Not Found (Error) 404
The code 404 is an HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol) status error code that indicates that the server was unable to find the page that was requested. We have all seen a variation of this aggravating message come up on our screen when browsing the internet. You know, the one that says “page not found”? The one when we click on a link, but instead of getting the page we want, an error pops up. There are multiple causes for this error. It could be that:
- The page has been removed and no longer exists
- The page has been moved to another URL
- The URL was written incorrectly
- The connection was broken and the page had problems loading
How to Fix an Error 404 as a User
- Read the Suggestions: Most of the time, these pop up pages contain a list of things to try when your desired page isn’t showing up. This page may also list reasons why you are receiving the error.
- Make sure the URL is entered correctly: Make sure that there are no mistakes made in the URL address. You should check that forward slashes are in the right place, spelling mistakes, formatting, and that the URL is ending in the proper file extension.
- Simply reloading the page: One issue may be that the connection was lost. Clicking the refresh button in your browser will reload the page.
How 404 Affects Your Business
The 404 error code could potentially hurt your SEO and rankings. The occasional 404 code is a normal part of the internet, and can actually be considered useful. It is helpful getting a 404 and knowing that the page doesn’t exist, rather than not getting the 404 and getting left in the dust. However, when your site has too many broken links, and it sends out the 404 often, Google and other search engines deem it as a low maintained website. These types of websites tend to get pushed back in the search engine results pages, or may not get indexed at all.
Personalizing Your 404 Page
Personalizing your 404 page is a good way to get users to stick around. If you let users know in a clever way that website doesn’t exist, there is a good chance that the user won’t get angry and leave your page all together. Adding links to your 404 page, such as to your home page, is a good way to prevent them from leaving your site completely. Get creative when designing your 404 page, but make sure it relates to the style of your website.