Getting a 404 error on a website is not only frustrating for a user but also for a webmaster of a site. Of course you can make your 404 error pages funny but you still lose potential readers.
Many times visitors see the 404 errors the first time they visit your site. Showing them erroneous messages can definitely piss them off and send them on their way to another site.
On this website, I have made use of few things which;
- Let me track 404 error hits and URLs, including referrers.
- Let me fix the URLs by applying 301 permanent redirects to the proper page.
Continue reading if you are interested in the solutions I use to keep the 404 error hits to a minimum.
404 Error Tracking using Link patch
There are 100s of 404 error tracking plugins and services. My favorite and the one that I use on this site is Link patch.
Once you have added the code, Link patch will email you everytime your site hits a 404 error. You can then correct the URL or redirect it to another URL.
In addition to that, it also tells you from which referring page a 404 error was encountered. If that happens to be your own site, you can go in and edit your posts to rectify the problem.
This service is definitely pretty useful and a must use service for any webmaster. It does come at a cost of $10 per month for tracking 5 websites. However I must tell you that the service is worth the money you pay and will help convert 404 error hits into regular readers.
If you are not ready to start paying yet, you can try out the service for free for the first 30 days. Signup for Link patch.
Fixing/Redirecting Broken Links/404 Pages on Your Website
Using the above service you can easily track all the 404 error pages. But what about fixing them?
If you are a WordPress user you can easily fix broken URLs by using a plugin called redirection.
This plugin will help you set permanent redirects (301) from one URL to another. In addition to that, you can also use wildcards in the form of regular expressions (regex).
You don’t need to edit the .htaccess file to setup redirects. Redirection is definitely a must have plugin for WordPress.
That’s it. Using these tricks, you can not only track 404 error hits and fix them but it will also help you get more traffic and increase your regular readers.
Looking for more tips? Don’t forget to visit the Webmasters tips section.