Learn How To Create An Informative 404 Error Page

Learn How To Create An Informative 404 Error Page

What do your readers see when they stumble upon a broken link? You can now create a custom 404 error page that will share the fun side of your brand and help readers find the information they need.  Let's get started!

Creating a 404 Error Page

First, you need to create your 404 error page. Click on the Blogs tab, then the name of the blog. Click on Posts tab, then Pages. Click on New Page to create your 404 error page. 

PRO TIP: We recommend you keep the title simple, like "404 Error" or "Sorry, wrong page". You can also edit the post URL to reflect the type of page it is. Click on Edit next to Permalink and update the URL. Keep it short by changing it to "404-error" or "404-error-page",

After you have the perfect 404 page published, click on the Settings tab, then Custom 404. Select the page title from the drop-down menu and click on Save Changes.  

BBQ Queen 404 Error page

If you no longer want a page to show as the error page, you can remove it. From the Custom 404 tab, select Remove Custom 404, then click on Save Changes.  

Now that you know how to create a 404 error page, let's go over what should go in your error message. We have complied a list of best practices to help you get started. 

Best Practices

 

Branding

When writing an error message or creating an image for your 404 page, keep in mind your brand's look and feel. Write in the same tone you write your blog posts and keep the images similar to ones you have on your blog. 

 

Clear Message

You want to make sure readers can clearly see they arrived at an error page but are on the correct website. Create a short message letting your readers know the URL they went to is not correct. Too much information can be distracting.

 

Entertaining Message

Your 404 page is a great place to use a little humor to engage readers. Add a funny or unique image to show the funnier side of your brand and rally your readers to keep searching your website. There is a thin line when using humor; make sure to not pack in to many jokes.  

 

Call To Action

Now that your reader is on the page, let them know what you want them to do. They can search your site for specific content or contact you with information on where they see the broken URL.

 

Search Your Site

When readers come to an error page, a search bar will encourage readers to stay on your site and find the information they need. You can add a Google Programmable Search Engine on your error page that will search just your website for posts and pages. It's easy to add the code from Google by using the Source Code button (looks like < >) on the Compose page. Keep in mind that you won't see the search box on the Compose page, you will need to preview or publish the page to see the search box. 

 

Contact Information

It's a good idea to know where readers are seeing this broken link. Have an easy way for readers to contact you and provide information on where they came from. Ask the reader to include all the information you believe you will need to investigate and correct the broken link. If you are being linked back to from another blogger, reach out to them with the correct link.

Now, you have everything you need to create a 404 page that will help keep your reader and direct them to the correct information. After you create your 404 page, share it with us. We would love to see what you create.


How To Get Your Custom Domain To Work Without The WWW

No WWW Domain
You're excited for your new blog and its new, custom domain name! You tell all your friends that they can check it out at "myblog.com" only when they do the browser says it's not found.  Why? It works if you type "www.myblog.com". Why is that www even necessary?  The "www" part of your domain name is called the subdomain.  The subdomain is critical when setting up Domain Mapping with your Typepad blog.  In your domain registry, the CNAME Record is set for the WWW alias, and is where we recommend adding your Typepad domain name (ie: example.typepad.com) so your domain name points to your blog. 

"But Many Websites Work Without Typing WWW, Why Can't Mine?"

It can! There are browsers that will allow readers to enter your domain name without the "www" and your blog will load.  This is because those browsers are set up to automatically redirect example.com to www.example.com.  Not all browsers do this, such as Google Chrome.   If you want to be sure your readers can get to your blog on any browser by just typing "example.com" without the "www", you will need to set up a Forward within your domain name registry account.  Below are ways you can do this if you purchased your domain name through Typepad or got it through third-party, like GoDaddy.

Set Up A Forward Through Typepad

When you purchase your name through Typepad, it's easy to set up a forward for your domain name.  All you need to do is check off the box at Account > Domain Mapping when you are setting up your new blog name:

Forward_domain

Set Up A Forward Through A Third-Party

If you purchased a name from a third-party, you will need to refer to their instructions for Forwarding.  Not all registries provide this service so check with them first.   If they do, what you are doing is forwarding example.com to www.example.com - NOT to your Typepad blog URL.  Here is an example from GoDaddy's Forward feature: 

Godaddy_fwd

If you use GoDaddy, we have instructions on how to set up a forward for your name in our Knowledge Base.

If you can't locate the Forward settings on their own, it may be located in the DNS Management section.  Forwards can take a few hours before it starts working, sometimes it takes longer than the mapping itself!  

If you have Domain Mapping set up for your blog, now would be a good time to check if it works without typing "www."


Help! My Readers Get A Security Warning On my Secure Blog!


SSL Not Secure Blog(1)

Every blog on Typepad has an SSL certificate included upon setup, even if you are utilizing Domain Mapping, you do not need to buy an additional SSL certificate through a third-party in order for your blog to load securely.

However, just because the certificate is included, does not mean that all of your content is loading securely.  Visitors may still encounter a security warning when visiting your blog.  There is no need to panic.  There are a number of reasons why your blog may still be loading with a broken padlock showing in your browser. The culprit is usually just as simple as updating the prefix of your URL from http to https.

Third Party Widgets

When was the last time you checked your sidebar for outdated or broken links and images?  Links to a non-secure third-party can trigger a security warning.  If you go to that third-party's website, you may find an updated code to add to your blog which will load securely.

Update Image URL

Most Typepad URLs automatically redirect from the http version to the https equivalent link.  Image URLs that get uploaded directly into a blog post, page, or sidebar may not always work and the URL's need to manually be updated.  You did not lose your image - simply change the the image link from http to https.

Uploaded Files Need Updating

If you uploaded a file like a mp3, pdf, .doc prior to when the certificate is received, like images, the URL that was generated and shared may need to have the URL updated.

Custom Domain Name Settings

Domain Mapping is available for all Pro plans and your blog will remain secure when the new name is applied to it.  The domain name needs to be set up securely with the CNAME pointing to your Typepad domain name (example.typepad.com).  If the CNAME is not set up correctly, it may display as not secure.  If you set up Domain Masking instead of Mapping, this will also disrupt the security certificate from working as expected.

A great, free, resources to use to find out what is causing the break is www.whynopadlock.com

If you have followed all of these steps and your blog is still displaying as not secure, you can reach out to the Typepad Support Team by opening a Help Ticket and we'll be happy to further assist you.