How to create effective 404 error pages - Devhelper  

How to create effective 404 error pages

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Why Custom 404 Page?

When a page or a blog post on your website is missing, your visitors will see a 404 error page. When you're constantly adding new web pages and changing or eliminating redundant pages over the course of months or years, the search engines and other websites will eventually point to links on your website that aren't there. When a 404 error page is missing, the browser displays the standard "page not found" message, or some web servers redirect visitors to the home page.

Both of these options have drawbacks, but when a user's browser displays a page not found error, he or she may believe that the entire website is down or, worse, that the website has stopped working. The majority of your visitors will not bother to attempt your home page URL; they will simply depart. Crawlers from search engines will suffer the same fate. If they don't see the page they're trying to crawl, they may assume there's an issue with the website, and your rankings may suffer as a result.

How to create effective 404 error pages

Custom 404 page is also beneficial in ranking

Visitors may believe you have constructed doorway pages if they are silently sent to your home page whenever they click on a broken link. The search engines may have the same reaction, and your rankings may suffer as a result.

The best course of action is to construct a functional 404 error page. The 404 error code is generated by servers when they are unable to locate the page you are trying to access. You inform your server what page to go to if the visitor ends up on a non-existent page by establishing a 404 error page.

An effective 404 page not found error page explains what went wrong and suggests next steps, such as viewing related links or displaying a sitemap.

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