July 24, 2017

Tools to Create a 404 Page That’s Useful


Once you know what a custom 404 page is and why you need one, it’s time to add one to your website.

There are a number of approaches and tools to create a 404 page. Let’s take a closer look at the most common approaches.

Tools to Create a 404 Page — Build it Yourself

If you’re handy at creating Web pages, you can build your own custom 404 page. This approach is by far the most direct way to assure you get the exact useful 404 page you want. It’s also inexpensive, though it will take some of your own time.

If you don’t know how to build your own Web pages and would like to learn, click here to discover places you can learn to code for free.

Tools to Create a 404 Page — Hire Someone to Build it For You

If you do want to control what your custom 404 page will look like but don’t know, or want to learn, how to build one yourself, then the next best approach is to hire a freelancer to build it for you.

The cost for this type of project can vary widely depending on whom you hire and how sophisticated you want your useful 404 page to be. Click here to start your search on one of these freelance sites to explore for assistance.

Tools to Create a 404 Page — WordPress Plugins

As with most website-related functionality, there are a number of easy-to-install WordPress plugins available for creating a 404 page. Here are some top options:

Forty Four

While the Forty Four plugin does not provide a way to build a completely custom 404 page (it has its own template), it does track all 404 errors and enables you to create a redirect for each. This way, future visitors arrive at a destination of your choosing as opposed to the 404 page:

create a 404 page tools

Custom 404 Pro

As you can see in the image below, the Custom 404 Pro plugin provides an easy-to-use yet powerful way for you to forward all 404 errors to a WordPress page of your choosing. While you still need to build that page, it can all be done within WordPress.

create a 404 page tools

Other WordPress Plugins for Custom 404 Pages

The following WordPress plugins are similar to Custom 404 Pro. Check them all out and select the one that fits your needs best:



  • 404page
  • Genesis 404 Page — if your site runs on Genesis, then you should check out this integrated plugin.
  • 404 Page — while the free version of this plugin operates like the three above, the pro version enables you to create a truly useful 404 page that can convert a visitor into a lead by capturing their email address. This segues nicely into:

Tools to Create a 404 Page — Landing Page Solutions

In the previous discussion on what a custom 404 page is and why you need one, it was noted that one of the best ways to create a truly useful 404 page was to use a landing page:

create a 404 page tools

A custom 404 landing page helps convert your website visitors into leads and that’s a great return on the money and effort you spent to get them to your site in the first place.

There are many tools available for creating landing pages, but only a few of them provide a way to turn one of those landing pages into your websites’ custom 404 page. This approach typically, though not always, includes the use of a WordPress plugin.

Unbounce

Unbounce is the only solution in this section that does not require WordPress to designate one of your landing pages as a useful landing page.

LeadPages

Via their WordPress plugin, LeadPages enables you to easily designate one of your landing pages as your 404 page:

create a 404 page tools

Instapage

Instapage also offers a WordPress plugin that enables you to designate one of your landing pages as a 404 page.

ClickFunnels

ClickFunnels too offers a WordPress plugin. And like Instapage, it enables you to designate one of your landing pages as a 404 page.

Tools to Create a 404 Page — Website Building Solutions

If you’d rather build your website using a solution other than WordPress, here are two builder tools that provide a way to create a custom and useful 404 page for your website:

  • Weeblyclick here to discover how to create a custom 404 page for your Weebly site.
  • Squarespaceclick here to discover how to create a custom 404 page for your Squarespace site.

Tools to Create a 404 Page — Giving Back

Finally, if you’re based in Europe and want to help find missing children, NotFound.org turns your 404 page into the back of a milk carton:

create a 404 page tools

Conclusion

While there are many good reasons to create and use a custom 404 page, the challenge is in creating one.

Using one of the tools on the list above should enable you to create a 404 page that enhances your brand, supports search engines, builds goodwill and converts lost website visitors into qualified leads.

404 Image via Shutterstock

2 Comments ▼
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Matt Mansfield


Matt Mansfield Matt Mansfield is the Tech Editor at Small Business Trends where he is responsible for directing and writing many of the site’s product reviews, technology how-to’s and lists of small business resources.

2 Reactions

  1. Aira Bongco

    Many business owners and website owners ignore their 404 page. They think that it is just another page in their site. But you really can make the most out of it if you know how.

  2. Martin Lindeskog

    Interesting variations of the error page!

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