If you look at your log files and see that there is a page that is consistently getting a 404 (for example, if someone linking to your site mistyped the link), you can create a redirect page to send people to the right page. This is only really effective if people are consistently getting the wrong page with the same address.
Redirects are also good used in conjunction with a 404 page. You can have a message such as:
Sorry, this page was not found. In a few seconds, you will be redirected to our main page.
Give them 5 seconds to read the message and then redirect.
Whatever you do, be careful with redirects. The worst thing you can do is to redirect to another nonexistant or unrelated page. Tried to find anything on Microsoft’s site lately? You’ll know what I mean.
You can do redirects easily. Here is an example:
<HTML> <head> <meta HTTP-EQUIV="Refresh" CONTENT="5; URL=not404.htm"> </head> </HTML>
The number after CONTENT is the number of seconds you want it to wait before redirecting.