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How To Make Money From Your 404 Page

No matter how hard you try to avoid it your site visitors are going to experience the dreaded “404” error … “Page Not Found”.

When visitors reach a 404 page it is usually the beginning of the end.

  • The end of their attention.
  • The end of their patience.
  • The end of them trying to do business with you.

This is especially true if you have a WordPress blog and have not taken steps to improve your 404 page.

The standard 404 page that comes with WordPress is pretty horrible. I’ll show you one in a minute.

Make no mistake, 404 errors are costing you money right now.

But all of that can change, and change dramatically, starting today.

In fact, you can make money from your 404 error page. I’ll show you how I did just that, and how you can do it too.

But first, some basics.

What Is A 404 Error Page?

Basically, a 404 page is the page visitors see when they go to a URL that does not exist on your site. I’m sure there is a geekier explanation, but that one is accurate.

Using my site as an example, if you go to http://charliepage.com you will see my home page.

If you go to http://charliepage.com/puppy you will get an error because I don’t have a page called “puppy”.

How Do 404 Errors Happen?

404 errors happen a number of ways. The most common way seems to be misspellings. Here’s an example.

You write a really great blog post. It’s got words. It’s got images. It’s got your heart and your soul in every line.

Your blog post is called “How to be happy” and it’s going to help people. You are pumped!!

Now you post to Facebook and tell all your friends that they need to read this blog post of wonders. But when you type in the link you type in how-to-be-happpy

Notice the extra “p” in the word happy?

That one extra “p” will cause a 404 error because your page is called how-to-be-happy and NOT how-to-be-happpy

Misspellings like this are so easy to make, no matter what whiz-bang spell and grammar checker you use.

404 errors can also occur in other situations. Here are the big three.

  1. When you change the name of a page or post.
  2. When you use link shorteners.
  3. When well-meaning friends share your links and misspell them.

So now you know that 404 errors happen, and a bit about how they happen. But should you care that they happen?

So How Can You Make Money From Your 404 Page?

The simple answer: use a custom 404 page and build your list from that page.

Allow me to offer some proof.

You have probably seen my 404 page. If you are like most readers you could not resist clicking the link above with puppy in the URL. After all, who does not love puppies?

But in case you have not seen it, here is my 404 page.

Charlie Page's 404 Page

Did you notice the magic ingredient? I put a big ol’ yellow arrow on it so it would fairly well jump out at you.

My page is saying “sorry the page you want is not available but you can get this cool gift if you just click here.”

People love cool gifts.

I do this using LeadPages. You probably know LeadPages. If you don’t, you really should check them out. This is not a pitch, just an honest recommendation.

Sounds Good On Paper But Does It Work?

That’s what a consulting client asked, so I went to check. Here are my statistics.

In this screenshot, you can see that 12% of all the people who landed on my 404 page joined my list and took up my free gift. That’s better than some squeeze pages convert!

Charlie Page's LeadPages 404 Page Stats

Again, I used the giant yellow arrow to draw attention to the juicy parts.

So 12% is pretty good, right? How about up to 31%? Take a look here. It’s not a typical day, but it happened more than once!

Charlie Page using LeadPages gets 31% conversions

 

Now let’s talk money. 

What can 1150 people being on your list do for you? I really don’t like math … but let’s do some.

If every one of those 1150 new subscribers (YOUR subscribers) were worth only $10 per year to your bottom line how much would that be?

Hard to believe but it’s $11,500! 

  • Eleven grand from a page that was making you zero before you took 20 minutes to fix it!
  • Eleven grand from a page that most people overlook and never consider.
  • Eleven thousand totally passive dollars that cost you nothing to generate.

Now before you dismiss the figure of $10 per year know this. I know people in multiple niches (not just information products) who tell me that every subscriber on their list is worth $50 per year, or more. 

Most people miss this.

Remember when I said that the standard WordPress 404 page was ugly? (Sorry Matt) Here is the 404 page from one of my niche blogs in the Fantasy Football space.


Charlie Page's 404 page - Fantasy Football niche


How pitiful is that?

There is nothing a visitor can do from this page but close the tab and move on. No list building. No good will. Nothing.

How Can You Fix The Problem?

Happily, there is an easy solution. Several in fact! Let’s take a look at three possibilities.

Solution #1 – LeadPages

Once again, this is not a pitch for LeadPages. If you want to get LeadPages, and want to use my affiliate link here it is.

This is my affiliate link for LeadPages. 

And if you want to know about LeadPages but NOT use my affiliate link, that’s good too.

Here is a direct link for LeadPages

Now that we have that out of the way, here is how it works.

Step 1 – If you have LeadPages you create a standard LeadPage. They actually have a template for a 404 page. In fact, my 404 page is their template, not a custom page.

Step 2Install the LeadPages WordPress Plugin. They provide it or you can get it on WordPress.

Step 3Designate that as your 404 Page. This is easy to do once you have the LeadPages plugin installed. In fact, you can designate any LeadPage as your home page, 404 page, a Welcome Gate page or just a regular old WordPress page. And you can change any of that with one click!

Solution #2 – PHP

If you are into PHP and like to do these things using code, WordPress makes it easy. The resource I like for this is Yoast. Here is a screenshot from his article about it. If you want to read the article you can do that right here.

Yoast 404 custom page

Solution #3 – A WordPress plugin

As with most things, there’s a plugin for that! Remember when we used to say “there’s an app for that!”? My how times change.

If you want to find a plugin for this the way to do it is to visit WordPress.org and search their site. Or you can search from within your WordPress admin panel if you are familiar with that.

Here is a screenshot of a search I did earlier today.

Search WordPress for a 404 plugin

Now It’s Your Turn!

So now you know what a 404 page is. You know that the standard WordPress 404 page will never make you a dime. And you know that there is an easy solution to the problem.

One of the first things I have consulting clients do is fix their 404 page. Or I do it for them.

Why? Because of this one undeniable truth …

No matter how hard you try to avoid it your site visitors are going to experience the dreaded “404” error … “Page Not Found”.

But now you know how to turn that big fat lemon into some tasty lemonade. Maybe $11,000 worth of tasty, or more.

And turning lemons into lemonade – well that is a very beautiful thing indeed!

Charlie Page Signature

Charlie Page
 

Happily married for 43 years, Charlie is the dad to two wonderful daughters. He is the author of 12 books on Internet marketing and creator of over 15 membership sites. You can see all Charlie offers using this link Click Here

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 10 comments
Mark M

Hi Charlie, thanks for this post, I just followed your instructions and now I have a nice new 404 Error Page.
I don’t know how I lost it in the first place?

Thanks heaps

Mark M

Reply
    Charlie Page

    Excellent! Well done for taking action so quickly.

    Charlie

    Reply
Nessie Prestin

Charlie I believe that I have for once learned something from you…And I thank you…Also Charlie I admitt I am a beginner and am a very good Lerner/listener you showed step by step…awsome.. I donor own a La top..only a smartphone..I can barley affairs it yet squeeze by on my rent..I too was married for 30 yrs..now divorced. I could use your help Charlie…Thanks!!!

Reply
    Charlie Page

    Hi Nessie,

    It’s going to be a challenge to earn money online with only a smartphone. If things are that tight you might want to consider trading time for money by providing services to someone for a fee. That’s what I did in the early days when things were very tight for us.

    Charlie

    Reply
Mark Mansfield

Wow Charlie! I read about the 404 Page before but never had it done so well.
Thanks Mark M

Reply
Kay Peterson

Charlie, you are always coming up with amazing tricks to help us. Thank you so much!

Reply
Koltin

Thats pretty damn amazing haha. I will give you that!
Koltin

Reply
michael deluca

Thank you Charlie for your input to the 404 page and how anyone who has a blog, website, or Internet that someone may not get access to by some common mistake can create a 404 message and how to turn that 404 into a high converting sales page, or message that a certain percentage will respond to whether if it’s a download, or leads interested prospect to sales page or landing page….it’s better than getting no response at all!….

And most important How To get access to these 404 pages for our own benefit…Quickly!….Thank You!

Reply
Mary

That’s really cool Charlie! Thanks.

Reply
Robert

Wow, that was so easy. I had no idea there was a plug-in for that. I installed and activated the plugin and I’m done… Thanks again for the info.

Reply

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