Broken links, also known as ‘dead links’, can be a problem for any website. Having a link that is broken or dead will most often lead to the famous 404 error that we all know and love. This is simply because the link is either not going to where it’s supposed to go or is trying to go somewhere that doesn’t exist or no longer exists. Unfortunately, managing broken links is one of the most neglected aspect in website maintenance. This is simply because many website operators either know they have broken links but are unsure of where to find them or are simply unaware that they have broken links in the first place. You may think that simply ignoring them isn’t a big problem, but unfortunately, broken links can be have a big effect on not only your sites usability, but also your credibility for search engines such as Google & Yahoo. More so, users may feel more inclined to leave a website if they have stumbled upon one or two broken links. This is why it is important to fix or remove broken links immediately upon detection.
Finding these broken links will be the first challenge. If you have a small site, with a handful or web pages and links, then you could get away with simply manually checking your links every month or two. However, this becomes bit more tricky for mid sized and large websites as going through each and every link would be far too time consuming. Fortunately, there’s a simple way to find them. Broken Link Check will scan your entire website and report any broken links they are able to find. If there are only a few broken links, it may be worth just finding them manually and then either fixing them (assigning them to the correct URL) or removing them completely if they are no longer needed. However, if you have many broken links or a large website, then that’s where a good plugin can help.
Broken Link Checker is a plugin that will find those broken links on your website and give you options on what you would like to do with them. This particular plugin has been praised for making routines scans and for organizing your broken links in an easy to use table. There’s also a number of customizations you can make to the plugin too. Keep in mind that it is not the only broken link finder plugin available and that many more plugins are just as efficient and perhaps more appropriate for your needs. However, this plugin is definitely one of the more popular with over 500,000 active installations. Once installed, Broken Link Checker will do a full scan of your website, which can take anything from a few minutes on small websites to an hour or more on large websites. Once complete, you will be presented with a table with all the broken links that was found (as well as where it was found) through the scan and will provide a list of options for each link. Most are fairly self-explanatory, but here is how it breaks down:
- Edit URL: eg replace the link with the correct URL.
- Unlink: Delete the link but retain the original text.
- Not broken: Mark the link as not broken and have it disappear from the report.
- Dismiss: Hide the link; it will be downgraded to the Dismissed category.
- Recheck: Recheck the URL if you believe it to now be fixed.
And that’s basically all there is to it. Simply go through each broken link and make the appropriate changes where necessary. Once complete, you can do a rescan to ensure that no broken link was left behind. Remember that, with many of these plugins, there is a number of customizations that you can make and that it may be worth doing a bit of research so you can make the most out of them.
For any assistance on removing or replacing broken links on your website, then be sure to contact our team!