In digital marketing, I have a mantra I stick by; ‘Always be optimising’. This comes in quite (and by quite, I mean massively) handy when improving a client’s website. When it comes to goal completion and conversion rate optimisation, even the smallest of changes can have a big effect. However, I’m not going to discuss here a small change, rather a radical one.

A great way to boost goal completion is to add relevant links to often forgotten pages. The 404 error page and the success page present unique opportunities for retention and conversion.

Taking 404 pages first, let’s recap on what it is: A standard HTTP response code that says to the user that the server could not find the requested file. In most cases, these are alarmist or worse, unreadable. Some quick do’s when you are making a custom 404 page:

  • Useful navigation options encouraging retention of visitors to your site.
  • Speaking the right language of the brand, to align with the rest of your site.
  • Tracking should be employed in order to figure out common entry routes.

That in mind, here’s a few great ones:

Error page

Humour and calming image used in place of an alarmist error message which would not be understood by the audience.

Not less than two (two!) calls to action are used here.

Error page

If the beeb can have fun, why not your site too?

I like this because it is playful and also because it does the easy things well. It has; a link to the homepage in the top left corner (the clickable logo), a search widget, site index as a call to action to retain users on the site and critically, its main navigation bar persist at the top. have maybe an even better error page.

Error page

Not in the least bit alarmist. Ideal for a personal financial services firm who want your financial records.

This uses humour rather than a dull error message and also has easy navigation tools in a prominent place to redirect users back to the main site, where conversion is a possibility.

With error pages, inevitably come success pages. This too is when the aforementioned mantra of ‘Always be Optimising’ is most true. Sure why would you stop at the conversion point when you could gather all sorts of useful demographic data on your new customer? The retention game starts here!

A few quick things to include when optimising your success page:

  • Include Social profile links, including a “share this page” button.
  • Additional resources (white papers, case studies, etc.)
  • Company content (blog, forums, etc)
  • Related products or services
  • Email newsletter sign-up
  • Coupon code for future purchase

Wordstream and Clickz both do this exceedingly well:

Thank You Page

Cross-selling here is proposed to the customer as a bonus.


Thank You Page

Simple and to the point