Adding a custom Not Found page

Over the last month or so we’ve been busy adding a fresh batch of features to datAvenger lite. While a lot of these are system-level stability and reliability tweaks, there are plenty of opportunities to try out some of the newest updates yourself. We’ll be walking through many of these over the coming days and weeks.

Visitors can reach your site in a number of different ways: search engines, links from other sites, ads, and more. The best case scenario, of course, is that people will always find the page they need right away. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. There are a handful of bumps in the road that may keep your visitors from heading to the right page:

  • The owner of another site misspells a link to a page on your site
  • A visitor might try to reach a page you’ve deleted via a bookmark or an old advertisement
  • You might delete a page and forget to change links to that page around your site (whoops!)

The solution to this is something we in the Web biz call a 404 page: a page that appears whenever a user tries to reach a location on your site that can’t be found. datAvenger lite will automatically display a page for you in these cases. You’ll see the following where you’d normally see the content for a page:

The default text that shows when a visitor can't find a page

That’s all most site owners will need, really. The visitor can click on the home page link to head to your home page and find the page there. If you want more control over this message, you can now edit this page by using the special 404 content area under the Content tab. Just click on the following icon in your content list:

The 404 icon in datAvenger lite

You’ll then be able to change the special Not Found page just as you would any other page on your site. You can put anything you like in this page. Some of our favorite Not Found pages include links to popular pages on the site, a message explaining what may have happened, or even a list of the main pages of the site that would act like a site map. Want some inspiration? Check these out:

Be creative! The best Not Found pages will encourage visitors to explore your site and find what they need.