Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Feb 1, 2013
Yeah, I hear you, two complaint posts in a row. Well, the first one I felt was appropriate in warning you against a company that’s so deficient that you’d be throwing your money away. This one is to help you protect your blog; rather, to access your blog.
As you know, I mentioned back in December how my traffic seemed to be going down, along with my Alexa rank, but that always happened in December. Since the new year began, my traffic has been going up but my Alexa ranking continues going down. I’m not going to argue the merits of Alexa here; just going on with the post.
Anyway, I decided to check with Google Analytics to see what could possibly be going down. Indeed, not only has my traffic been going up, but it’s already higher than it was in either November or December. As a matter of fact, it’s ended on par with last August; that’s an upswing in traffic. But there were some interesting numbers, which I want to share:
October to November traffic from Google – 40%
October to November traffic from direct source – 37%
November to December traffic from Google – 37%
November to December traffic from direct source – 45%
December to January traffic from Google – 34%
December to January traffic from direct source – 43%
You notice that I’m actually driving more traffic in some fashion to this blog that Google’s doing; no idea how I’m doing it unless it’s through commenting on other blogs, since all other sources are listed as well. You’ll also notice that the gap hags been growing; Google doesn’t like me anymore. lol
Google did have another one of their famous updates, and I started to wonder if it might be related to bad links. I kind of addressed it in the past when I was talking about broken links, and last week when I talked about editing comments. When I talked about it in the past, I mentioned a plugin I used called Broken Link Checker. I’d also written about previous problems I had with the plugin, but that was awhile ago.
The fact is that when the thing works, it works great. However, when it doesn’t… man, it’s the worst in the world. This is what I went through a few nights ago when I decided to check my links to see if I was having problems with any of them from other people. After all, when I last ran the thing in May it found 750 bad links; ouch! Well, I do get my share of comments, and the blog has been around a long time, so that’s to be expected.
When I went to check on it some time later, it showed that I had close to 400 bad links. I then started the process of trying to do maintenance, and the blog shut down. I mean, it just wouldn’t do anything. I closed it by going to another page, then tried to come back to it; now I was locked out. I thought that was strange so I opened a different browser. I was able to pull up the blog, sign in, but as soon as it was in admin it locked up again.
I tried one more browser and got the same problem, so me being me I decided to try it on the laptop. Same issue; signed in and blog froze. I then went into Firefox’s private browsing mode, unsure what to expect, got into the admin panel and once again into Broken Link Checker. However, as soon as I started trying to to maintenance, the blog locked up on me, and I couldn’t even view the home page again.
Frankly, that kind of behavior is unacceptable at this juncture, and I feel like I knew better, but with all the updates they’ve made that it would work better. I have this same problem on 4 of my blogs; the only one that doesn’t shut down is my local blog, probably because I have few links and fewer articles on it than all the others.
What to do? First, the next morning I was able to log into the blog and this time I went to the plugin page and deleted the plugin. I don’t even want to be tempted to use it again. But I needed something to help me get rid of some bad links. I decided to use a plugin called Automatic Link Checker, which goes through your blog and checks links against Google to see if they exist or not, or if they’ll come up. I changed the settings to say if a link hasn’t been live in 30 days to remove it from the blog; the default is 60 days but I’m not feeling that generous these days. I’ve been periodically checking it and it seems to be working great, without any input from me. And, because I set it at 30 days, if someone’s having a temporary server issue it won’t automatically delete your links; I think that’s pretty cool.
Broken links can mess up your ranking and visibility on Google; can’t have that type of thing going on, and it’s something we can actually do something about. If you’re having trouble with the other plugin or haven’t loaded anything to help you check for broken links, try this new one. Thus far, no complaints. And if traffic goes up even more, or Google referrals start increasing again, I’ll let you know.