Included in the story of every website is the antagonist, in this case the 404 error page. 404 pages are what occurs when a page cannot be displayed. This may be due to a broken link, improper coding, pages that have moved, etc. What the visitor often receives on most 404 error pages is a message like this:
Error 404 | Nothing found!
Sorry, but you are looking for something that is not here.
The user is forced to click the back button or other navigation to try and get out of this area. Most visitors will simply leave a website after landing on a 404 error page. A better end to the story, and one way to defeat this abstract villain, is to offer the user a search bar and additional menu navigation to help guide them on the way to what they are looking for. I wrote about adding a search bar to WordPress in a different post which will come in handy here.
404 error pages can be managed rather easily in WordPress. When logged in as an admin, simply go to Appearance > Editor and click on (usually) the top option 404 Template (404.php). Add in some text to help guide the user and the search bar, perhaps some additional navigation. Check out the 404 in action by simply typing in your domain with /anythingbutanactivelink to see how the site handles pages that do not exist.
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Here are 5 images that could work on 404 error pages: