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404 error – page not found

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The 404 page can be more than a bit of blank space vomited back at the browser. It’s an opportunity to brand, and to link people to existing content on a website.

One of the better examples of a site giving its visitors a chance to get back on track resides at the Weather Channel’s website.  It’s a mini homepage that lets people know that, while their original request cratered on arrival, they can still get to forecasts, web search, and other links and services at Weather.com.

Some sites take the idea of spiffing up the 404 page to greater heights. The Royal Pingdom blog showed 17 examples of this today, ranging from flowcharts to President Bush to cut-up magazine text ransom notes.

One of the worst 404 examples comes from one of the best known tech companies out there. Google’s 404 page simply says Not Found, and does not even link back to Google.com.

404 error – page not found
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