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      The Beginner’s Guide to WordPress 404 Error Pages


      The content you post on your website — whether part of a page or post — is usually permanent. However, if an issue arises (either technical or otherwise), an item of content may not display. Instead, it triggers a 404 error, which isn’t good news for your website or its users.

      In a nutshell, a 404 error signifies that a web page is not found. However, unlike other errors, they’re usually displayed on dedicated pages. With a customized and optimized 404 error page, you can get visitors back on the right track.

      What is a 404 Error?

      Airbnb 404 error page example

      As we discussed, a 404 error is a response code indicating that although a user was able to connect to a website’s server, the page can’t be found. This occurs for a number of reasons, such as:

      • A page or post has been moved or deleted.
      • The server is having trouble loading the page.
      • The URL that leads to the page is incorrect.
      • The post or page never existed in the first place.

      Naturally, a 404 error can significantly reduce your website’s traffic. As such, it’s crucial that you find and fix these errors on your website fast. First, however, let’s look at what 404 error pages are used for.

      An Introduction to 404 Error Pages

      A 404 error page alerts visitors to a missing page or incorrect URL. Many websites use the default page provided by their theme, but 404 error pages can also be customized to improve User Experience (UX).

      Most commonly, an error page will note the issue and provide alternative options for the user to choose from: for example, a Return to the Home Page link, related content, or a Search box.

      A good 404 error page should contain a few essential elements. These include a link or navigation menu, an on-brand apology or explanation, and a Search box.

      For example, Cloud Sigma opted for a quirky explanation and an easy-to-find Back to Homepage button. This helps to lessen the frustration while also enabling the user to return to the main site with minimal interruption:

      404 error page example

      Repair Pal presents another good example of a well-implemented 404 error page. They opted to stick with their default theme — keeping the navigation menu intact — while also providing users with a way to interact immediately with the page.

      For example, visitors can choose to Get an Estimate or Troubleshoot Your Car:

      404 error page example

      As you can see, creating a functional page is a useful way of mitigating the effects of a 404 error. It can also ensure that your website has an air of professionalism, despite an error being present.

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      How to Find and Fix 404 Errors on Your WordPress Website

      While 404 errors are bound to happen on occasion, frequent occurrences can mean more serious problems are present. For example, there could be issues with your website’s server or with incorrectly set permalinks.

      Fortunately, it’s possible to find these errors within WordPress. What’s more, once the issues are resolved, you can apply what you’ve learned to avoid the problem occurring in the future.

      How to Create a 404 Errors Report in GA4

      Google Analytics is great for rooting out 404 errors. Within the dashboard, go to Explore and choose Blank:

      Google Analytics 4 404 error report

      Name your report “404 Report” and click on the + sign next to Dimensions:

      Google Analytics 4 404 error report

      Select Page title and Page path + query string from the available dimensions and click on Import. Next, click on the + sign next to Metrics to find and import Sessions:

      Google Analytics 4 404 error report

      You’ll now need to drag your Dimensions under Rows and Metrics under Values:

      Google Analytics 4 404 error report

      Next, drag Page title under Filter. Then, choose contains from the dropdown menu and type “Page not found” into the Enter expression box:

      Google Analytics 4 404 error report

      Hit Apply, and you’ll see a report of all the 404 errors on your website. Regardless of whether there’s a wider problem on your site, WordPress makes this easy to fix.

      How to Deal With 404 Errors On Your Website

      Even if you do your best to avoid them, 404 errors are bound to happen from time to time. However, there are ways to minimize their disruption. Let’s take a look at two now.

      1. Create a Dedicated 404 Error Page

      404 error page example

      WordPress is flexible enough to let you edit practically all of your 404 error page’s elements. To create a custom 404 error page for your site, you have two options — manually or using plugins.

      Many themes include a 404.php template file by default. If this is the case for your theme, you can locate the file yourself and edit the message that’s currently in place.

      Before you do that, however, it’s a good idea to create a child theme to work with. That way, you won’t be making permanent changes to the parent theme.

      After creating a child theme, go to Appearance > Editor within WordPress and open 404.php in the file list to the right of the editor:

      WordPress 404 error page template file

      From here, look for the <div class=”page content”> line, and simply edit the message to your own requirements (saving your changes once you’re done).

      Note that if you’re using a WordPress block theme, you can edit its 404 page by navigating to Appearance > Editor > Templates:

      WordPress template editor

      Simply click on 404, and you’ll be taken to an editing screen where you can build a custom 404 page using WordPress blocks and template parts:

      404 error page example

      If you don’t have a 404.php file in your current theme, you can create your own using the guidelines found in the WordPress Codex. However, you’ll need access to an FTP client such as FileZilla.

      Open FileZilla, and enter your website credentials to gain access to your file directory. Double-click your website’s root folder (sometimes called public_html), and navigate to wp-content > themes > [themename] > 404.php. We’re using Twenty Thirteen’s 404 template, but you’re welcome to browse to another theme with a similar template.

      Next, right-click the 404.php file and select View/Edit:

      edit 404.php file via FTP client

      The file will open in your text editor. Highlight the entire code within, and copy it. Now return to FileZilla and navigate back to the themes directory. Select your current website theme and right-click. Select Create new file from the drop-down, and name it “404.php”.

      Click OK, then right-click the new 404.php file. Select View/Edit from the drop-down and paste the code that you previously copied. Of course, you can edit the content to your own requirements. Once you save the file, you’re all set!

      create a 404 error php file

      Alternatively, you can use WordPress plugins such as 404page and Custom 404 Pro to achieve the same goal. Once installed, they enable you to replace your theme’s default 404 page or create one if your theme doesn’t have one included. These plugins will be ideal if you’re wary about tinkering with your WordPress core file structure.

      2. Set Up an Automatic Redirect to a More Useful Page

      No More 404 Errors WordPress plugin

      An alternative to a 404 error page is to just redirect the visitor. Simply put, a page redirect is a way to send traffic from one web page (such as a 404 error page) to another. This is a good choice for a number of reasons.

      For example, if you’ve changed the URL of an old page or post or deleted any old content, you can redirect visitors to the new page. The good news is that there are a plethora of redirect plugins available, including Redirection and Safe Redirect Manager.

      Set Up a 404 Error Page on Your WordPress Site Today

      404 errors require a quick and professional response in order to prevent your website’s traffic from being negatively affected. Fortunately, WordPress makes it easy to manage 404 errors and redirect visitors.

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      A Beginner’s Guide to the WordPress Front Page (Homepage)


      Your WordPress front page (also called the homepage) is the first thing most visitors will see when they land on your site. As such, it is vital for making a good first impression.

      While your front page will normally display your latest posts, you may want something more customized to help your most important content stand out. Fortunately, there are lots of options available on the WordPress platform.

      What is the WordPress Homepage (Front Page)?

      Your front page is the homepage of your WordPress site. By default, it displays your blog posts, starting with the most recent entries. WordPress enables you to set the number of posts displayed and even include teasers for other posts (depending on your theme’s options).

      Fortunately, WordPress enables you to select any page to use as your front page. This means that you can use either a static page or a customized page. The latter option is particularly interesting since it enables you to stand out from other sites that use the same theme.

      The benefits of a customized front page include the ability to:

      • Optimize your static content.
      • Better showcase what your site is about — its mission, distinguishing features, core values, etc.
      • Add multiple strong Calls to Action (CTA) that are highly visible.

      Customizing your WordPress front page enables you to fine-tune its look so that it meets your requirements. It can also give you an important edge over other websites with similar subject matter. Let’s take a look at a couple of ways to customize your front page in WordPress.

      3 Ways to Customize Your WordPress Homepage (Front Page)

      the WordPress posts page

      Before implementing any of these methods, it’s important to first back up your site. This will ensure that you can easily roll back changes you don’t like.

      1. Choose Whether to Display Posts or a Static Page

      To get started, go to your dashboard and select Settings > Reading. Here, you can choose whether your homepage displays your latest posts or static content:

      WordPress reading settings and homepage post settings

      If you run a blog, you may want to prioritize your recent posts. For this option, you can change the value in the Blog pages show at most field. This will set a maximum number of displayed posts.

      If you select a static page instead, you can decide which page to use:

      editing the homepage settings in WordPress reading settings

      You can also choose which alternative page will display your blog posts. Keep in mind that you’ll need to have these pages already created before you can select them.

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      2. Customize Your Static Front Page 

      After you set a specific page set as your static homepage, open that page in the Block Editor:

      Adding a new block in the WordPress editor

      To customize the page from scratch, you can insert new content blocks. Simply select the + icon and search for the feature you need.

      WordPress has a variety of blocks to choose from. You can insert standard options such as paragraphs, images, lists, tables, and buttons. Additionally, you’ll be able to use theme blocks:

      adding a new block to a custom homepage template in WordPress

      To save time, you can also use pre-designed Block Patterns. You can find layouts for your headers, footers, featured posts, photo galleries, and much more:

      the WordPress block editor

      After adding all the elements you need on your static front page, you can publish it! Alternatively, you can save it as a draft to continue editing later.

      3. Create a Custom WordPress Page Template

      Twenty Fourteen, a WordPress classic theme

      You can also customize your front page in WordPress by creating a custom page template. First, you’ll need to make sure you have a block theme activated on your website. This will support Full Site Editing.

      To find a block theme, open your dashboard and go to Appearance > Themes > Add New. Then, click on Feature Filter and select the Full Site Editing option:

      enabling full site editing in WordPress

      After you apply the filter, install and activate a block theme that best suits your needs. For this tutorial, we’ll be using the default Twenty Twenty-Two theme:

      WordPress themes

      Most block themes will automatically generate some default page templates for your website. To view these, go to Appearance > Editor. In this Site Editor, click on the WordPress icon and select Templates:

      editing templates in the WordPress site editor

      Here, you’ll see a list of pre-designed page templates that come with your theme. In many cases, you’ll have a Home template. You can select this to open a preview in the Site Editor:

      editing a WordPress page template

      By clicking on the + button, you can insert new blocks into the template. You can add standard text and media blocks, widgets, design elements, and theme blocks. However, keep in mind that this will affect all pages that use this template:

      browsing available text blocks in the WordPress block editor

      If you don’t already have a Home page template, you can easily create one. First, open a new post or page. In the page settings on the right, find the Template section:

      selecting a page template in WordPress

      Next, select New. In the pop-up window, name the template and click on Create:

      create a custom page template in WordPress

      This will automatically open the Template Editor. You can now build your custom template using blocks, patterns, and even template parts:

      WordPress block patterns

      After you’ve made your changes, hit Publish. If you want to assign your homepage to this template, open the Block Editor for the page:

      selecting a custom homepage template in WordPress

      You should see your new template in the Template drop-down menu. Select it, and when you publish (or update) the page, your custom template will be applied.

      There’s No Place Like Your Homepage

      Adding a custom homepage to your WordPress website has numerous benefits, including greater visual appeal and the ability to convey relevant information to visitors right away. Fortunately, WordPress is flexible enough to enable you to customize your front page in almost any way you need.

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      A Beginner’s Guide to WordPress Pages


      As one of the building blocks of any website, pages are an integral part of WordPress. The platform enables you to quickly add static pages that can act as part of the site’s overall architecture. If you’re new to WordPress, however, you may be unsure how pages work.

      A WordPress page differs from a post in many ways. For instance, it can display any content you want, not just articles. Additionally, pages are designed for more permanent content, while posts are typically organized by dates and categories.

      An Introduction to WordPress Pages

      Every website requires at least one page to be visible to the public, but WordPress enables you to create as many pages as you need. Pages are distinct from posts in three main ways:

      • Pages are designed for static content. This means they’re for content that rarely changes over time, like About Us and Contact Us sections.
      • By default, pages do not allow comments. Pages are a place to share information rather than encourage social engagement.
      • You can use a page to hold and display posts. While you can display posts on a page, you can’t do the opposite.

      Understanding the difference between pages and posts in WordPress is just the beginning, of course. Let’s dive a little deeper and discuss how to manage pages.

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      How to Manage WordPress Pages

      WordPress makes it easy to manage your web pages. Out of the box, the platform comes with all the tools you need to create, edit, organize, and remove any pages on your site. Let’s address these tasks one by one.

      Adding and Editing Pages in WordPress

      Your first step is learning how to create pages and edit them. To get started, go to your WordPress admin dashboard. From the left menu, select Pages and then click on Add New:

      add a new WordPress page

      From here, you can start creating your page. Just add whatever content you’d like by inserting blocks. For instance, you can type text into a paragraph block or add photos with an image block:

      create a new WordPress page

      You can even use the pre-designed Block Patterns to automatically create a new layout. Once you’ve made your changes, you can publish the page or save it as a draft to continue working on it later.

      Organizing Your WordPress Pages

      When you add a new page to WordPress, it becomes a part of your navigation. Depending on your default installation settings, WordPress will either arrange your pages by date published or in alphabetical order. If you want to change this, you will need to use a hierarchy to organize them.

      First, click on Pages within WordPress:

      view all WordPress pages

      Here, you will see a list of all of the pages you’ve created so far. Hover over any page you want and click on Quick Edit:

      quick edit a WordPress page

      Then, find the drop-down menu for Parent. If you want to make this page a subpage or child of one of your other pages, you can do that here.

      Otherwise, you can simply use the Order box to determine how your pages will appear in your website menu. If you leave the number at 0, for example, the selected page will be the first one in the hierarchy. If all pages are set at 0, they will be organized alphabetically.

      Once you click on Update, all your settings will be saved. You’ll want to do this for each page on your site. If you add new pages later, you can follow the same steps to organize them within your existing hierarchy.

      Removing a WordPress Page

      Deleting a page is a very straightforward process. To do this, go to the Pages screen of your dashboard. Hover over the page you want to delete, and you’ll see the word Trash in red lettering:

      edit existing WordPress pages

      Once you click on that button, the page will be moved to your trash bin. If you need to delete multiple pages, you can select the checkbox to the left of each one. Then, go to the Bulk Actions menu just above the list of pages, and select Move to Trash.

      Deleted pages can be restored by clicking on the Trash link above the page listing. Hover over the page you want and select Restore. If you’d like to remove the page for good, click on the red Delete Permanently link.

      Create Your First WordPress Page

      WordPress enables you to quickly add, edit, and organize pages on your website. These pages are primarily used for static content and can be organized hierarchically as part of your site’s overall architecture.

      To get started, you’ll need to add a new page and customize it with blocks. For example, you might add text, images, buttons, and more. When you’re ready, you can publish the page or save it as a draft.

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