“page not found” a wasted opportunity

17 04 2010

From time to time when you’re doing a search you may land on a 404 page. You know – the “page not found”  error message that causes you to click the back button (or close a window). Sometimes it’s because a page has moved, been renamed or was just typed incorrectly.

What a Waste!

You can create a custom 404 page for your site. That way, if a customer lands on it, they can at least easily navigate to any other page on your site. If have not already created a custom 404 page it’s a wasted opportunity to keep customers from going elsewhere.

It’s Easy!

If you have a good host, and access to ftp then it’s only 2 simple steps to rescue customers from the pesky “page not found” black hole.

Step1. Create/Edit your .htaccess file
  • Open a note pad and type: (If you already have a .htaccess file then just add this line to it)

ErrorDocument 404 /notfound.html

  • Save the file as .htaccess to your computer
  • Upload to the server using ftp in the root directory
Step2. Create your custom 404 “page not found” page.
  • Create a new html page with your main page navigation, or a site map.
  • Let the searcher know the page they were looking for no longer exists.
  • Save the new html page as notfound.html
  • Upload it to your server using ftp in the root directory.
That’s it!

Now test it. Let’s say you were wanting to purchase one of our ring guards – and by mistake you type the url as viewithere.com/ringad (or went to a page that I moved or renamed).

Instead of a generic browser error page you now see  viewithere.com/ringad (you’ll have to click on the link to see what I mean). You’ll notice a line that says:

We’re sorry the page you were looking for was not found! It may be an old link – but you can visit any of the following pages 🙂

Now a customer can easily stay on our site to find what they were looking for.


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