Not satisfied with those “ho hum” 404 pages that either came standard with your WordPress theme or are just half-way stylized to your website? It’s a proven fact that people click off of your 404 page and your website entirely once they realize that a link is broken or the information they are looking for doesn’t exist. It may be unintentional, but you are actually helping your bounce rate increase (yikes!) by not working to customize your 404 page.
Take a look at my customized 404 page. I used this same method described below.
Here are step-by-step instructions to customize your 404 Page:
Download and activate the free, 404page plugin. This plugin is lightweight and won’t drag your server down. It’s also very easy to install and customize.
Create a page through your “pages” area on your dashboard. Title it whatever you would like – this is your 404 Page! Depending on your theme, the title of your page may show on the actual page itself, so keep this in mind.
Set up your page in whatever manner you like. If you would like to include your logo, some kitschy wording, offer a free gift in exchange for a newsletter signup, link back to popular posts or even place a search feature widget on the page, go for it! The more relevant you can make this page to disappointed readers who clicked onto this page in error, the more likely they are to stay on your site. In the online world of keeping people on your site, this is what you want!
Go back to the “Installed Plugins” section of the backend of your WordPress website.
Find the 404page Plugin in the list and navigate to the “Settings” tab.
Choose the appropriate page, save your changes and your new custom 404 page is all set!