NOTE: This post is for WordPress users (however, it applies to all websites).
If you check your Google Webmaster Tools regularly, you may notice a few crawl errors every so often (go to Crawl >> Crawl Errors). The “Not Found” errors are important because they create negative customer experiences. Some believe they can affect your ranking on the search engines as well. The point is 404 errors or Page Not Found errors happen. While all websites produce a default 404 Error page – you can do so much better! This has to be one of the easiest WordPress tips to execute, and it can have decent ROI.
The default 404 pages are plain. Typically, the default pages only result in frustration for the accidental visitor. These people made it to you for a reason. This is an opportunity. You should at least give them a bit of a chuckle (if you know me, you probably know I’m addicted to Yoga) and attempt to guide them toward a page or post that will help them. This can be done dynamically with WordPress widgets for recent posts, pages and categories. Here is our 404 Error page:
We also use an exit pop to tempt them with our secret formula for marketing success (you’ll see the same thing if you move your cursor toward the address bar in your browser on this page). Another approach would be to provide a links to your product or service categories. What’s important is that you try to capitalize on their mishap! We work so hard to get traffic, this is bonus traffic if you set it up right.
What’s the Name of the #)%& Plugin?
We use the “Custom 404 Pro” plugin to get it done. It allows you to create a 404 page out of any WordPress page or post. Then, it works like a redirect to present that page to the wayward visitor. Now you can monitor how many visitors visit other pages from your 404 page using Google Analytics.
Other Recent WordPress Tips:
- Best Marketing Automation Plugin for WordPress. Period! (This post overwrites the CoSchedule post below – you could use either, but Spokal is more robust. You’ll have to make your own decision based on both WordPress tips. I will tell you, once we found Spokal, we eliminated CoSchedule.)
- 3 Secrets to Better Manage Original Content Using CoSchedule
- Changing Domains with GoDaddy and WordPress
- Move a WordPress Website to Another Server