Custom Error Pages May Save the Surf
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: https://www.ducttapemarketing.com/wrongpage.html .
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.