Customize your error page

Bored of the same old error page popping up when someone searches through your blog? Don’t like that 404 message? The error page is pretty functional itself, you just need to customize it to make it more presentable and then some. I have to stress that this is only for those blogs whose codes can be edited, like the WordPress installation on hosted accounts.

The error page shows up when there are posts in your blog that you could have deleted beforehand. Another reason is that you could have changed the permalink structure without using proper redirection. Readers might also type a wrong URL when inputting it in the address bar of the browser, or not typing the correct URL when linking something from your website.

One simple alternative to an error page is simply by including a redirection script that would bring your users to, let’s say the most popular post of your blog, or the index page. This might seem rude, because you’re not giving a solution to what the user might be searching for and misleading them by redirecting them to a page they don’t want to see.

Aside from the usual error message, you could add different stuff to your error page so as to add more functionality to it. Revise the error message into something that’s a bit amusing (although some people might want to retain that 404 so as to let their readers know that they’re on an error page). Add the search bar, so the user could enter another search key. Include your ads in the page to gain more in your earnings. Put a “Top Posts” like “Most commented posts” or “Most viewed posts”, and maybe this would catch the interest of your readers. You could also add a sitemap to help your readers more with their search.

Originally posted on June 23, 2007 @ 6:12 pm