Why Your Squarespace Site Should Have A Customized 404 Page (And A Step-By-Step Guide to Make It Happen)

When I first brought up the topic of 404 pages on Instagram stories, the resounding response from my friends and followers was, "What the heck is that?!" So before we dive in, let's start with a little "404 101" (ha) for those of you who aren't familiar:

Your 404, also known as your Error page, is the page that visitors land on when they arrive on your site via a broken link. 

It usually looks something like this: 

We couldn't find the page you were looking for. This is either because:

  • There is an error in the URL entered into your web browser. Please check the URL and try again.

  • The page you are looking for has been moved or deleted.

Please check the URL and try again .

Why Should I Customize my 404 Landing Page?

It feels kind of icky to navigate to a site and see a 404 error, doesn't it? You clicked expecting one thing, and instead got some dry, useless text on a page casually informing you that you can't have what you wanted. Yuck! Wouldn't it be better to see a nice, friendly 404 that is actually helpful? Wouldn't you want that for your site's visitors?

And aside from creating a better user experience, there are a number of other benefits to a customized 404:

  1. It reduces your bounce rate. By designing a custom 404, you'll be able to point visitors to where they may have originally been headed. This can dramatically decrease the number of users who leave your Squarespace site immediately after landing on your 404.

  2. It makes you appear more professional. Like, WOW! This person pays attention to literally every detail! I can only imagine what working with them might be like... (okay, maybe not all visitors will be this enamored with your 404, but it certainly makes a good impression, doesn't it?)

  3. It gives you a chance to keep things on-brand. Your 404 is a hidden opportunity to demonstrate your brand's personality! Take advantage of it by attending to the details and making sure that the page's copy is in line with the rest of your brand's personality and voice.

How do I customize the 404 page on my Squarespace site?

It's easier than you think! Here's how to make it happen, step-by-step:

  1. Head to the Pages section of your Squarespace site.

  2. Create a new Page in the 'Not Linked' section and title it 404 Error: Page Not Found.

  3. Write a clever 404 page that feels on-brand (here's mine for inspiration).

  4. Go to Settings > Advanced (under the Website section) > 404.

  5. Choose your new page from the dropdown menu to set it as your 404 landing page.

... Et voilá! Easy peasy, amiright? Now hop to it and leave us a link to your clever, customized 404 page in the comments below so that other readers can see (and be inspired by) your work!

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Peace, love & puppy hugs,