There have been many good things about moving my website to a WordPress platform late last fall. And there have been a few frustrating things. I’d been doing a pretty good job of ignoring some of those frustrating things until I received an email from Google Search Console with the subject line: Increase in “404” pages on daleyprogress.com.
Oh no! That sounded pretty ominous. The accompanying graph was even more so.
Here’s the backstory: all my website links changed with the move. Previously my pages all ended with ‘.html’ and now that’s truncated. There’s a plug-in for redirecting when people click on an old link out there somewhere, so I set that up for every current page. I also had to move several documents and files hosted on my old site to the new one, and then go change all those links on my various blog posts about them.
Tedious, painful work but I thought I had it handled. It turned out I was so very wrong.
These ‘404 errors’ are caused when there’s a link (out there somewhere on the web) trying to link to a page at my domain that no longer exists. There were 97 of them. How flipping embarrassing! (I’m imagining head shakes as people click away.)
Another evening of more tedious work got them all looked after. I’ve asked Google to re-crawl my site and, so far, I’ve got a clean slate.
If you are maintaining your own WordPress site and haven’t installed Google Search Console, you’ll want to take the time to do it. And if you aren’t maintaining your own site, ask your webmaster to help you get the report and deal with the errors.
I was trying hard to avoid it but that was a big mistake.