This is Day 27 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, a group project 60+ of us bloggers are doing together in an effort to help each other become better bloggers.
I am sure you have come across web pages or blog posts that linked to other web pages and when you clicked on those links it took you absolutely nowhere! Do you find it frustrating when that happens? I do.
My first thought is always, “What is the author of this blog doing?” Yet, as we all know, the web is just that, a web. It is not the concrete jungle with its addresses set in concrete. A spider’s web is here today and gone tomorrow. That is exactly how the World Wide Web works. Links are not written in stone.
After a while your blog will also start losing its links to the outside world. As a blogger, you do not want this to happen, but the reality of the matter is that this is inevitable! So, it is your job to ensure that your readers are met with a very robust interlinking system, between your blog, and the rest of the web out there. As a result, no matter how you do it, it will be hard work. There are tools out there that can assist you in finding those dead links, but even then, you still have to do some work.
I decided to have a look at some of the offerings out there: (I created a screen shot of a few of them)
- Xenu’s Link Sleuth (for Windows users only)
- Dead-Links.com (seems to be a dead link at the moment)
- Siteowner’s Link Checker (site never opens)
- Link Valet (lots of data; sorted by blog page. Screenshot)
- W3C Free Link Checker (sorted according to blog page, but reports a lot of “errors” that should not be regarded as link errors. Screenshot)
- AnyBrowser’s link Checker (can only do one page at a time; not able to search recursively. Screenshot)
- HTMLHelp Valet Link Checker (lots of data; sorted by blog page. Seems to be the same service as Link Valet Screenshot)
- NetMechanic’s Link Check (Can do max 20 pages from main page; have to pay for the rest up tp 400 pages)
- Web link Validator (Need to buy this software. Has a Lite version that checks only 1000 links)
You can either go through your blog post-by-post, or you can use one of the tools above to assist you. You may have to use a combination of tools to find dead links. My guess is that not everybody will use the same tools or combination of tools, due to our differences as people. After having a quick look at the tools above, I think I would probably use W3C Free Link Checker and Link Valet as a combination.
So, what are you supposed to do when you find a dead link? Fix it, of course! What are some of the remedies, then?
1. Fix or update the link: You may have to search the net to find that link again, especially if the website of the original link has moved. Otherwise, find a similar link that says the same as the original.
2. Delete the link: You may have linked to something that is really scarce, and since that link no longer exists, you will have to simply delete the link. Just let your readers know that you’ve done this and that the original link no longer exists.
3. Delete the post: I know that the 31DBBB book suggests this, but the point of fixing dead links is not to create your own. If you go deleting your posts, some other person will sit with dead links in his blog/website. All you are doing is perpetuating the problem that you are trying to solve on your own blog. So, my suggestion is to rather put a place marker there that explains why the original information is no longer at that post or why it is no longer valid.
Remember, this is not a glamorous task, so you will have to make time to do this. Of course, as you find posts with dead links, you may as well go through those posts to also fix spelling, grammar and formatting. You may have redesigned your blog, and some of your older posts may need some reformatting to fit in with your new design. As you find posts with dead links, you may as well apply what we have learned thus far in 31DBBB to them. That way you can make your whole blog comply to what we have learned.
So, let us know about your take on this.
- Have you used any tools that find dead links at all?
- Have you gone through your blog fixing dead links before?
- How do you do it?
The extra mile…
- Tweet, share, & bookmark this post.
- When other bloggers include a link to a new article they’ve posted today, click, read, and comment on it.
- No blog review today.