your preferred browser) a question, click on the top link and expect to receive your answer in less than 10 seconds. Instead, up pops a ‘404 Page Not Found’ error message. Annoying, right?
What do you do next? Navigate to the homepage yourself and try to find the information, or close the webpage and start again?
Although these 404 error pages usually redirect a user to another place, usually a homepage, they can cause frustration beyond repair.
You’re busy and 404 pages are unavoidable at times, but we list some top tips below on how to manage your firm’s 404 pages.
How can you fix a 404 error?
As 404 pages can lead to a user not receiving the information they wanted and expected, it is important to stay vigilant about the pages on your site and regularly scope your website for broken and out of date links.
But sometimes vigilance isn’t enough, and things will still fall through the cracks.
Therefore, in addition to monitoring your website and links, you could add a bit of your brand personality or humour into your 404-page design and message. This might help to keep users around.
For example, we created this page for one of our clients.
We also love these 404 pages:
- Spotify uses a play on Kanye West’s album “808s and Heartbreak” for their 404 page. Witty puns can be a winner if that’s what your audience will resonate with.
- Adobe’s 404 page stays on brand and links to multiple useful pages that the user may navigate towards instead.
- There isn’t any humour on Ikea’s 404 page, but it shows off its products and continues its minimalistic brand theme.
- CSS-Tricks are probably writing what every web developer is thinking and might give users a bit of a laugh.
- Magnt also uses humour by poking fun at themselves and the users whilst using an on-brand graphic on their 404 page.
Finally, you can also ensure that your URLs are easy to type into a browser.
What should my law firm’s next steps be?
We’d recommend putting some time in place to audit your website and see if you currently have any broken links and error messages. From there, you can relink your pages, change your URLs and redirect pages to the new content.
And, just FYI, if any of the above links were broken, it was definitely you, not us.