Guest blog post from Bob The Teacher

Making mistakes is part of business, but did you know you can actually build your list by mistake – on purpose?

It’s true.

Unfortunately, way too many website owners don’t take advantage of this concept, and, as a result, miss out on a key way to add subscribers while being in service of their newest community members.

Here’s the scoop.

Your website is a series of pages and posts that are accessed by people around the world by a URL (universal resource locator) – or link. In fact, you are currently on http://www.askbobtheteacher.com/build-your-list-by-mistake-404.

Now there’s a pretty good chance that you did not actually type that link in. You probably clicked a link from my email, a link on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.), or from someone else’s website.

Since you’re hear – there was no mistake.

But if you DID make a mistake, or more likely, I made the mistake in creating the link, you would have gone to a 404 Error Page on my website.

All websites have an error page (even yours), but hardly anybody is using these in a way that actually helps out the visitor or builds your list.

Standard Server 404s Are Useless

The default error page is horrible.

Default, useless 404 Error Page

When a visitor hits that page, there is absolutely nothing for them to do, and they are likely to not only click away, but CLOSE the window and not even get back to the original page they clicked from.

Custom 404 Error Pages Are Rarely Any Better

Most customized 404 Error Pages are cute or clever, but barely useful.

For example, Google is an awesome company, but their 404 Error page sucks!

Google Error page

The only thing you can do is click the Google logo to go the homepage.

Clever, but likewise pretty useless is IMDB.com’s error page. (they’re a big movie/actor database)

IMDB Error Page

You can at least click to the homepage, and get a chuckle (each time you hit the page, it’s a different movie quote error-fied).

404 Error Pages Should Be Helpful!

A great 404 error page apologizes for the error, and then makes up for it with a free gift. That gift is what builds your list. I first learned about this strategy from LeadPages. Here’s their error page.

Leadpages 404 error page template

This is excellent, and builds the LeadPages list while giving the visitor a decent 404 Error Template. However, even then, it’s not in total service of the new visitor getting to the page they were looking for in the first place.

I prefer to use a clever error page that steers people in the most common directions, while also giving them a free gift that builds my list.

Here’s the one I’m currently using on a few of my sites.

Bob The Teacher 404 Error Page

How about you?

What’s your 404 Error Page look like? If you don’t know, go to a new window and type in your domain and /whatsmyerrorpage (or anything else after the slash). If you’ve got the default one above, then it’s time to fix that!

Ramp Up Your Online Marketing With The Discover LeadPages Marketing Challenge

Bob The Teacher's Discover LeadPages Marketing ChallengeOne of my favorite people I turn to for marketing training and getting under the hood of the tools and strategies that work is Bob The Teacher. He’s running an awesome (and free!) Challenge to get you up to speed on 404 Error Pages and 6 other must-use LeadPages in your marketing. Register now for that free training, and you’ll be able to build your list by mistake – and by design, too!

Heikki Ahola

p.s. Want to see how big of a problem 404 errors are for you? Go to your cPanel and check your Error Log. You might be horrified just how many times a day people are hitting the wrong links on your site! Fix this, and you’ll rescue a bunch of traffic. Bob will teach you more about that and a lot more list building strategies in the Discover LeadPages Marketing Challenge

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