Website visitors land on 404 pages because they’ve clicked on, or entered a broken link, or have tried to access a page that no longer exists on your website. If visitors are landing on 404 pages on YOUR site, you are likely loosing traffic.
Here is a 404 page at its ugliest . . . this definitely leads to lost traffic!
The beauty of using WordPress is that many themes have 404 pages that actually look quite decent. Here’s one example where they at least provide a search box that could help.
Other WordPress Themes actually show you an empty page BUT you can see and access the top menu as well as sidebar information.
Here is my site 404 page BEFORE I added the nifty 404 page plugin. I am using the DIVI Theme from Elegant Themes
Check YOUR site ‘s 404 page by entering a non-existent page link and see what you get. Could it use improvement?
Why Customize Your 404 Page?
- Give visitors a reason to STAY on your site instead of leaving. For example you could give links to your top 5 posts or pages.
- Get visitors to sign up for your newsletter.
- Give visitors other social media links and options, including Facebook and Twitter.
How to Customize Your 404 Page
Download the 404 Page Plugin
Here’s the Step-by-Step Process for Installing 404page and setting up your Custom Page
In your Dashboard: Click on Plugins >> Add New
Fill in the search panel with 404page (one word)
You will see several search results. Find 404page and click on Install Now and when the next panel comes up click on Activate.
Once you’ve Activated the Plugin it’s time to build your custom 404 landing page. You can do this as a PAGE or as a POST. I created a PAGE with a sidebar. I wanted the sidebar to show up because it already has my social media icons, and it has a list of my recent posts. I think if anything, the recent posts will give visitors a reason to stay.
I also added information about my FREE Report and included a sign-up panel.
The resulting page has more information on it and, I hope is more inviting that the previously blank page visitors encountered!
Once your custom page is ready. Go back to the Dashboard and click on Settings >> 404 Error Page
From the drop down menu choose the Name of your PAGE or POST. I named my page Whoops!
Click on Save Changes and you are DONE!
Be sure to test your new Custom 404 page and make changes IF necessary!
If you have a GREAT looking 404 page, be sure to add a comment and include your link or give us a link to a 404 page you really like!
Fantastic article, Melanie!!! What a great idea to turn lost links into an opportunity! My designer just created an awesome 404 page for me. 🙂 http://www.juliajames.ca/wrong will get you there…
Thanks Julia! And WOW what a great 404 page you now have … WAY better than the old one.