How to Create a Custom 404 Error Page for your Squarespace Website.
…and why you should.
You know that irritated, irky, frustrated feeling you get when you click on a link to a blog post that promises to answer all your Squarespace questions and… you get that dreaded 404 page.
Let’s fix that now.
The #1 reason why you should have custom 404 error page on your Squarespace website
Spoiler: it’s to keep potential clients and customers (your readers) on your website and poking around.
If you’ve blogged for a while, rebranded your website or changed up your services, you’re going to have old links.
And unless you’re super organized and have a spreadsheet that lists out all your pages (no, I don’t. I should.) - you might forget to do a 301 redirect and all that jazz.
And those old links are floating around in cyberspace - probably on Pinterest, which is essentially a visual search engine.
Pinner-types keep pinning and repinning and repinning - and the next thing you know, Squarespace newbies (or whatever audience you have) are clicking over to that helpful, but old blog post that you deleted (and forgot about) and wondering what the heck.
You had a solution to their problem - and now they’re leaving your website - frustrated and pissed off.
Squarespace’s default 404 error page is ok, but let’s face it - it’s generic. And dull.
If you’re brand new to Squarespace (and even if you’re not), let’s start your site off right.
With a custom 404 error page.
We interrupt this blog post to ask an important question.
Why DIY your Squarespace website when you have better things to do? (As in more lucrative - you know, like make and sell your art, plan the perfect wedding for your lovie dovie clients, or write your bestseller.)
What should you include in your 404 page?
Short answer: that depends.
It depends on the goals for your website and how your audience tends to find you.
In my case, people find me via Google search, YouTube, and Pinterest. They generally land on my blog posts after searching for a “how to” answer.
So I know exactly how frustrated they must feel when they land on my 404 page. They thought they had the 3 minute solution to their problem and now they have to keep Googling for another 5 hours.
My current 404 page is ok but I want to improve it.
This is what it looks like right now. Although it won’t look like this after I publish this blog post (when you’re reading it.)
Here’s what I’ll include in my new 404 page:
A silly gif of a jellyfish that I made on Adobe Illustrator.
Info on what to do next
A pop up form block to contact me
A summary block of useful blog posts (including one of my pillar posts - The 10 Step Guide to Setting Up a Squarespace Website from Scratch and of course, this post here.)
The 404 error page is one of my favourite pages to design - first because, if it fits your brand, you can be goofy. Second - and more importantly - because it’s designed to make your disappointed and lost readers feel better and find what they need.
In the video below, watch my step by step process for redesigning and setting up a Squarespace 404 error page.
Don’t forget to test your 404 page.
If it doesn’t work, reset it to the Squarespace default, save it, then reset it again to your custom page, save it and test again. (Or, read Squarespace’s 404 error page tutorial.)
Want more inspiration for what to include on your 404 page?
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Hi, I’m Kath - author of this blog post (and others like it) and copywriter, editor, and Squarsepace Authorized Trainer for Squarespace web designers and service-based entrepreneurs and freelancers. Team up with me to get your web design projects done, like yesterday.
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