Over the years, I’ve installed (and uninstalled) a few different plugins on this blog but there is definitely one that shocked me the most.
Which plugin am I talking about?
When I initially installed this plugin, I anticipated I would have two or three broken links on my site.
For starters, I knew one of the blogs I recommended in a post on minimalism was completely lost when hackers broke into the server.
Naively I was only thinking about the links I added to the blog myself via my posts. I failed to consider links in comments (both in the naming section and inside the actual comment area itself).
After the plugin scanned the entire blog I was surprised to find there were 35 broken links. Thirty-five!
Glancing through the list, a few things dawned on me.
The first one is that blogs come and go. Blogs are abandoned or shut down all of the time.
Consequently, if the owner of a shut down blog has left a comment on your blog, you will end up with a broken link.
Blogs are also moved from one platform to another, say from Blogger to WordPress which can also affect links.
Secondly blogs re-brand, change direction and redesign. In a blog re-brand the blogger may get rid of certain pages and individual posts. A new design may mean some pages were discarded completely.
One blog I noticed deleted its entire archive of over 200 posts (gutsy move I have to say) as part of their new re-brand and design strategy. Clearly the blogger is moving in another direction and wants to leave his old reputation behind.
While I forgot about all of the other places links can be found on my blog, thankfully this plugin takes them all into account. You can choose which sections you want checked for broken links such as blogroll, comments, pages and posts. There are also some advanced options.
Once you install the plug and it runs through your entire site, you will be presented with a list of broken links.
It will also notify you by email if you like.
Then it is a matter of going in to either edit a broken link (some may be quick fixes such as a comma where a full stop should be for example), turning the link off altogether (unlink) or notifying the plugin that a link is not in fact broken.
I have quite a few links that I am not sure why that are registering as broken, so needless to say, I need to do some investigating.
One other point to add, when the plugin finds a broken link in a post, it adds a strike through to advise people the link is no longer working. In one of my posts, approximately five links are no longer relevant. It would probably be worth my while to rewrite the entire post and update it with new links.
I highly recommend you install this plugin on your blog, particularly if you have never checked for broken links before and you have been blogging for a while.
You might be shocked by what you find.
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