Custom 404 Page (Page Not Found)

Instead of being a dead-end, a customized 404 page helps people further their journey through the website. By providing users with quick links, we’re helping ease the frustration that hits when they don’t immediately find what they expected. This will help build their trust with the website and the organization, as they learn that the site has their needs in mind.

Any content type can become a 404 page, but we recommend using either a Topic Page or a Landing Page. If you need help building an effective 404 page, follow the guidance below.

We’re also happy to answer any questions through our support desk. Once your page is published, open a ticket for us to configure your site setting to point to the new page.

What to Include

Your error page should include links to the following:

The current locations of content expected from the most common 404 URLs on your website. In many cases, the rest of the URL should help you understand what content the link is trying to access.

In Google Analytics, go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages, then search for URLs that include “404” and “403.”

Most frequently accessed pages on the site, overall.

In Google Analytics, go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.

In Siteimprove, go to Analytics > Content > Most Popular Pages.

In some cases, most frequently accessed outbound links, such as links to a web application or a related website.

In Google Analytics, go to Behavior > Events > Top Events. Click on “Outbound Links,” then on “Click.” 

In Siteimprove, go to Analytics > Entries and Exits > Outbound Links

Also consider content regarding common questions the agency receives through call centers, social media, etc.

Tips for creating a helpful error page

  • Title should include “404,” “Page not found,” or similar text.

  • Intro text should briefly explain that the page the user was trying to access does not exist at this URL.

  • Include 5-10 links.

  • Group links if they fit into a few categories, like audience or topic.

  • Provide contact information. (An additional teaser or directory on the page might not be necessary if this would be the same information that’s in the site footer.)

Additional Resources

Learn how to create an effective error page:


These GovHub websites have custom error pages: