Do you have a money making website? Primarily I am talking about some kind of e-commerce site, but this idea can work for any kind of site where you make money. If you have such a site, you might want to consider something that I have been doing for a few years.
First, do you know what a “404 Page” is? A 404 is the page that you get when the page you are looking for does not exist. It is usually a blank page that says something like “the Page you are looking for cannot be found” or something along those lines. It might be something more than that, as 404 pages can be customized to any look that you want. Many people are starting to customize 404 pages with additional information that is helpful to the surfer.
I came up with an idea a few years ago. It’s kind of an “evil” idea, some might argue, but it works for me too. On sites where I have an e-commerce store, I have re-programmed my 404 pages so that if somebody types in a wrong address on my site, they are automatically forwarded to the front page of my web store! So, instead of being told that “the page does not exist” they will just end up on a page where they can buy things from me. OK, that’s not too evil, but the more evil part is that I have actually set up 404 pages on other sites that are related so that they also redirect to my store! For example, if you go to bobsite.com and enter the wrong address, you will end up at bobstore.com instead!
There are some downsides to this. What are they? Well, the surfer is taken somewhere that he doesn’t want to go. If he is looking for some kind of information on your site, he won’t understand why he keeps ending up at this web store instead! That can lead to confusion for the surfer. I understand that, and to anybody who is confused like this, I am sorry for the inconvenience. However, I also know that I have made sales by doing this too. Also, in the places where I have set this up, the sites are related to the store in some way. For instance, if they are going to a page that is somehow related to Davao City, yet they are redirected to the Davao Store, I don’t see a huge problem with it. If they were surfing to a page where they expected information on New Mexico and ended up at the Davao Store, that would be a problem, and also wouldn’t produce many sales, I would say.
Just for clarity, I am not creating pages to attract people, then removing them and redirecting to my store. These are just legitimate cases of people typing in the wrong address and such. Nothing devious about that.
Anyway, if you have money making sites, give this a try! In your web hosting account there should be a way to customize your 404 pages. Just go there, and make the page a redirect to the place where you want people to end up!
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