What I’m about to share with you is a simple, nerdy way to send a message to a company in a way they’ve never seen before.
It’s all related to 404 pages. In case you don’t know, a 404 page is something that is shown when you reach a dead-end on a website where there is nothing to show. They can be funny and creative, or the typical bland “We can’t seem to find what you’re looking for” page that suggests you or turn back or search for something new.
Why do they do this? The benefit of tracking 404 pages is to help ensure they don’t happen in the future because they frustrate customers and are bad for SEO. Though many debate 404’s and their effect on SEO, it seems cut and dry to me. It may be true that Google can’t crawl a 404 page, but it can certainly see people leaving your site when they’ve hit a dead end. I know I’ve left many a site before after hitting a dead link via Facebook or Twitter.
After all, people want what they want when they want it, and a 404 page is a roadblock. The results of roadblocks in clickpaths are more people bouncing away from your site and increasing your bounce rate- and that’s bad bad Leroy Brown.
Now that I’ve sold you on the monitoring side, how exactly can you use this information to get a company’s attention?
Here’s the trick:
Because people have a vested interest in tracking 404 results, why not send them a message via one? By typing the targeted site’s URL followed by your message, you just may pop up on their radar. It’s as easy as adding “/your_message” to the URL. It’s the simplest, most creative, and probably the nerdiest way of saying hi that I can think of. And although you may not get a response, if you do, it’ll probably be in your 404 application on your website.
Pretty cool right?
I recently tried it on my site and lo and behind, I just got a notification of a new 404 hit. Let’s see what it said… (click the picture for the larger version)
So now that you know my tip, how about sharing the nerdiest way you’ve ever attracted someone’s attention online?