What are 404 errors?
404 errors appear as a response to a missing page. When a user clicks on a broken link or a page that has been removed or when they try to access a non-existent page, they get a 404 error request. It also occurs when they have mistyped a URL or because of a java script issue. A 404 -which is a HTTP error code- is sent back as a response to a particular incident by web servers to indicate that page is either broken or not found. 404 pages vary from each other and it depends on your internet service provider or ISP. However 404 error is considered as one of the most frequent errors over the web.
The first digit of the 404 code stands for a client error like having typed a wrong Uniform Resource Locator which is known as URL. And rest of the code indicates the error encountered. There is a risk of loosing your website users, because 404 pages do not provide any useful content. This is why you have to handle 404s.
Fixing 404 errors
By discovering and fixing certain errors you can avoid 404 errors. First of all you have to discover the source of 404 errors. This can be done by using crawlers. After running a crawl you will see how many errors occur and what causes them. Then you can identify errors and fix them. Most of the errors are java script errors. Some are caused by broken links. Google Web Toolkit (GWT) also helpful to easily track errors in your back links like misspelling or false spacing. 404 errors caused by registry errors can be simply fixed by using registry cleaner software. These scan your registry and fix registry issues all by itself.
Custom error pages
You can customize and make changes in your 404 error page because it is also a standard HTML page. Customising an effective 404 page will help to keep your website users on your site. Effective 404 error pages can display why a particular page is not available. Using a search box and useful links or resources on your 404 page, you could provide visitors an alternative. Providing a way to report a broken link is also recommended. The language and the manner of communicating with visitors must be friendly and clear. Adding links to websites, that contain relevant content to the missing page will also help to keep the visitors remain on your website. When a web page no longer exist, you just need to put a 301 redirect which should be pointing a new page with similar content.