In this article I’m going to discuss a topic that isn’t directly related to speed optimization on your website, but is very important for a pleasant user experience. This topic is none other than finding broken links.
What kind of links are on the website?
A link to one of your own posts, or pages within a post, is an internal link. These links are very useful for a number of reasons. Just imagine Wikipedia, where every article is filled with these links, and these take you to another article within Wikipedia.
Internal links help you navigate within a website, they increase the time spent on the website (you click on one which takes you to an article with an interesting content, and then again to another interesting topic and so on).
Internal links also help Google to understand what is the content of the website, and how different contents connect with each other. The activity where internal links are made with this exact goal is called internal link building.
Internal link building doesn’t cost a thing, and if you do it right, it helps your viewers find entries that are connected to the one they just read, and as I mentioned, helps Google understanding your content. It can also give you an advantage in ranking.
Of course, not all links internal on a website, there are links that take you to a different website, for example sources.
Why is it worth your while to check the links?
Broken links, which take you to a non-existent website, although they don’t slow down your website, they ruin the user experience. You know yourself how annoying it is when you click on something, but it only takes you to the 404 error page. You couldn’t find, what you were looking for. So you leave the website.
Broken links can happen if they move a website, or when the website, content that you linked is deleted. With Broken Link Checker you can easily find and fix broken links within WordPress websites.
How to install, configure and use Broken Link Checker?
What does Broken Link Checker do?
- It checks the links in your entries, in the comments, on sites, in the blogroll and in your personalised content too.
- It seeks out broken and missing images and redirections.
- It notifies you within the WordPress admin interface or in email.
- It avoids the search engine making a mistake with broken links.
- The links can be searched and filtered based on URL, anchors and other parameters.
- The links can be updated through the plugin, so you don’t have to manually update every single post you have made.
Broken Link Checker is very simple to use and it has been translated to many different languages, so it makes your job even easier. But if you are still unsure how to use this plugin, continue reading as I will demonstrate what you have to do step by step.
You have two options to install this plugin, just like with other plugins:
The first is downloading the installation file through this link: Broken link checker, and then uploading it in the Plugins–>Add New menu by clicking Upload extension.
The other option is going to the Plugins–>Add New menu, write in the search bar Broken Link Checker. It is the first grey coloured icon that you have to install and then activate.
The settings of this plugin can be reached through the Settings–>Installed plugins page by clicking on Broken Link Checker–>Settings.
You can find the list of all the broken links by clicking Tools–>Broken links
On the first tab you can see all the general settings, you can leave them at their default settings. If you would like to use a different email than your WordPress admin email, fill out the relevant part.
On the next page you can set the search locations for the links. You can’t make a mistake here. The default settings (just like on the image) are normally enough, but even if you tick all the options, you’re not going to make a mess.
At the Acf Fields and Custom Fields in the settings, you can add your unique parameters as well.
The Which Links to Check tab you can also just tick the default settings option, additionally it can check various video sites links, and the codes from previous Youtube versions.
At the Protocols & APIs tab you only have to make any modification, if you are planning to use Mediafire and Rapidshare APIs. If you didn’t use any links from these sites, then it isn’t necessary.
At the Advanced settings you can tick the Fix redirect option together with all the default ticked options, so the broken redirects automatically correct themselves. At the bottom of the page you can click Recheck all pages to start a search, at a time other than the scheduled search.
After the settings have a look at the Broken links page. The plugin found a 5 link on the website together with the images. From these, I created one that is broken, so I could show you how to fix it.
By clicking on the Broken tab, you can see the broken link. At the status you can see the 404 error message, in which entry it is in, and under what anchor text is the problem. By clicking on the top right corner, you can filter through the list of broken links.
To fix this hover over the link, and select the Change URL option, and replace the broken link with the right one. I changed my broken link to my domain name here.
When you are done fixing the error, you can click on refresh, which should show a code 200, meaning that link is working now.
Unfortunately I don’t know any other plugin with this functions, that is free and updated relatively often. This one was last updated 1 year ago, which is not to good. I don’t like to install a plugin that is so rarely updated.