Why 404 Error Pages May Be Killing Your Business

Did you know that something as simple as a 404 error page can kill your business? In fact, this can be a silent error that may not come to your attention until it is too late. If you are running an ecommerce website, it is essential that you make sure that all of your pages are functioning, or you could be running into trouble.

When a customer clicks a link on your site for a product, they will expect to have the page load. If you have updated your file structure, or missed a bad link, you can end up with pages that will not load. For a customer that needs more information from a specific page, this can be very annoying.

404’s can also strike your shopping cart, and you may not be aware of this problem until you are besieged with complaints. This type of 404 is the absolute worst kind. Your customers will not be able to complete their order process with you, and may give up entirely.

If you are not actively monitoring your site for dead links, and checking your shopping cart to make sure it is functioning properly, you are completely relying on your customers to report any errors that they find.

This is not a good method for finding dead links for several reasons. First, a busy customer may not have the time to stop, find your contact information and send you an email to report the problem. This means that they will most likely go to another site where they can find the same product and check out successfully.

Second, 404’s can give a very bad impression about your site to your customers. If you don’t care enough about your own site to make sure it is running well, how will they know that you care about them?

Many people find out about 404’s on their site or in their shopping cart only after a few days go by without an order. If you are experiencing an unusual dearth in business, it could be due to 404’s preventing your customers from placing a successful order with you.

This method is the worse way to check for 404’s. Basically, the damage has already been done and you may have permanently lost quite a few customers. Shopping on your site should be a fun and easy experience for your customers. You should not expect them to have to work to place an order.

It is well worth the effort to frequently check your site for bad links or errors. While you may not need to do this every day, it is certainly beneficial to do this at least once a week.

By taking the time to thoroughly check out your site, you will be ensuring that your customers can also check out.

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Posted on 12/14/05 10:32 PM

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