An important problem, often neglected, in the creation of a WordPress website is the management of the WordPress page 404. Occasionally it may happen that users, due to an incorrect typing of a URL or perhaps a broken link within your blog or website, try to access non-existent pages.
Designing customized WordPress 404 pages that guide the reader to real content, could greatly improve the navigation on the site ensuring the permanence of a user who otherwise would be lost. In this article, we will see the best WordPress plugins that allow you to make the necessary changes to page 404 or even make a redirect to a different article or page. But before you see what are the best WordPress plugins to handle the 404 error pages we must be sure that you have taken these steps for the WordPress 404 pages.
Make sure that page 404 can be indexed in search engines
Make sure your blog or website is configured to return 404 HTTP Status code messages when these pages are requested.
Do not provide vague messages on pages 404
… of the type “Not found”, “error” and the like.
Instead, enter a link that links to other pages of your site using a phrase like ” What you’re looking for is not here, try with … “.
An alternative could be to offer a search form that the reader can use to find the correct page.
Google, proving that these little tricks are important, offers the 404 widget tool that can be inserted into your WordPress website or blog to customize 404 pages.
Here are the best WordPress plugins for 404 pages
Redirection is a plugin that manages the so-called “301 redirects“, automatically identifies each 404 error page and cleans up the errors that your site may have, thus improving SEO on WordPress (see SEO tips and SEO strategies to avoid ). The redirection plugin is a particularly useful tool if you need to migrate pages from an old site to a new one, or if you’re changing your WordPress installation directory, or when you want to change the permalinks of already published articles and redirect them in a completely automatic way to the new updated link.
404Page is a really simple plugin that allows you to quickly and easily set up your 404 error page. You will be able to customize it like any other content of your WordPress site, and you will be able to insert the image and the general format that you prefer. You will use the same WordPress editor, and therefore the setting of your 404 page will be really intuitive and immediate.
How to change the WordPress 404 error page
WordPress themes usually have a 404.php file, however not all themes have their own custom template for the 404 error page. If they have it, it will be called
404.php. WordPress will automatically use that page if an Unavailable Page error occurs.
The normal 404.php file accompanying your theme will work, but will you say what you want it to say, and offer the kind of help you want it to offer? If the answer is no, then it will be your desire to customize the message in the template.
To edit the file with the 404 error template of your theme:
- Open the administration panel of your WordPress:
- Choose the “Appearance” menu.
- Select the “Editor” item.
- Check if your theme includes a “Template 404” in the file list.
- Click on the ‘Template 404’ link on the right side of the page.
- Edit the message by writing what you want to say.
- Save your changes.
When you are about to examine and edit your 404 template file, take a look at the simple file structure
404.php. Basically it has the tags that display the header, the sidebar and the footer, and also an area for your message:
<? php get_header (); ?> <div id = "content" class = "narrowcolumn"> <h2 class = "center"> Error 404 - Not Found </h2>
<? php get_sidebar (); ?> <? php get_footer (); ?>
Change the code by inserting these lines of code instead of the line “<h2 class =” center “> ERROR 404 – Not FOUND </h2>
<h2 class = “center”> OPS! What you are looking for is not; here! </h2>
Try to search on the site:
<form id = “searchform” method = “get” action = “http://www.yoursite.com/”>
<input type = “text” value = “Search the site ..” name = “s” id = “s” size = “15” class = “txt” />
<input type = “submit” class = “button” value = “GO” />
This is just an example, have fun customizing the 404 error pages of your WordPress.
In this article we have seen how to handle WordPress error 404 pages and which are the best plugins for WordPress 404 pages. If you have directions, suggestions or help, do it in the comments box.