I’m sure you must have come across the error “page can not be found” some or the other time while surfing the web, I have and everyone has seen that page for sure. We get to see that error or page because the page which we were trying to visit to was either removed or it was linked incorrectly by someone. In simple words, it means that the website is accessible and functional however just that page isn’t available on that website any more.
As a webmaster this means that you are giving a chance to the visitor to go away from your website, who may have turned into a regular visitor or a client (depending on what kind of website you run). With WordPress we have the ability to create custom 404 error page and thus it will help us in ensuring that the visitor will not leave our blog/website just like that and they’ll care to browse some of your webpages and may be will be able to find the article, they were looking for.
What will be the ideal 404 page ?
Well probably a page which can help the visitor find the desired content from your blog/website will be the ideal 404 page.
What elements should be part of that ideal 404 error page of mine ?
Well, it really depends on what exactly you want to show in the custom 404 page error however this is what I would prefer :
1. Inform that page cannot be found : Ensure that you inform the visitor that the page they were trying to visit isn’t available and make it big enough (try and use h2 tag) so that visitor doesn’t miss the info.
2. Use Landing sites plugin : When a visitor is referred to your blog from a search engine then they are generally looking for something and this plugin helps them find the related content from your blog using the keywords which the visitor used at the search engine.
3. Give the power of search : Well, it’s always good to give them the option of searching through your archives and thus you can ask them to search for the post. You may use WordPress default search engine or Google custom search to display the search results.
4. Flaunt your top posts : It’s always a good idea to show the list of selected posts and it’ll be cool if you manually choose them and list them in proper sections.
How to create the custom error 404 page ?
WordPress codex has given an excellent tutorial on how to create custom error 404 page. You’ll definitely need to do the editing of the default 404 page template. Please post your queries and we’ll be glad to help you.