Having your own website would involve you putting in the work to ensure it comes out to your satisfaction as a respected resource for your visitors. However, when the links on your website turn out to be broken, it could be harmful and cause a number of problems for your website.
Broken Links are simply links that do not work. They present a 404 Error when clicked, either because the page is missing, the URL is not written properly or the page no loner exists. Knowing how to track and fix your broken links is recommended for every website owner, which is why we will show you the easiest ways to get find and fix them.
Step 1: Finding The Broken Links
There are many tools that can be used to locate broken links and the good part is majority of them are free. Here are some.
Google Webmaster Tools: A great tool among the freebies that can be used to easily find broken links as well as track the performance of your website. This is the best way to understand how Google sees your website, whenever it comes across any broken links on the site it comes up as crawl errors and notifies you on the Webmaster Tools dashboard.
Broken Link Checker for WordPress: A plugin that can be used on wordpress websites; this tool is a great monitor for the links in your comments, posts and pages. Just like the Webmaster tool, it informs you about any broken links it finds through the WordPress dashboard or via email. It is not a bad plugin it’s been know to add strain on websites.
Xenu’s Link Sleuth: A free windows application that does a full scan of websites for any broken links, all you need to is to provide the URL and this tool will snoop any broken ones out. It also checks your site structure, reoccurring content and page depth.
Step 2: Make a report and track changes
After your broken links have been identified, it is recommended to create a spreadsheet to know which links need to be redirected and remember how you are redirecting the broken links to working sites. This can be done in Google Analytics tool and exported later as “CSV for Excel”. Or by simply creating an excel spreadsheet and filling in the data like number of times clicked, page views and if the links are still active.
Step 3: Analyze and Redirect
You need to check the links and find out the reason why they are broken in the first place. Is it a stray URL?
Was it misspelt? Is it still live? The conclusion is, you now know the error. You can add that to your broken link report and start redirecting the links to working sites via your content management system (CMS).