If you care about your website, you should take steps to avoid 404 (Page not found) errors as it affects your SEO badly. A custom 404 page with attractive graphics and good content is much better than just showing an error. Custom 404 pages can stop your visitor from bouncing off your site and never coming back.
A well-designed custom 404 page will help you keep visitors on your site even if they don’t find what they were looking for. Here’s a step-by-step instruction on how to build a great 404 page that will engage visitors and stop them from bouncing off your site.
Step 1: Install and Activate 404 to 301 Plugin
First of all, you must go to your WordPress site and install a plugin called 404 to 301. You can do that by choosing Plugins from the left-side menu and then click on ‘Add New‘. In the search box, type 404 to 301.
There are many 404 plugins, but the one I’m recommending has something the others do not: a log feature.
Basically, this plugin redirects the visitor to a custom 404 page and keeps a referral log for you. This means you’ll see the URL they were trying to access when they hit the 404.
Step 2: Set Up the 404 Plugin
Once activated, hover over 404 to 301 in the left hand menu to get to the 404 Settings for the plugin. Then click on 404 Settings.
On this page, you may choose and adjust your 404 page. You can fine-tune settings as redirect types, custom URLs, enabling or disabling the logging of 404 errors and more.
It is smart to set the 301 redirect (SEO) to an existing page which we’re going to make in the next step.
Step 3: Adding a New Page
Save any changes you made in the plugin settings.
The hover over Pages in the left-side menu and click on ‘Add New’. Next, you’ll have to think of a title and suitable content for the page.
If you use a plugin like Visual Composer you can quickly and easily create beautiful 404 pages with very little effort. More on that in a bit.
Step 4: Setup the New Page as Custom 404 page
After you’ve created your 404 page, go back to the 404 to 301 plugin settings and choose your new 404 page as the redirect page. Then Save changes.
Now go to any unexits url on your site, it immediately redirect to 404 page:
If you notice that particular pages are throwing 404s over and over again, it might be smart you create a page there or fix the link.
It will redirect all 404 errors to any page that you set, using 301 (or any other) status. That means no more 404 errors! Even in Google webmaster tool you are safe! You will not see any 404 error reports in your webmaster tool dashboard.
You can also consult our video guide on How to using custom 404 page to keep your vistors on site:
We hope this article helped you understand how to stop visitors from bouncing off your site using a custom 404 page. If you have any further questions for us, don’t hesitate to put it up in the comments.
See you again in orther tutorials!