WordPress Broken Link Checker

Checking for broken links is important, but sometimes its an odious, time consuming job. Recently, we did an audit of this blog and found more then 50 broken links. It wasn’t that we had made errors or screwed up our site, but resources we pointed to or sites we spoke about had gone away or disappeared. Funnily enough, it was one of our favorite dead link checking websites that we also got flagged was also gone. The importance of checking broken links, has major SEO benefits (plus Google considers it important), but its also increase a users enjoyment of your content. Imagine if you will, that you have a bakery and you post a link for a great cookie recipe and all they get is a 404 (page not found). Do you think this makes a reader of your site or blog trustworthy of your content? Of course not. So what’s a webmaster to do?

Well thankfully, as is most cases with WordPress, there is an awesome plugin to the rescue. In this case, it’s the appropriately named “Broken Link Checker” by Janis Elsts . This is one we have been using for a while on another blog (and stupidly) not using here. Some of  the amazing features Jan has included:

  • Monitors links in your posts, pages, comments, the blogroll, and custom fields (optional).
  • Detects links that don’t work, missing images and redirects.
  • Notifies you either via the Dashboard or by email.
  • Makes broken links display differently in posts (optional).
  • Prevents search engines from following broken links (optional).
  • You can search and filter links by URL, anchor text and so on.
  • Links can be edited directly from the plugin’s page, without manually updating each post.

Previously, there was a paid and a free version, but Jan decided last year to make the Plugin free and accept donations. If you have spare cash, it’s worth giving her a donation.

With the help of her tool, and second check with w3.org checklinks tool I was able to clean my act up. Where I found broken links I did one of two things. I searched Archive.org to see if the page had been persevered, and provided that link, and if not, I killed the linked. I hope that this makes for a better reading experience for you.

In the case of sites that are not on WordPress, I still find the w3.org checklinks tool the most reliable, but you can also consider BrokenLinkCheck.com

Happy broken link hunting !

Adrian Speyer

About The Author: Adrian has over 12 years experience in Digital Marketing and Analytics. He currently works as a Marketing Manager at Vanilla Forums, a modern forum software platform that allows clients to connect and engage their communities and customers. He lives and works in Montreal.

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