Custom Error Pages May Save the Surf

Custom Error Pages May Save the Surf

Custom Error Pages May Save the Surf

By John Jantsch

I’ve been duct taping pages on my web site for so long that, well, the occasional link gets broken or a page that was linked to in article I wrote years ago no longer exists and surfers get the dreaded – Page Not Found 404 Error message.

It’s a pretty simple trick to create a custom error page instead of living with the one thrown off by your server. This way, you have the chance to redirect your visitor to a page that might allow them to find what they were after. I was reminded of this little trick in an article from Cat Seda – she’s got a wonderful new book out called How To Win Sales and Influence Spiders. You should grab this very practical, fresh information now.

Here’s the note from her newsletter.

You’ve seen a “404 error” page, right? At some point, we’ve all clicked a link to go to a web site but get a “not found” page instead. Arg.

Unfortunately, your web site visitors will probably see this error page,too. But there’s good news. You can turn this boo-boo into business. Be sure to share this article with your webmaster (and check out Duct Tape Marketing’s custom 404 page–great example–at: .

So, there are a variety of ways to do this. Mine is done with a simple redirect in the htaccess file. I don’t have the space or knowledge to explain what that is – your webmaster will know. I simply create a web page I call mycustom404.htm and then add this line to the htaccess file on my site – ErrorDocument 404 /mycustom404.htm . Now anytime a page can’t be found, surfers are automatically redirected to the mycustom404 page.

Yes, I know, I should fix any of these errors and Google Analytics does a good job pointing them out to me, but this also works if someone just types in the wrong URL.

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