How to Create a Useful 404 Error Page with Headway

An error page is always something that receives careful attention in a great web design – and is often overlooked by beginning designers or those new to WordPress or  Headway. Some even think – why bother? Hopefully no one will see it!

Those who do see this page, however, are likely to just move off your site in favor of a different resource. Is that what you want? No! You want to draw your visitor into your site to see if there is something else of interest.

Here are a few ideas to help make your 404 Error Page more interesting:

Use a Fun Graphic

Don’t just use text – use a graphic! A baby making an “uh oh face” or a graphic that matches your overall design theme,  whatever. A graphic will be more eye-catching than boring “Sorry! Broken Link!” text and catch their attention for a split second longer.

Add A Prominent Search Bar

Make sure that you add a search bar to this page! If they got a bad link, they could still try searching for whatever resource they hoped to find, and maybe even find something else of interest on your site.

Add a List of Most Popular Articles

If you are running a blog on your site, add a list of most popular articles in the sidebar or below your “Sorry! Broken Link!” message – even a few links to other places on your site may help draw them in to see what others are reading. If you run a static website consider linking to your services, contact page, or anything else that may help your visitor find their way.

Use a Clever Message

“Whoops! 404 Error” is great and all, but this message could be a lot better. Add some text (by editing the Page in WordPress entitled Whoops! 404 Error) apologizing for the inconvenience and consider providing the visitor with a way to report the broken link as well.  Try using a clever narrative, anything other than another boring “Not Found” message!

Spread the word!

5 Responses

  1. Hi, lots of great information here in the blog but what appears to be missing for me, a newbie to Headway is the ‘HOW’. I see lots of great posts selling the flexibility of this theme but very little that explains to someone new how it is actually done within the theme.


    • I agree with Trish. This is more of a ‘What’ to include, definitely not a ‘How’

      Dropping the ‘How’ links in the comments kind of points out this blog articles deficiency, but to take it a step further (not to be snarky but because the answers are lacking and people need better help than this from a premium theme)

      The documentation link below doesn’t actually have a link for generating a list of Most Popular Articles for example.

      Great tip to include, would help if you actually offered up the How to.

      similarly, I’m finding headway (as opposed to competitor products I won’t mention here) to be a bit of a pain when it comes to using the other templates, especially archives, which sometimes could be used to generate a sitemap, but that doesn’t seem to actually work with this theme. 🙁

      Unless, I’m missing another how to.

  2. If I use (or copy/paste) my newly created html sitemap page as my 404 page would the links work to the pages listed in the sitemap? although I’m not sure they are links…

    Thanks for all the great help

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