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ErrorDocument 404 http://www.yourdomain.com/404page.html
After you're done, save file as plain text and make sure that it is named ".htaccess", without quotes of course. The hard part is now over, all that is left is to create custom 404 page (404page.html) that loads when a 404 error occurs.
What should my 404 page look like? ==================================
Of course, you can put anything you want into it, but if your purpose is to encourage your visitors to click further into your site instead of leaving, page should obey some basic principles.
1. Don't give users a reason to panic. Including a large heading that screams "ERROR" is likely to make visitor feel that he/she has done something wrong or that your site is not working properly. A better approach is to first greet them with a warm welcome and then explain that URL they were looking for could not be found, but should they browse around your site, they will surely find information they need.
2. Make page to look and feel similar to rest of pages on your site. Include your site's menu on 404 page to give visitors a fast and easy way to continue exploring instead of clicking away. A well-designed 404 page with plenty of links is far more attractive than one that has just black text on a white background and a link to your homepage.
3. If you have skills, consider adding a search feature on page that allows people to search your site for matches. Often your navigation menu will provide a clue on how user might reach information he/she would like to see, but if it doesn't there is a great risk of losing visit. Placing a search utility on page increases likelihood of user finding desired page and thus remaining on your site.
After both .htaccess file and HTML page are ready, FTP to your server, upload pages and enjoy your new custom 404 error page!
Lauri Harpf runs the A Promotion Guide website, where he offers free information about search engines, directories and other promotion methods. His site can be found at http://www.apromotionguide.com/ ----------------------------------