What are your website’s most important pages? Your answer likely includes some combination of the following: homepage, product page, checkout page, landing page, contact page, maybe even your blog. So of course, you’ve optimized those pages to a T. That’s excellent!
But what if I said you were overlooking three pages that are just as important? Your 404 page, “no search results” page and confirmation page receive decent amounts of traffic, so make sure you’re optimizing them, too. Your customers will benefit from better customer service, and you’ll benefit from increased SEO value.
No matter what you do, your 404 page is going to get traffic for one reason or another. Turn a 404 misstep into an opportunity by optimizing the page with these tips.
- Make sure your site’s normal header is available so the page remains on brand and users can easily choose another page from the navigation.
- Give the page a title something other than just “404.” “Page Not Found” or “Oops, something went wrong” are more user-friendly.
- Include links to popular product pages or categories, the homepage, or your sitemap. List them under a heading like “Try one of these pages” or write copy to accompany them. For example, “Shop our new arrivals” or “Read through the great content on our blog.” If you’re a B2B brand, offer a link to your contact page.
Whatever content you choose to include, make sure the design and tone fit with your brand. If your brand is more casual, go ahead and have a little fun with your 404 page, like the example below from CSS Ninjas. The literalness and fun-natured feel of a cartoon ninja makes sense for the brand. However, companies focused on more serious subject matter are better off being more straightforward.
CSS Ninja’s 404 page
“No Search Results” Page
When was the last time you were in a bricks-and-mortar store and asked a salesperson to help you find something, only to hear, “I’m sorry, I can’t help you?” We all recognize that as terrible customer service, but unfortunately it’s the type of service too many websites provide customers who use their search tool. “We didn’t find any results that matched your search. Please try again.” isn’t especially helpful on its own and almost encourages users to leave your site to look elsewhere. You can and should indicate that nothing was found, but always follow it up with information about what they can do next.
- Offer tips for additional searches. These include:
- Check your spelling
- Search using single words
- Search for more general terms
- Provide links to popular pages or categories where users might find what they want. In the example below, one of our B2B clients offers links to their support and solutions pages, two of their most visited pages after the homepage. For ecommerce sites, it might make sense to provide links to new arrivals or popular product pages.
- Include a link to the homepage. Yes, it’s universally known that the top logo goes back to the homepage, but providing the option right where the mouse is already hovering lessens the chance for abandonment altogether.
One of our B2B clients’ optimized no search results page
Congratulations, you got the conversion! Maybe your 404 page and “no search results” page optimization even saved the day along the way. That’s all very promising. However, if your confirmation page doesn’t start to build a healthy relationship with the customer, you’re still missing a valuable opportunity. When someone places an order or fills out a form, they’re obviously interested in your business. Make sure you show them that you can provide additional value.
- First and foremost, use your manners and say thank you. Most likely, the customer was also considering doing business with competitors, but they chose you. You’d tell them thank you in person, so extend the same customer service online.
- Provide additional content that supports their purchase or request. If they purchased a physical item, show them coordinating products and offer links to manuals or support information for the item. Drive them to blog posts or additional content about how to use/wear/take care of their purchase. If they requested information in the form of a white paper or free trial, offer links to other resources in which they might be interested. If they submitted a contact form, give them a timeframe for when you’ll be in touch- and then follow through on that promise.
Content Marketing Institute offers additional resources following an ebook download.
- Just as you did on your 404 and no search results pages, include a link back to homepage. Ecommerce sites should offer a link to continue shopping that either goes back to the homepage or the category from which the customer purchased.
- If your business has a social media presence, consider including social sharing options on your confirmation page. Word of mouth is still the best form of advertising, so make it easy for customers to share their excitement about their purchase or download with friends.
Amazon has a stellar order confirmation page that continues to provide value after purchase.
Do you have questions about website optimization? Leave a comment below or contact InQuest Marketing.