Error 404 Pages and how to manage them
W.E.B.S Ltd
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Phoenix Aromas
Phoenix Aromas
16:23 12 May 22
Knowledgable team who created a custom theme for our WordPress website and built a custom product database for us to manage technical products. Easy to work with and efficient in their workflow. Would recommend.read more
Gary Hughes
Gary Hughes
15:21 21 Dec 21
Our company have used W.E.B.S Ltd for many years and found the quality of the work to be very good, we have recently had them develop an app for our engineering department and they have walked us through the app very professinally and been extremely responsive when we have required changes.read more
Star Eastern
Star Eastern
10:44 28 Mar 20
I have worked with Justin for long period.To work with him is very easy and he always provide you the GREAT services.Recommend him A+++++++++++++read more
Elliott Callahan
Elliott Callahan
15:02 27 Sep 19
Excellent service from a very knowledgeable provider. WEBS has helped me immensely with my business website, social media presence as well as a whole host of other areas. Could not recommend anyone else for your business. Always there to answer any issues you may have and is super helpful in advising you on the best methods to boost your business’ online appearance. 5 Stars!read more
Pete Brown
Pete Brown
09:17 14 Jun 19
I have had my current website for a number of years thinking it was okay but when Justin designed me a new one I couldn’t believe the difference.It is very unique and i have had lots of feedback from friends and customers as to the positive change.He is patient, adaptive to change and very skilled in his profession.I believe my business will benefit solely from this change in Website.I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.read more
Bill McElhinney
Bill McElhinney
15:13 20 Feb 19
Excellent service from WEBS. They built two websites for me in WordPress and ran a successful SEO campaign over a 12 month period. Justin is very tech savvy and manages all my domains, web hosting and DNS, plus I recently moved onto the G-Suite platform for business email. Overall, I would recommend this company as being efficient, reasonably priced and highly competent.read more
Hazel Bate
Hazel Bate
13:14 21 Dec 18
The website Justin wrote for me looks really impressive and I’m getting great positive feedback from others looking at it. I’m sure it will help my business with moving forward. Justin was very quick at doing any work requested, even when he had other commitments, with patient professionalism and efficiency. I thought his development costs were very fair too. His support of my old website was always reliable and good advice given. Thank you Justinread more
Roger Ellis
Roger Ellis
11:40 27 Sep 18
I have worked with Justin and WEBS Limited for more years than I care to remember. He designs all of my websites and is my top “guru” when any internet related issues arrive. I have found him thoroughly professional, incredibly knowledgeable, easy to work with – and his rates are very competitive. 100% recommended. The best in the game in my view.read more
Louise Lee
Louise Lee
10:25 21 Sep 18
In May 2016 I was not a client of WEBS but that didn’t prevent Justin from leaping into action with no notice at all. My website had been hacked and in no time at all Justin had created a temporary solution and gave sound, sensible advice as to how to deal with the hack. For me it was an anxiety ridden morning, for Justin, it’s just what he does, with ease, grace and expertise.Roll forward a few years and Justin is still expertly doing his stuff and whenever I make ridiculous requests, he suggests the correct solution. Justin is always working to make my site better, to encourage more visitors and he suggests practical ways to achieve this. He spent a lot of time helping and researching my SEO and suggesting blogs I could write. Justin gives me frequent updates on the website’s performance and is always at the end of a phone if I want to discuss anything. For all things webby, Justin is my trusted advisor and I always recommend him where possible.If ever you’ve worked with a web designer or SEO expert and you feel either bamboozled or as if it’s all smoke and mirrors, go to Justin because he expertly guides you through every part of the process and gives practical support and advice.read more
Lee Paul Heron
Lee Paul Heron
20:12 07 Sep 18
I’ve been a customer of W.E.B.S Ltd for over ten years now, and I have no intention of moving elsewhere. They have hosted multiple business websites, personal websites and email services for me over the years, with almost no issues, and better than 99.9% uptime. Excellent quality, fast, reliable servers, and quick expert support on hand whenever needed. I would have no hesitation in recommending Justin and the team. Thank you all, and best wishes for another ten years.read more
Darrin Bonfield
Darrin Bonfield
09:10 07 Sep 18
Justin at WEBS I have personally known for several years of which I then gave the task to build and design my Martial Arts website. This has turned out to be a viable asset to my business and has been built and maintained to a very high and professional standard.I can’t recommend Justin highly enough as his knowledge for web design, technical support and fault diagnosis is 2nd to none. If your looking at investment for your business with total confidence give Justin a call you won’t regret it!!DarrinNTKD Schools.read more
Patrick Marston
Patrick Marston
07:35 07 Sep 18
I’ve always found W.E.B.S Ltd to be highly skilled website designers, developers and marketing specialists that are incredibly helpful with any technical issues I’ve had, replying speedily with a solution. W.E.B.S Ltd also communicate relatively complex tasks into easy-to-understand terms that allows you to maintain your own website too, which is very useful. I can’t recommend these guys enough.read more
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What is a 404 Error?

When a user clicks a link, which points to a page or post which no longer exists, a 404 error will occur. It is an important aspect of website maintenance, to monitor and fix identified 404 errors regularly. This will avoid a negative user experience on your site and possibly reduced visibility in the search engines.

Checking for broken links (404)

All website owners should be running Google Analytics and Google Search Console (previously Webmaster Tools). Search Console tools and reports help you measure your site’s Search traffic and performance, fix issues and make your site shine in Google Search results.

Assuming, you have set up Google Search Console, login and click on the ‘Coverage’ page. This will highlight any broken links on your website. Once you know which pages are broken, you can set about fixing them.

Exporting data from Google Search Console

Using Google Search Console, it’s really handy to be able to bulk export, especially if you have several links to fix. This can happen if you have neglected to maintain your site, or have just released a new site and failed to redirect the old links.

Once you have the data downloaded, it’s easy to see and map old URL’s to new ones. This data can then be imported into various plugins (like Redirection Plugin for WordPress for example) which will then instantly start redirecting broken links to new pages.

Once the problem is fixed, you can tell Google Search Console the broken link has been fixed and it will update your website reports and hopefully give it a clean bill of health.

Manually fixing broken links

There are numerous plugins which can be used to monitor and fix broken links on your website. The redirection plugin for WordPress highlights all broken links and allows you to manually fix them one by one, or import a list of updated URL’s in bulk.

Basically, anyone visiting www.yourwebsite.com/oldpage will be redirected to whatever new page you define, e.g www.yourwebsite.com/newpage. Fixing this improves the user experience (UX) and tells the search engines, your website is healthy and operating normally.

Measuring 404 page activity

The redirections plugin for WordPress will not only allow you to fix links, but it will tell you how many times the link is accessed. It’s useful to know, as you can work out how much activity occurs on the old link and whether it’s worth your time digging deeper to fix the problem properly. Let me explain a bit more.

Fixing the source of the link

Let’s assume, I have a page on my site called www.mywebsite.com/website-factors-2018/ and I have linked to this on 10 separate pages within my website. In addition, there are numerous external links pointing to this page, from external websites which I do not manage.

If I rename my permalink / URL to be www.mywebsite.com/website-factors-2019/ the following must be considered:

  1. The original link website-factors-2018 will be broken, so a redirect to website-factors-2019 is needed
  2. Each of the 10 pages still have links to website-factors-2018 (which is why activity can still occur on the link)
  3. External websites link to website-factors-2018 which will redirect to website-factors-2019 but ideally, these links should be updated if possible

Monitoring activity, allows us to see how much traffic the original page continues to get. If it’s 0 over a few months, this is great however, in most cases, we see lots of traffic can come into the original page and users are redirected to the new one. If only 1 x redirect occurs, it isn’t such an issue, but if the page changes again, we can end up with too many redirects.

If next year, we change website-factors-2019 to website-factors-2020 and so on, you can see the issue.

  1. website-factors-2018 redirects to website-factors-2019
  2. website-factors-2019 redirects to website-factors-2020
  3. etc etc etc

Name permalinks well and avoid too many redirects

To fix the issue above, consider changing the year within the page name and keep it the same for future years. This will avoid you needing to make regular changes. Instead, use page headings, page text and meta content to inform users about dates.

Fix this by going back over the first page e.g website-factors-2018 and finding ALL pages which have a link to it. Change them! Replace any links with the new, well thought out permalink URL you have chosen.

NEW URL: website-factors *no date used, nice and generic, short and needs no regular change

Summary

This is just an example of how a broken link might occur and how multiple redirects can cause an issue. It is important to fix redirects but also keep an eye on how much traffic the original link gets, even if you have a redirect in place.

If you see lots of incoming traffic to the original URL, consider doing a search and replace on your internal content and update all links to use the correct version. This removes multiple redirects and means users are sent directly to the correct page, without one or more redirects. That is a much better situation, so do not rely on redirects to fix everything. They solve a problem temporarily, giving you time to fix all the links throughout your website. The ones you can’t access or get changed, use the redirection as a last resort.

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