A user encounters 404 page when he or she comes upon a nonexistent page on a site which can result due to mistyping of the URL, deletion of the page, or maybe due to clicking a broken link. A 404 page is a HTTP status code of 404 which is in response to an appeal for a nonexistent page. Upon failure to locate the page in demand the webserver gives a HTTP status code 404 suggesting non availability of the page in demand. Your ISP may decide the variation seen in standard 404 page but very frequently they do not let out any useful information regarding the non availability of the requested pages. In this scenario most users prefer to drift away from your site and look for alternative sites.
If you are to reach your server it is recommended that you build a custom 404page. A decent custom 404 page will let your user know about the recent changes in your website and provide necessary information they are looking for. Give out important and helpful contents so they feel drawn towards your site for further exploration.
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You can modify 404 page in order to meet your specific demands and requirements. Since the 404page is a standard HTML page it is open to customization and modification that will help your users find necessary updates they are seeking.
The following tips will help you create useful 404 page.
1- Inform your users that the page they are looking for cannot be found. Be friendly and inviting in your tone.
2- Ensure that the 404 page come across as same in terms of appearance and feel like your site.
3- Add links to some of the most well accepted articles or posts on your sites. Also consider adding links to your home page as well.
4- Come up with a way by which users can report broken link so that it can be fixed as quickly as possible.
5- Even though you have beautified and enhanced the utility of 404page by customization you still would not want a 404 page to appear in the first place. When a missing page is asked for, the Web server should in fact, return a standard 404 page (with HTTP status code). Try to prevent 404 page from getting indexed by Google or other search engines.
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6- Use of Enhanced 404 widget is recommended so as to insert a search box on the custom 404 page and inform users with necessary updates.
7- Inform the Google about the recent site’s relocation through the use of Change of Address tool.
Hope these useful tips will help you create 404 page for your site in a right way.