Yeah, Just while I tried searching upon my contest blog, I reached my 404 page. It’s the worst ever 404 page with just a line saying that oh..you have reached a 404 page. Now, lots of screen space gets wasted over a silly sentence. Now there are many ways of filling that 404 page. Here are three ways:
- Fill with Related Content – You can use some php to extract the url by which the person reached that error page and try out handing some related links. This will ensure, that visitor stays on your site despite reaching a dead end.
- Fill with Ads Only – Now, your site does already get a lot of traffic and you don’t bother even losing that visitor out of your site. But before he does that, why not get him to make some money for us? Sounds interesting.
- Best Method – Use a bit of both.
I will suggest you to use a mix of both. In related content, you can show a list of your best posts, related posts to the search term the person used, search button and a list of your categories. Now link to your sitemap page won’t be good here because you don’t want him to jump upon a next page after this. You would like him to get direct to some content which can be possible if you redirect him to list of categories instead of sitemap link. Now you don’t have to use all of this and cram into your 404 page, but a intelligent mix of this can achieve your goal.
Now comes the monetisation part. Here I would suggest putting your CPM ads here. CPM ads benefit if you give them more pageviews. Considering that you get almost 30000 page views a month and out of them 5000-6000 get lost while browsing a 404 page, putting your CPM ad there gives you a better revenue earning ratio. Also you can try putting a banner which also appears sitewide. Sitewide banners should also appear on 404 page apart from other pages. Also you can try using a bit of link ad units from Adsense here as the provide a sense of showing related content to your lost search which resulted in that 404 page.
Now its not a sure shot formula on which type of 404 page works best. But you need to experiment a bit. With revenue sense, you should use special category or channels for ad which should be marked so that you can track the revenue coming from 404 page too.
So, experiment and check whether you can successfully gain visitors and money from your 404 page or not. And don’t forget to share your findings once you test them at your site/blog.