How many times have you told your website visitors to go fly a kite?
It’s probably happened more often than you might think.
Whenever your visitors encounter a broken link or site error, you are one step closer to driving them off of your site.
Although these types of errors often have a simple fix, they also one of the most damaging when it comes to conversions. A large numbers of websites fail to keep these errors in check and their conversions are hammered because of it.
Consider your reaction after landing on a 404-error page, how forgiving are you when you realize that your attempt to reach specific content has been thwarted?
Take a look at this glorious 404 page from WhiteSpark:
This page gives you the power to fire Brent (the dude in the picture) by pressing the red Good Riddance button…
Admit it, you’d click the red button too wouldn’t you?
Fortunately, simply going in and repairing the broken links can quickly ease the traumatic error page experience. In addition to 404 errors, there are also several other types of website errors that can make for an unpleasant user experience.
There are numerous errors that can crop up on a website and they are identified by their HTTP error codes. A few of the most common include:
401 – Unauthorized User
This error will pop up when a user attempts to access an area of your site that is not allowed or password-protected.
Solution: If the area requires visitors to register as users then direct them to the appropriate location to complete this process.
403 – Forbidden
This is similar to the Unauthorized User error and is encountered in areas that are off limits to visitors.
Solution: Let your visitors know that this area is not accessible and direct them to an alternative page.
404 – Page Not Found
The infamous 404 error comes up when there is a bad link pointing to or on your website. The broken link means that the server can’t pull up the page the visitor is trying to access.
Solution: Offer helpful resources that provide useful substitutes and/or alert you to the problem so that the links can be repaired.
408 – Request Timeout
Sometimes the server becomes impatient and pulls out this beauty. If a request takes longer than the server believes it should then your visitors will be hit with a 408.
Solution: Make it possible for the visitor to make another request for the resource as well as additional options if it fails a second time.
500 – Server Error
In addition to being annoying, this error is also difficult to explain. While there was an obvious problem, the server usually can’t tell you what it was and that’s usually all you get to know upfront.
Solution: You may be able to find the details of the problem with some digging but in the meantime, you should provide a link for visitors to contact you or find an alternative resource.
When one of your website visitors lands on an error page they know exactly who to blame.
That’s right, you play the villain in this story.
So how do you fix this issue and stop conversions from being slaughtered?
Start by repairing broken links and regularly testing your site to find these mistakes before your users do.There are many free tools available to find broken links on your site.
For the unforeseen errors that can inevitably occur, create a customized error page to direct your visitors to alternative resources or contact information. You can also alleviate the embarrassment associated with these errors with some humor:
If your visitor must suffer through the inconvenience of an error page, they deserve the courtesy of a little entertainment.
Salvage your conversions and the sanity of your visitors with some solid error page solutions.