Published on May 26th, 2013 | by Tom Wake0
How to automatically reveal and fix broken links on your website
It might sound boring but if you run a website or know someone who runs a website then you need to read this.
Thankfully there are a number of quick, easy and free solutions to this technical problem.
But first let me give you a bit of background.
Why are broken links such a problem?
Having broken links on your website is a black mark as far as Google and the major search engines are concerned and you don’t want to annoy these guys.
Something as simple as having too many broken links on your website can mean lower rankings and less hits (or in simple terms – less visitors).
Let’s face it, they’re also not very user friendly and broken links are annoying for users who increasingly demand a seamless web experience.
More often than not if someone hits a broken link on your site they’ll leave the site faster than you can blink.
The problem is you don’t want to have to spend hours trawling through every page of your website manually clicking each link and checking it works and then changing the broken ones.
I’ve been there and tried that and let me tell you: it’s about as fun as plucking the hairs off a Yeti with a couple of blunt spoons.
Here are 3 simple ways to do a broken link check on your website quickly and painlessly
I’m not going to bombard you with 8 trillion different options here. There are hundreds of sites that claim to be able to do broken link checks for you so I’ll stick to giving you the very best I’ve come across.
Option 1. Use this if you want to do a simple broken link check online
This is the best online broken link checker I’ve come across:
It presents its findings in a simple table for you so that you can quickly locate the offending links and then change them. If you click on the ‘src’ button next to a broken link it’ll tell you where it was found so that you can nip in and change it.
The downside of this tool is that because it’s run entirely online it’s on the slow side and you’ll need to leave it running for a few minutes, depending on the speed of your Internet connection.
Option 2. Download free software to speed up the broken link process
There’s free software which you can download which will run the broken link scan much faster than it’s completely online brothers and sisters. I prefer this to option 1.
PC users – Try this one: Xenu’s Link Sleuth
Mac users – Try this one: Integrity
Option 3. By far the best option if you have a WordPress website
I’m always bleating on about how wonderful WordPress is, well one of the reasons is because it brings you great tools like the aptly named ‘Broken Link Checker’
You can find out more here: Broken Link Checker
If you’re not familiar with how to install WordPress plugins then please take a look at my article here:
There are two great benefits to using this plugin. The first is that it automatically scans your website for you from time to time so you don’t even have to remember to scan for broken links.
That’s an ingenius touch. When it finds one it notifies you by email (if you want it to) and in the WordPress logged in area.
The second great feature is that you can change or simply kill links from within the plugin. Instead of having to go into each individual page and change the links manually you can simply hit a couple of buttons to do the changes from the plugin itself. It’s almost effortless.
This is by far the best option of the three.
I hope you found this useful. Please feel free to share any more tips or leave a comment below