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How to Pimp Your 404 Error Pages

Wordress 404 error pages

404 Error Pages

When you build a new website it is important to think about what your visitors will encounter whenever they reach an error. Whether they type in an extension incorrectly, the site directs to a non-existent page or you’re yet to build the extra content, it’s a good idea to think about what you want people to see.

All websites should have 404 error pages and most websites just feature a plain Error 404 Page Not Found. This can be surprising and frustrating for visitors because they may not realize they have made an error and if they have followed one of your links, then they may click off your website completely. It can sometimes feel very unprofessional to have links up that go nowhere and it is a very quick way to turn off your guests. This can lose you a lot of potential customers, so creating a customized 404 page is a great way to avoid this.

There are two main things you can do to pimp your 404 error page. Firstly, personalize it. Change the wording and directions that are listed away from the standard. By doing this you can tell your customers that the page may be under construction, links may be broken, and give email contact info to report or that there may be some other problem. By directing them to hit the back button you’ll keep them on your website.

Another great option is to have all of your 404 pages automatically redirect. If there is one page of content that you want all visitors to see above all else, then redirecting any 404 errors means that they will arrive there if they make a mistake. Usually redirected pages will come up with a message that says page not found – and will redirect within 10 seconds. You can make the most of this and also include text here to say that the page is not found but the user is being directed to important or interesting information instead.

Here’s a link to some really cool examples of 404 or error pages. You’ll get a good laugh!

Alison is the Director and Founder of WP Fiddly Bits, the WordPress Website Maintenance experts, and contributes to the WP Fiddly Bits WordPress blog. She also uses her background in marketing to help clients get found everywhere online.


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