Handling 404 Errors In WordPress

Do I Need SpringTrax If I Have WordPress?

As I've talked to people about SpringTrax, one common response I've heard is "I don't need SpringTrax because I have WordPress."

However, the truth is SpringTrax can benefit any website, including those that use WordPress.

A default 404 error page
The default WordPress 404 Error Page

What The WordPress Plugins Are Designed To Do

The 404 error plugins in WordPress are designed to help you handle the 404 error experience by customizing your website's 404 error pages.

For example, the 404 Silent Salesman plugin or the Genesis 404 plugin can help you create a better 404 error page. That enhanced 404 page will offer a visitor more than the standard WordPress error message.

These plugins (and others) help you include links and functionality that hopefully will keep people on your website after they encounter a 404 error.

What They WordPress Plugins Do Not Do

However, these 404 page plugins from WordPress only help you customize your 404 page. The 404 error plugins don't tell you if the enhanced 404 page actually works.

In other words, does that 404 page created by the WordPress plugin actually keep people on your website? Are people clicking on those product links or using the search form?

On average, most people who reach a 404 error page leave your site. If you have a good 404 page, you should have a lower exit rate. If you have a bad 404 error page, then you will have a higher exit rate.

Why You Need SpringTrax and A Custom 404

The only way to know if you have a good or bad 404 page is to measure what happens on your site's 404 page.

That is where SpringTrax helps.

Along with other numbers, SpringTrax helps you determine if people leave your site due to 404 errors. With this number, you will know if the enhancements you made to your site's 404 error page worked.

Did that search feature get people to search your website after they reached a 404 error? Did those top products you offered on the 404 page encourage visitors to continue browsing your website?

With the stats from SpringTrax, you can customize your 404 page even more to continue lowering that exit rate.

One Word Of Caution

If you do customize your site's 404 error page, you need to ensure that your site's error pages are setup correctly. Some of the WordPress 404 page plugins redirect your 404 page back to the home page (or redirect you somewhere else).

The redirect-404-setup confuses users and search engines by not making it clear that the user encountered a broken link. That drives more visitors away from a website's error pages than usual.

What We Recommend

WordPress is a great tool. If you use WordPress, take advantage of the available plugins to customize your site's 404 error pages.

After you have configured your website's 404 error page using a plugin, test your 404 error page in our 404 Snapshot tool. This will help make sure you have correctly configured your website's 404 error pages.

Then, sign up for a SpringTrax account to monitor your 404 page's performance to know how broken links impact your visitors.


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