One factor which affects the usability of a website is the navigation, as the users do not want to get frustrated when errors occur. It is important to inform the users what is happening, in case an error occurs, so that the users are aware of the situation and they do not think that error is their own fault.
This is why it is a common practice is to create 404 pages (web page not found) to help the user to access the information they are looking for.
Some best practices for 404 pages include the following:
– 404 error page should be simple, providing only the necessary information. The user is looking for something else and, for whatever reason, the user cannot access that information. Therefore, the user should not be given unnecessary information.
– You should inform the user that an error has occurred and the reasons that may have occurred, without specifying that it is a type error 404.
– Offer alternatives, such as links to the related pages, the most visited pages or search field.
– Allowing quick access to the main page.
In order to be able to create custom 404 error page, you have to be able to access the files on your server. The most common situation is having a website hosted on Apache web servers, which enables creating files and adding them to the server.
You should start by creating .htaccess file, using a Notepad. Upload this file into the main directory of your website. You will also need notfound.html file. Here you can edit the page and customize the text you want to be shown in the message when the users click on the page that cannot be found. This file should also be uploaded to the main directory of the website.
You should test the page by entering the URL that does not exist into your browser.
Instead of creating 404 page manually, there are available plugins that can help create ready made error page, which can be customized according to your website.
In case you are using WordPress platform to host your blog, you can choose one of the plugins available in the WordPress Plugin Directory.
Create useful 404 pages
This Google guide will help you learn how to create useful 404 pages based on Google’s recommendations:
How To Fix Error 404 Page Not Found In WordPress
Watch this video to learn how to fix 404 page in WordPress: