Preparing a Useful 404 Web Page in WordPress

April 12, 2016

When a Web site is built, you hope that links will be built to various pages on the site. That’s one way that the site builds more traffic. But there are times that a Web page is moved or removed and then those links could lead to 404 errors if someone attempts to visit that page.

As we were planning the transition of our unleash.com site from the original with more than 10,000 pages to the new site with fewer than 10 pages, we knew there would be a lot of links to pages that no longer existed. The new site was being built on WordPress so we found a plugin that allowed us to build a dedicated page as our “404 page” to help visitors find the new locations for the old links.

We found that 404 to 301 was a great solution for our needs as it allowed us to choose the page where 404 errors would be sent. Our specially designed Page Not Found linked to the most popular pages and where they had moved. Behind the scenes it logs every single 404 error so we can see what links are being followed. It also helps keep any SEO you have for the old links.

404-301-settings

This is a great plugin that we use on virtually every Web site we design, even new sites. It allows us to make sure that any erroneous URLs will go to the page of our choice instead of some generic error page that isn’t helpful to the site or the visitor.

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Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

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