Custom Error Pages May Save the Surf

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I’ve been duct taping pages on my website 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 website but get a “not found” page instead. Arg.

Unfortunately, your website 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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