Ever searched for something on a blog and didn’t find it? It’s awful to see that 404 message and not have anywhere to go from there. Have you tested your blog’s 404 page? Try testing it out by trying to go to yourblog.com/testpage or some other page you know isn’t there. If you only see Not found go into your dashboard now and get to work. It only takes a few minutes to customize a 404 page and it might keep someone on your sight longer. You can include a number of things on your 404 page including categories and monthly archives, a listing of all your pages and an offer to subscribe to your feed. So rather than seeing “page not found” a visitor could now see something like ” the page you requested wasn’t found but feel free to browse the pages listed below for what you’re looking for”.
To customize your WordPress 404 page, log in to your dashboard and click on presentation. Click on Theme Editor and then click on the 404 Template link on your right. Find the message you just saw when you tested your 404 page and replace it with a customized message. You can even include the php code to show your categories, pages and archives. Click update and you’re finished. As always, go one step at a time and test, that way if there’s a problem you can undo your last step. And always backup your files.