How to build effective 404-error pages in WordPress

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February 26, 2013
How to build effective 404-error pages in WordPress.


\"Thumbnail\"The greatest sites out there are always notable for their attention to detail. One often underestimated detail is the existence of a useful and user-friendly 404-error page. WordPress provides an easy way to create and customise the 404-error page, but unfortunately, the simplicity in customization does not automatically mean effectiveness.<\/p>\r\n

The well-known WordPress SEO expert Joost de Valk (aka yoast) reports his recent findings from several years of website SEO audits. According to this report a significant number of the websites audited had problems with optimising their 404-error page. The default WordPress theme (currently TwentyTwelve) has a very basic template for this case and not so many site owners go beyond that.<\/p>\r\n

Why is it important?<\/h1>\r\n

Let’s look at this from the common sense point of view. When does a 404 error occur? When someone clicks on a link that should point to content on your site, but for whatever reason there is no corresponding page: maybe you have changed a permalink or removed the page, maybe you have changed the tags or category slug, maybe the link was just wrong. There are any number of reasons for the error, but one important fact cannot be denied: the visitor is already on your site, s\/he is already interested in something, s\/he has already made an effort to find it, so this effort should be rewarded.<\/p>\r\n

One of the fundamental rules of UI is not to leave users in dead-ends without guidance. There is always a back button in the browser, but do you really want your visitor to have to use it?<\/p>\r\n


Apple<\/a> provides a sitemap on their 404-error page accompanied with a simple and clear message.<\/em><\/p>\r\n



Anna Ladoshkina

Anna Ladoshkina is a freelance web designer and developer who likes to build pretty things with WordPress and write about it. Connect with Anna on Twitter (@foralien) or on her website, www​.foralien​.com.

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