Nobody wants to click on a link and find themselves staring at a 404. A 404 page appears when your site isn't communicating with the correct server and delivers an error page to your reader. It's a fast way to lose a follower. At RebelMouse, we've created a feature to give you back data on why 404s may be occurring on your site so they don't happen again.
RebelMouse's Lost and Found Dashboard has insights into what is creating the most 404s on your site. The information is accurate down to the last 15 minutes and can be bundled up to cover the last 24 hours. 404 pages hurt traffic for media companies and usually require communication between the editorial team and system administrators to sort out. Now, thanks to our dashboard, finding and solving error pages is in complete control of the editorial team.
How to View Your 404 Report Dashboard
Click the hamburger menu (☰) in your RebelMouse Dashboard and scroll down to the Lost and Found section. Here you'll find links to both your 404 Report and 404 Redirects.
The 404 Report is easy to use, and not only does it show 404 errors, but it also allows you to set up redirects so you can move traffic to the right page and not lose any readership.
The 404 Report Dashboard displays a list of 404 errors that your site visitors are experiencing. The dashboard can also be used to see where these visitors are coming from when they run into a 404 on your site. By simply clicking on a 404 in the dashboard, you'll be taken to a separate page that lists the source URL(s) leading to the 404.
To set up a redirect for a 404 page, click Add Redirection in the top-right corner of the 404 Dashboard:
You can also set up a redirect using the 404 Redirects Dashboard. Click the blue ⊕ symbol in the bottom-right corner of the page to enter the details on where you'd like your old URL to point to:
Note: This feature is intended to redirect posts only, and does not apply to tag or section pages.
Remember: A 404 Is Not Always a Bad Thing
If you have a live article and you're seeing a 404, you need to check if you should set a redirect for the page. From time to time, a post could get updated, or an outdated link could exist, leading to a 404. You can check for 404s and add redirects in the Lost and Found dashboard in the hamburger menu (☰).
However, it's important to remember that 404s aren't always a bad thing. For example, if an article has been unpublished, it should 404 because it doesn't exist anymore. If you unpublish an article, and it doesn't exist anywhere else, you're not missing anything with respect to SEO. Eventually, the article will drop out of the search engines' index and if it's republished, it will get re-indexed.
The open and social web is full of lost opportunities. Something as small as a typo can cause a 404 error on your site. RebelMouse is the only CMS in the world that gives you this type of power and control in your dashboard. Talk to your account manager for more information on using our 404 Report Dashboard. If you aren't publishing on RebelMouse, request a proposal today and let's start working together.