How to customize your 404 error page in Squarespace and why you should.
We’ve all been there. You click on a link in Pinterest or elsewhere and you’re looking forward to reading a great blog post or exploring a promising new website, only to find that the blog post or web page has gone missing.
You see that awful, generic 404 error page and feel stranded and not quite sure what to do next. So you quickly hit the back button or close the tab altogether.
It happens...web pages and blog posts get moved and websites get redesigned entirely causing links to break.
Well, if you have a Squarespace website and you want visitors to stick around even if they get an error message, you’ll want to create a custom 404 page to help guide them and prevent them from feeling lost. Here’s how to do it.
Squarespace websites come set with a system default page for the 404 error page. It looks like this:
Well boring sucks, so let’s change that quickly!
Here’s where you’ll want to think about your overall website goals. Do you have a website to grow your email list, sell products or services, showcase a portfolio, etc.? Decide what you most want visitors to do on your website and add links, buttons, and forms to your 404 page accordingly.
And don’t forget to keep it on brand and add some personality while you’re at it.
For instance, on my 404 page I have a cute embarrassed emoji with some text explaining that something went wrong. Next, I have options for visitors to do a search for what they are looking for or head straight to my blog. Lastly, I made sure to include an opt-in form because growing my mailing list is one of the main goals for my website.
Plan out your content and design your own 404 page. Keep it simple and easy to navigate, with just a few calls-to-action.
Then follow the steps below to set it up in Squarespace.
Create a new unlinked page.
From the Home section of your Squarespace website go to Pages. Go down to the Not Linked section and hit the plus sign “+” to add a new page. Give it a PAGE TITLE and click START EDITING.
(You can use a Cover Page for your 404 page too, but I find there are more options available when using a regular page.)
Add blocks just like you would any other page to create your 404 error page. I recommend having at least a search box, a link to another page on your website, and an email signup form.
Once it’s done hit SAVE.
Change 404 error page redirect.
Now that you’ve created your custom 404 error page, it’s time to tell Squarespace to use that instead of the default.
Go to your Home section again and click on SETTINGS > Advanced > 404 Error/Page Not Found.
You’ll end up on a screen that looks like this:
Click the drop down menu and choose the custom 404 error page you just created.
In my case, my page is called “Oops”.
Click SAVE and you’re done.
Test your new 404 error page.
To make sure it’s working like it should be, do a test of your new custom 404 error page.
To do this, type in your URL followed by /testing123 (I’m assuming you don’t have a page titled “testing123”. If you do, choose some other random string of characters.)
When you hit enter, the 404 error page should show up and you’ll know you’ve successfully changed your 404 error page from the Squarespace default to your custom page.
It’s small customizations like this that make your Squarespace website look more professional and in line with your branding. What else do you include on your 404 error page? Leave a comment and let me know.