A 404 is the web code for “Page not found error” or “Clueless”. Even though the main aim is not to have 404 pages on your website, sometimes old information can break or disappear; a redirect can fail or expire. It is important to respect our visitors and the content on our website and that is why having a 404 error page implemented is highly recommended. To add more, although it is not yet proven that 404s affect your search engine rankings, it is clearly affecting your bounce rate and traffic. That is why we advise to keep the number of 404 pages small.
Setting Up a 404 Error Page
If you need to setup a custom 404 error page, you can do it via .htaccess file. There are two ways to do it:
- ErrorDocument 404 “<H1>Page not found</H1>”. This will show the visitor a simple “Page not found” message. You can customize it with html tags and make it more user-friendly.
- ErrorDocument 404 /404.html. Using this method you can add an html file to be displayed to the visitor instead of classic 404 error pages. This way you can customize the html file to match your website’s design and even point the visitor to another page where they can find similar information.
Extra Tip: Funny 404 Error Messages and useful links are more likely to make the user stay on your website.