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Custom WordPress 404 Error Pages

Ever thought about creating a custom 404-error page? In Web Designer Depot’s post, How to Build Effective 404-Error Pages in WordPress, Ms.Ladoshkina explains why having a good 404-error page is important and goes into detail about creating one.

What’s the Big Deal?

A 404-Error page occurs because someone has clicked on a link to a page that is no longer there due to changing a permalink or removing content. When a customer discovers a 404 page, it should give them options to go someplace else, because they are already on your website, looking for something.

The article gives numerous examples of outstanding 404-error pages  from different companies such as iTunes and Zurb’s  to help re-direct customers. Like stated earlier, the customer is already on your site so they are potential buyers of your product – don’t let them get away.

Customizing a 404-error page

If a user experiences a 404 page, then something went wrong somewhere. In the future, rather than having the user simply leave the site because they couldn’t find what they wanted, give them options!

WordPress Codex and/or Google Webmaster Guidelines both explain how to start when creating an error page, figure out why you can’t find the page, and think of a good error page message to write for the people that happen to be browsing your website. Mr.Ladoshkina gives a list of factors that create a “perfect” 404-error page along with tips. Along with great advice, she also gives you all of the HTML, PHP, and JavaScript codes to create the template in WordPress.

Preventing 404 Errors in the First Place

  • create clean, well structured permalinks from the very beginning.
  • control all links that are incoming and incorrect.
  • maintain old page content, do NOT delete unless you have to.
  • use 301 redirects if you do need to remove content or change a URL.

 

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