The importance of finding (and fixing!) broken links

It might sound like an incredibly basic thing to be keeping a watchful eye on, yet it's also incredibly common. I've been browsing the internet for over 15 years, and during that time, like many people, I've come across my fair share of broken links - and we're not just talking about small, low-traffic websites here, but websites that get hundreds, if not, thousands, of unique visitors every single day. 

The consequences of broken links go further than just, well, a link not going where it should be. Personally speaking, for example, if I see a website with broken links, it greatly reduces my trust in that website, meaning I'm less likely to engage with whatever the purpose of that website is (for example, making a purchase). If a website gets something so basic wrong, what else is it getting wrong as well? Potentially, nothing of any concern, but, it doesn't give off a professional vibe.

Additionally, as well as potentially losing traffic that arrives and leaves due to a website not working as it should, there's a good chance that the amount of incoming traffic will decrease simply because search engines like Google and Bing take matters like this into their ranking algorithms - which is fairly logical because ultimately, search engines want you to be interacting with good, relevant and functional websites - otherwise, their reputation is put at risk and people may choose to use other search engines that deliver better results.

Now that we've covered why it's important, we need to look at how to fix it. The good news is, this won't necessarily be too challenging!

The most obvious, and in my opinion, the best method to tackle this is to visit your website's homepage, and click each and every link. Do they go where they should go? And, for each page you arrive on, check to see if they have any links - and click them if so. Are they all working as they should? It's okay if they don't get fixed immediately, but make sure they're noted down.

There's another approach you could potentially look at to tackle broken links, which is quite simply, online scanners. If you head to Google and search "broken link checker" you'll find a lot of websites that have tools to do that, however, I'd argue this is not the best method for one simple reason - these scanners don't know your website as you know it. Let's say you run a local bakery and have a link pointing to Freshly Baked Bread, and you click it, and end up on a page for Sausage Rolls - whilst the link technically isn't broken and returning a "404 Not Found" error, for example, I'd argue it's still a broken link because it's not the place the visitor should be taken to, and they will most likely end up going back to the previous page.

A quick tip to finish up this blog post: whilst you're doing these checks, make sure the content is still relevant and accurate. What was once correct when the website was created might not still be correct a few years down the line.

Would you like help with checking your broken links, as well as a full audit of your website for other issues? Superior Site is here to help for just £49.95 one-time (per website). Feel free to email me at [email protected] with any questions and I'll be happy to help!