Do you know what your website’s error page looks like? No peeking. Have you even checked since the site was last redesigned? It’s important. Visitors get this page as a landing page all the time, and it’s often not your fault in any way. Maybe they typed in a page address incorrectly. Maybe they followed an incorrect link from another site. This can happen all the time, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
OK, now go and have a look at your your website’s error page. Just type in your domain name followed by some rubbish, like this:
What I hope you’ll see is a nice helpful message, explaining that something’s gone amiss, but more importantly, I hope you won’t see this:
The helpful page should, at the minimum, also contain a search box so that visitors can try to find what they came for. For those averse to typing, some clickable links would be good, even if it’s just the standard navigation menu. But why not push some new content at them too, such as your latest news?
If you want to get your 404 page dragged into the 21st century, and you know a good website developer, here’s a (fairly technical) idea you could send them.