In a successful blog post, good links are everything.
Good links send traffic to friends, associates, and search engines.
Good links send customers to our affilates.
Good links allow our images to show in posts.
Good links keep readers on our sites, as they navigate from one post to another within topics or ranges of interest.
There is not much more frustrating than discovering you’re getting a lot of traffic to a post, and then learning that key links within that post are sending your readers to a 404-Error page. Blogger FAIL. And it seems we always discover this AFTER the big wave has come and gone.
Without good links, readers give up, customers leave, and we miss out on affiliate income.
When was the last time you checked your site for broken links? I ran a Wordpress Plugin called Broken Link Checker on my homeschool site this week.
This is plugin tends to be a resource hog, so it is one that should be installed when you want to use it, then deactivated and uninstalled when you’re finished. Allowing it to run constantly may result in issues with your host, or could even crash your site.
I first discovered Broken Link Checker about 6 years into my blogging.
The first time it ran I had over 3000 broken links to fix! Now I run it about once a year. If I were a daily blogger I would probably do this more often.
This handy little plugin found over 600 broken links this week. (You can see I’m on the ball with the screenshots. Whoops!) The majority of the broken links it has found are links in commenters’ URL lines.
When you mouse over the broken link it gives you the option to EDIT, UNLINK, NOT BROKEN, DISMISS, or RECHECK. (Screenshot doesn’t work while doing this!)
To fix a broken link, simply mouse over the url in the list, and click the UNLINK option to disable the URL. For example, one of the broken links this time was the URL for someone I know. Her old URL was broken, but I know her current one.
I clicked EDIT and it brought up the edit box with the bad URL:
I updated the URL so that it is current. Fixed. For others (so many I can’t count!) I just select UNLINK instead and it removes the link.
Another type of link that I’m finding broken, just once in a while, are the ones that have a different link structure than my blog currently uses. For example, my previous links included the date of publication, like this:
When I changed link structure on my site, it automatically changed all the post links but it didn’t change the ones I had manually added, interlinking posts. To fix it, simply select EDIT and remove the date and one of the forward slashes /.
The third type of broken link that commonly came up were broken affiliate ad links. These are the link codes for creatives that my affiliates had created, with an embed code for my posts. I went to my affiliate dashboard(s) and updated these codes one by one, post by post.
Just before editing the post and adding the new code, however, I selected DISMISS in the options list in Broken Link Checker, to just get rid of the link in the listings since I was changing the ads completely.
When you are finished fixing all of your broken links, deactivate the plugin, and delete it to keep your WordPress installation secure.
This isn’t a quick process (or at least it wasn’t for me, HA!). It took me three days of working through the links as I had time. If you run Broken Link Checker periodically, you will stay on top of your broken links and keep your site optimized for search engines.