Regardless of the attention to detailed paid to the web design and maintenance of a site, 404 errors are bound to occur at some point. These error pages of course appear when a visitor clicks on a link that should lead to another page on the site, but for some reason it does not. The link could be incorrect, or perhaps you have deleted the page, but forgot to remove the link. These types of problems happen to every website.
Effective 404 error pages are crucial because a reader has shown that he or she is interested in your content, and they have made the effort to learn more. A 404 error can be extremely discouraging to this eager reader, causing the person to leave the website completely. Research has shown that an engaging and optimized 404 error page can help websites retain their traffic and even increase search engine optimization.
Why you really need a Creative 404 Error Page?
It is that part of our site which neglected by most people. It is important to figure out why you need this page to be customized in order to make it highly effective. The 404 error page should be capable of convincing the user to keep on browsing your website and instead of leaving it. Users are bound to leave and find what they are trying to find elsewhere when they’ve identified a 404 page and read the phrase ‘file not found’.
This leaves a bad impression of your site in front of them. You cannot really stop your visitors from getting 404 error pages. But you can provide them a more user friendly experience with a custom designed 404 error page
How to Design a Creative 404 Error Page for WordPress Website:
Creating a New 404 Error Page Within:
Fortunately, WordPress takes care of ensuring that the server delivers an appropriate 404 HTTP status message. The administrator of the site is only responsible for going within the WordPress theme and creating a template for the 404.php page. Many premium WordPress themes will make this process very simple, but it is up to the user to creatively optimize the content on the 404 page.
What to Include on a Custom 404 Error Page:
First, the error page should include an apology, and a statement that makes it clear that an error has occurred. The 404 page should have the same design, layout, and color scheme as the rest of the website, so visitors do not have the feeling that they have been kicked off of the webpage. The same navigation and sidebar options that normally appear on the rest of the site should also appear on this page.
Along with an explanation and apology, the 404 page should also contain easy to follow instructions and recommendations as to how the reader should proceed. This might include links and brief descriptions of the most popular pages on the website. This is also a good place to include any search functions that would possibly generate the correct page information that the visitor was initially trying to access.
Other Useful Ways to Optimize 404 Error Pages
The 404 error page is a page just like any other on the website, and this space should not go to waste. Many websites use this page to promote recent posts, or current promotions if the WordPress site is being used by a business. Smaller websites may include an entire sitemap on this page to better enable visitors to find useful information. This is also a good location to incorporate a contact submission form where readers can ask questions and request that a representative contact them. Many valuable sales leads can be generated through a simple and carefully worded, 404 error page.
Monitoring and Reducing the Number of 404 Error
Ideally, the number of times your readers have to view 404 error pages would be minimal to zero. In order to limit the number of error messages received by visitors, it is essential to monitor and track when these pages are being viewed, and which links are directing traffic to the page. There are WordPress plugins that can track views, and many bloggers use Google Analytics to obtain this information.
By monitoring the traffic to the 404 error page, it is possible to determine which links are problematic and quickly correct the issues. Older content should not be modified or removed unless absolutely necessary. When pages are removed, there should be proper redirection structures in place and tested thoroughly.
Now it’s your time to do the same. Simply follow the above tips and enjoy results. We usually don’t feel important about 404 error page but believe me it really makes a difference and provide your visitors a good experience with your site.
This article is written by Sumit. He is an 18 year old boy. Sumit loves to share his knowledge about Blogging tips, SEO, Social Media, Make Money, Technology and many more. To know more about him and his content, visit his blog BlogClues