Todays topic are error pages numbered 404. Looking at my own blog I have worked out a solution and embedded it into the theme of my site.
What’s that Page not found for a visitor? Let’s have a look: Someone clicks a link and gets to a webpage that does not exist. If the CMS does not handle this error, our user gets to a more or less beautiful errormessage which might not match the site layout. In other words, the user might feel kicked out of the system.
What now? Most users will be pissed and leave the page. Only a small number will notify the webmaster about the dead link incident as it is too much work- so the site has to handle that on its own, excluding crawlers and spiders from search engines.
To do that job I have set up a script that displays a button that has to be clicked to trigger the report. Comments are not needed, but appreciated. That way, our visitor gets the impression that you care about him without letting him do extra work. As he clicks the button, the script gathers some information for our report: Where did he came from, what did he want to see and what browser caused the error.
Using that information it is an easy job fixing your site. Dead links can be redirected to the new adress and internal link structures can be improved.