How To Build A Custom Squarespace 404 Page For Lead Capture
Building a Squarespace 404 Page
A Custom 404 Page on Squarespace Can Help You Retain Website Visitors and Get Leads
A 404 Page Error is one of the most common errors you'll come across when you're surfing the web. We've all seen them, you click on a link, and you land on a page that shows a “404” Page Not Found message.
Generally, this error appears when the particular link to a page is somehow broken. You may have linked to a blog article that is no longer available, or you may have entered an incorrect URL resulting in a page that is not found.
While receiving a 404 error isn't great, believe it or not, customizing your 404 page can work to build trust and improve your brand image! It's an opportunity to showcase your sense of humor and express your creativity. Let's take a look at how you can turn this negative experience, into a positive one on your Squarespace website.
What Is a 404 Page Error
A 404 error is a common error that occurs when you follow a broken link or input a URL that no longer exists. When you receive a 404 error, it does not mean that the website isn't active. It strictly relates to a page on the website or an external link that no longer exists. If a site no longer exists, you will receive a completely different error code.
Having broken links on your website, whether they are internal or external, impacts your user's experience and is the fastest way to lose a prospective customer. Search engines view 404 errors as an indicator of a low-quality website, and it can negatively impact your organic search results. Therefore, cleaning up these broken link, either by removing them or replacing them with different relevant links is a fast way to improve your SEO.
Why You Need A Custom 404 Page
Driving traffic isn't easy! Every visitor you receive is valuable. Their visit is an opportunity to convert them on a landing page and nurture them with email marketing until a sale. Nothing is worse than investing marketing budget and doing the work to attract prospective customers only to have them bounce when they land on a page that no longer exists. A custom 404 page can keep them on your site.
Visitors typically receive a 404 message for two common reasons:
They mistyped the URL
They followed a link to a page that no longer exists on your site
A default 404 page is an unattractive place to land. The typical page is filled with text and technical jargon that can give the appearance that your website no longer exists. Your prospect will exit your site and most likely not come back. That means all of the hard work and expense to get them there turns into a missed opportunity.
A custom 404 page can turn a negative into a positive and keep your visitors on your site in four ways:
Branding – Many businesses use a custom 404 page to re-emphasize their brand. Using a creative approach and brand identifiers like images or tag lines can imprint your brand on visitors.
SEO – Search engines crawl your site by following all of the links to the different pages. If a crawler comes across a 404 page with no links, it can't continue. That means entire sections of your site aren't indexed so they won't show up in organic search results. A custom 404 page can ensure this doesn't happen. Providing links to a blog or your homepage is better than nothing but finding the bad link and creating a 301 redirect is better.
Build Good Will – Online marketing is about building trust. The best way to do this is to be helpful and useful. A custom 404 page can do this. Include a suggestion to another relevant page on your site. Give the visitor a choice, for example, a “no thanks” button and then present them with a list of your archive. That's useful!
Lead Generation – Consider this... why not turn your 404 page into a landing page to increase conversions? By doing this, you've created a link for search engines to follow, eliminating that issue, and you can build goodwill by offering a free piece of premium content! It's a great way to convert visitors into leads and build your email list in the process.
Building a Custom 404 Page on Squarespace
Your Squarespace site is automatically set to use the default 404 page they provide. To see the default page, go to Home Menu, click on Settings and go to Advanced Settings. Click on 404 Error/Page Not Found, and you will see the default page.
The Squarespace default 404 page explains why the content may not be appearing and includes links back to your homepage and search page to help users find the information they're seeking. Including these links also will keep search bots indexing your site.
The next step is to create a new custom 404 page that is in line with the rest of your site regarding graphics, style, and images. Create the new page and place it in the “Not Linked” section. Add your custom text and an image if you like. You can also use a cover page to make your 404 error page. This will allow you to include full bleed images, video backgrounds bold headlines or buttons for a genuinely effective page.
How to Find 404 Page Errors On Your Site Using The Google Search Console
Your website doesn't only need to be informative, to rank on the search engines, it needs to be technically proficient to create the best user experience possible. That means broken links and slow to load elements are a no go!
One way to ensure that your site is working optimally is to use the Google Search Console to check it for errors. When Google crawls your site, it keeps a record of most of the places where 404 errors occur. Getting this data is easy, and it can help you to keep your site fine-tuned to maximize organic search.
Finding 404 Errors
To find 404 errors with the Google Search Console, open it up and select your website. Then choose crawl from the left-hand menu. Scroll to crawl errors and select the “not found” tab. Click on one of the links in the not found set and then click on the “Linked From” tab. You now have a list of the places on your site where there are broken links. Now all you need to do is go to the page where the link exists and fix or remove the bad link.
While 404 errors will register with Google, they are but a small piece of the algorithmic puzzle. The largest problem with 404 errors is their impact on your user's experience on your site.
You've spent time and marketing dollars to drive traffic to your website and losing a potential client because of a 404 error is a bad return on that investment. By using the tips we've listed above, like creating a custom 404 error page, and using the Google Search Console to find broken links and fix them with 301 Redirects, you'll not only improve your SEO ranking; you'll create a more enjoyable user experience which will lead to increased conversions and sales!
Squarespace Website Review
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Website Building Tips from A Squarespace Designer
About Michael Conway
I'm the owner and strategist at Means-of-Production. My firm builds Squarespace websites, Houzz profiles, and content marketing and advertising solutions for architects, interior designers, design-build contractors and landscape design firms. Our all-in-one marketing tactics attract the right clients with exceptional architectural photography and brand messaging that sets you apart from the competition.