How to Fix 404 Errors
Setting up a blog can be really trick. When you first start blogging, you may add lots of categories and tags and other things. But somewhere down the line, all of that may change – or you may change your mind. When that happens, you'll want to make edits to your site by deleting some existing pages and tags and other bits.
Only, deleting something on a blog may also mean running into a few issues. The number one issue being: 404 errors. The more 404 errors you have on a blog, the more your blog visitors are likely to bounce off of your blog – and bouncing is only good for rubber castles filled with plastic balls. So, how do you fix 404 errors?
Ways to Fix 404 Errors
I'm going to assume that you're using WordPress here (why wouldn't you be?). That's great news because WordPress makes fixing any 404 messes rather simple.
1. Use a plugin! There are so many redirect plugins available for WordPress that I can't list them all here. But, install one of those plugins, and your life will be a lot simpler.
2. Manually clean up this mess – no, wait, that's not a recommended strategy! Never mind this one! Use a plugin!
Why 404 Errors Happen
So, now that we've established that you'll have to use a plugin to fix that problem, let's talk about why 404 errors happen. As I mentioned above, these errors pop up when you delete a part of your blog. Why?
Because you've deleted a tag or a post, but you haven't actually gotten rid of that thing completely. But, wait, you did – you deleted it and that means it's gone, right? Not according to your website! You've gotten rid of the print, but the page is still there.
That page can't link to anything because whatever you've linked it to is now gone. You will now have to redirect that page to go somewhere else. When you use that plugin that you installed, you'll have to tell the page to go to another page – any other page, it's up to you. Just plug in the URL of the new page in the right spots in that plugin, and the page will redirect to a new page.
I know it sounds complex, but redirecting pages when using a plugin is really quite simple. Think of it this way: your deleted page is now lost and you have to tell it where to go. See? That's not complicated, right? I didn't think so!
If you aren't sure how many 404 errors you have on your blog, currently, install a 404 error detector – yes, there's a plugin for that too! Once you run a scan, you can see all of the errors that you'll have to fix with that redirect tool. You see, when you work with WordPress, it's not hard at all to fix your own site problems – and you don't even have to be an engineer to do it!
Got 404 error questions? Just ask!