404 Errors – How to Make More Out of Them

404 Errors – How to Make More Out of Them

You’re 1 Plugin Away From Making the Most Out of 404 Errors

NOTE: This post is for WordPress users (however, it applies to all websites).

If you check your Google Webmaster Tools (rebranded as Google Search Console) regularly, you may notice a few crawl errors every so often (go to Crawl >> Crawl Errors). The “Not Found” errors are important because they create negative customer experiences. Some believe they can affect your ranking on the search engines as well. The point is 404 errors or Page Not Found errors happen. While all websites produce a default 404 Error page – you can do so much better! The use of creative 404 pages has to be one of the easiest WordPress tips to execute, and it can have decent ROI.

The default 404 error pages are plain. Typically, the default pages only result in frustration for the accidental visitor. These people made it to you for a reason. This is an opportunity. You should at least give them a bit of a chuckle (if you know me, you probably know I’m addicted to Yoga)  and attempt to guide them toward a page or post that will help them. This can be done dynamically with WordPress widgets for recent posts, pages and categories. Here is our 404 Error page:

404 Error and WordPress

We also use an exit pop to tempt them with our secret formula for marketing success (you’ll see the same thing if you move your cursor toward the address bar in your browser on this page). Another approach would be to provide a links to your product or service categories. What’s important is that you try to capitalize on their mishap! We work so hard to get traffic, this is bonus traffic if you set it up right.

What’s the Name of the #)%& 404 Error Plugin?

We use the “Custom 404 Pro” plugin to get it done. It allows you to create a 404 error page out of any WordPress page or post. Then, it works like a redirect to present that page to the wayward visitor. Now you can monitor how many visitors visit other pages from your 404 not found page using Google Analytics.

Other Recent WordPress Tips:

 

Let me know if you have issues getting this done – as always you can reach out to me at jdixon@aidantaylor.com. The SEO keyword for this post is: 404 Error.

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Creative Commons License
Making the Most Out of 404 Errors by John-Scott Dixon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

About the Author:

He has over 20 years of experience managing and leading the Ecommerce efforts of small, medium and large companies. He has held sales, sales management, marketing, operations, IS/IT, legal and executive management positions in start-up to multi-billion dollar organizations. He has also served as an adjunct professor of Ecommerce for the MBA program of the University of Missouri (where he received an MBA concentrated in Direct Marketing in 1989). He led the Ecommerce initiative for Sprint PCS (PCS) and Sprint (FON) as Vice President of Ecommerce. He led the integrated marketing efforts for Insight (NSIT) as Senior Vice President of Marketing and Ecommerce. Today, he is the CEO and Founder of Aidan Taylor Marketing - a marketing agency for small businesses (between $1 million and $20 million in annual revenue).

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