How To Turn 404 Page Not Found into Useful Page

I noticed that many bloggers are ignoring the Page Not Found message or HTTP 404 error pages

What is a HTTP 404 error?

Taken from wikipedia.

The 404 or Not Found error message is a HTTP standard response code indicating that the client was able to communicate with the server but either the server could not find what was requested or it was configured not to fulfill the request and not reveal the reason why.

The reasons 404 occurred could be:

  • the page has been removed or doesn’t exist anymore
  • broken link or out-dated link
  • maybe a temporary technical glitch

A simple test on many WordPress blogs, found that many blog owners just ignoring the important 404 pages.

http 404 Page Not Found

Potentially, you’re losing all 404 incoming random visitors. Over the times, you’re losing lots of traffic too.

Most reader will not make an effort to find a missing pages if they see a 404. By simply customize the 404 error page, you can keep them on your blog.

So, how would you turn your random traffic into regular readers?

All WordPress theme has a 404.php file, which you can design an user friendly page to display 404 errors and then help random visitors to find the information they’re looking for.

Edit Your WordPress Theme

1) Goto WordPress Control Panel, click on Presentation, then Theme Editor.

2) Open the 404 Template (404.php) file

Suggestions for for 404 error page

1) Writing friendly messages or show them some important pages of the site or tell them an interesting stories. Don’t just tell them to correct the URL address.

2) Offer them an opportunity to subscribes your email update.

3) Encourage them to subscribes to your RSS feed.

4) Include a Google search box to search the site.

5) List some related links that are similar to what was entered.

What I suggested above is just some commonly used. There are thousand creative ways to keep your blog readers.

See how I customized the 404 page for this blog.

This is OPAD Day 7 post

Posted in WordPress Tagged with: ,
5 comments on “How To Turn 404 Page Not Found into Useful Page
  1. kriscell says:

    Hi, I totally agree on the importance of 404. Just to add if you actually host your own web hosting you can also add in the following pages to to your public_html folder.

    404.shtml, 400.shtml, 401.shtml, 403.shtml and 500.shtml

    What these files does is bascially the same like the 404.php in WordPress giving your visitors a welcome page rather than the default page.

    I using it for my business website so worth the try.

  2. hanneng says:

    Thanks Kriscell for your tips

  3. This looks like a great blog..I’ll be back and I will stumble you…good luck
    Dorothy from grammology
    remember to call your gram
    http://grammology.com

  4. Jasa says:

    Hey just to add on..

    I’ve been hearing of it and yeah its an awesome idea. The thing is, its so simple to earn money from people’s mistakes? Putting some ads there is very easy to get clicks from. Though not adsense though. Some other ad networks maybe. Anyway, good post 😉

    Jasa

  5. darran says:

    I followed your tips and created a 404.php page.

    Do take a look:
    http://limetouch.com/i-cant-find-this-post-anywhere/

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