Have you ever clicked a link on a website and received a “page not found” error message? This indicates a broken link. There’s something wrong with it. This is also known as a “404 error”.
There are several reasons why links break. Regardless of the cause, you need to identify and fix broken links. As soon as possible. Broken links are unprofessional and will probably cause your visitor to leave your site.
Don’t worry! I’ll share a couple of easy ways to check and fix these broken links.
What Causes Broken Links?
Broken links happen all the time for various reasons. Here are a few of the main reasons why links stop working:
- The URL of the link gets changed or removed.
- The website changed its domain name.
- Someone left a comment and listed a domain name that is not there anymore.
- There’s a typo in the link URL
Why You Want to Fix Broken Links
Here are a few reasons it’s important to check and update broken links on a regular basis.
- Broken links make your site look unprofessional and not maintained.
- Visitors may get annoyed and leave your site.
- Broken links can affect your search engine ranking on Google.
- Too many 404 errors could trigger certain website security tools to raise a red flag as a sign of hacking.
Finding Broken Links on Your Website
Are there any broken links on your website? How do you find out when a webpage that you linked to changes its URL?
While there are several ways to find broken links on your WordPress website. My favorite method is to use a plugin. However, there’s another easy option if you don’t want to install a plugin on your site. Check these out and see which works best for you.
#1 – Broken Link Checker Plugin
This plugin is the most popular broken link detector. It’s been around for quite a while. It’ll notify you when it detects a broken link on your site. You can also strikethrough broken links on public posts and pages to alert site visitors. Check out this plugin here: https://wordpress.org/plugins/broken-link-checker
#2 – Online Broken Link Checker
If you don’t want to install a plugin, you can use the Online Broken Link Checker. Watch this video and I’ll show you how to use this easy, free tool. You can find it here: https://www.brokenlinkcheck.com/
Watch a Video On Using the Broken Link Check Website
Fixing Broken Links on Your Website
You’ll want to fix broken links as soon as you find them, whether they’re on your website or another website you link to. Once you’ve found the broken links, you can go through the list one by one. These broken links can be fixed in various ways depending on the issue. Here are some ways to address broken links
- Remove the link completely
- Replace the URL with the new address if the link as moved
- Fix any typos that are causing the broken link
- Make sure that missing images are connected to the correct URL
Broken links on the internet are common. We’ve all run across them at some point. It happens to every website owner. They can be caused by an article that’s disappeared, a deleted image, or a typo in the URL.
However, as website owners, it’s our job to provide the best user experience for our online visitors. This means staying on top of broken links on your site and checking your site every so often to see if you have any.
Checking for broken links is nothing to stress about. Just add it to your schedule of tasks that you do on a monthly basis. Fortunately, these easy-to-use tools – Broken Link Checker plugin or Online Broken Link Checker – will help you keep your website clean and up to date!
(originally published in July 2016)