Have you ever ordered a beer at a bar only to have the server tell you the keg is empty? How did it make you feel? You were likely frustrated because you saw the drink on the menu, but couldn’t get it.
Having broken links on your website is the online equivalent.
If you are successful at bringing a visitor to your website, having them click a link and get the dreaded “404 page not found” message creates a poor user experience . Not only do broken links create an immediate barrier to information, they also erode trust as users begin to wonder if they should continue to browse a website with errors.
While there are many tools to help identify broken links, Internet Marketing Ninjas offers a free broken link tool you can use right now to check your own website.
Here’s how to use it.
To get started, type the domain name into the search box, select the approximate number of pages your website has (500, 1000, unlimited), then click Ninja Check. An update to your robots.txt file is necessary for sites with more than 1000 pages.
Note: this broken link tool limits users to five searches per day.
The report returns lots of information about your site. For the purposes of broken links, scroll down to the sections called, “Internal errors” and “External errors” and look for anything with a status of 404.
Now go one by one through the report and recreate the broken links.
To get to a page on your site containing a broken link, click “First Found On.” For each of those errors, the “Link text” in the report indicates the words a visitor clicks that goes to a non existent page. Do a search of the page for the link text. You’ll know you found the problem if you click the link and get an error message from your website. If you can’t find the link, export the report and send it to one of your web developer or IT friends.
Once you find the broken link on live site, log into your content management system, find the page, then either repair it with the correct destination URL or remove the link completely.
If you have any questions on how to use the tool, leave a comment below.