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Broken Link Checker

Posted by on Oct 29, 2008

Okay, I’ll own up to it; I’m not perfect. Yeah, I know, I’m surprised myself! In this particular case, I did something that actually was a smart move, but in retrospect, I probably should have thought about before I did it.

I was reading someone’s blog awhile ago, who’s I just don’t remember, and it was talking about the permalinks for each blog post. Many people who are on WordPress blogs have the default setting such that our posts have dates in them. All well and good, or so I thought. But the article was indicating that, for SEO purposes, it messes up how search engines will look at your site, thinking those numbers are a part of what you’re trying to highlight. I don’t know if you’ve ever done this, but if you take your blog post, right click on it, and slide down to Source, then left click, it will bring up a window that will show you the HTML of your site, even your blog. And, if you look for your H1 tag, you’ll see the title of your blog post.

So, I decided I wanted to change that, and I went into the permalinks settings on my WP blog and changed it so that the dates would no longer show. It was a manual change, near the bottom. When I clicked, I then went back to see some of my posts, and the dates were gone, and I was a happy guy.

The part I totally forgot about was that it would suddenly invalidate all the links on all the posts within my blog, all of which had those dates in them. I guess I hadn’t thought it would be retroactive, but it kind of makes sense. Also, it will invalidate those links if they happen to already have been cached in Google, although Google would adjust quickly enough. I didn’t pick up on this change, though, until I was writing a post the other day and wanted to check the links to my series on blogging. That’s when I realized that all of my internal links had changed, and I had to go back and take care of them.

What to do, what to do? I figured it was going to take a lot of time to go searching through every single post, as I’m over 200 at this juncture, and man, that was going to be a mess. Well, talk about serendipity. I happened to be reading another blog post (I really should write all these things down, just in case I need to go back to them), and it mentioned a plugin I hadn’t heard of before called Broken Link Checker.

That sounded promising, so I downloaded it, then uploaded it to this blog. It started running on its own, which kind of freaked me out because, at the same time, I had added another plugin, and it found 72 instances of bad links, with 67 of them being the result of my changing the permalinks. It took me awhile, but now my blog is totally up to date again, and if people click on a link within another post it’ll take them where they want to go. Whew!

There are definitely some smart people out there in WordPress land, and I appreciate every single one of them. I’d recommend getting this plugin if you ever add links into any of your posts, because it will let you know if a link is bad, as you get to set it to run every so many hours. Mine is set to 72 hours; that should be soon enough. Good luck.

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20 Comments »

Mitch:

Really? Well, I haven’t gone back through all of your archives lol

October 30th, 2008 | 7:41 PM

Hey Mitch,
This sounds like a good plugin that I should install too. Gosh it seems like I now have a quite lot of plugins on my blog. Not sure if some of them will slow down the load time though.

Peter

Work At Home Ideas´s last blog post..How To Get Free Backlinks From Ebay

October 31st, 2008 | 9:15 PM
Mitch:

I don’t worry about load times when there’s stuff to take care of, but I will tell you that the first time you run this one, if you have a bunch of bad links, it will slow things down. But that’s a good thing because it means you have lots of things to fix, and once you’ve done it, then it’s easy to keep up on it.

October 31st, 2008 | 9:24 PM
Henry:

Hi there, a good way of finding your broken links without installing any software is http://www.bitbotapp.com
Good luck!

November 10th, 2008 | 4:57 PM
Mitch:

Not bad, but line numbers don’t help so much when you’re talking blogs as they might with websites. Plus, that’s the beauty of WordPress, the plugins that add functionality.

November 10th, 2008 | 5:04 PM

Hey Mitch,
I’ve been using this plugin ever since you recommended it and just loved it. It’s my e-watch-dog and keeping my blog free of broken links. Really didn’t know how good it is till I used it. Thought I let you know that. Thanks to you my friend.
-Peter

work at home ideas´s last blog post..Link Love No.15-Make Money Blogging On Internet

December 6th, 2008 | 9:12 PM
Mitch:

I’m glad it’s worked out for you, Peter. It’s quite the lifesaver, especially when an old link decides to give up the ghost.

December 7th, 2008 | 12:58 AM
Mitch:

I have two that it keeps saying are bad, from the Google Publishers, but both links work so I’m just ignoring it. Other than that, it’s been right every time.

December 7th, 2008 | 12:59 AM

Oh Dennis, I had the same problem too. It showed one link that is my own url. When I go to the particular post, I found nothing wrong. I thought it would go away after a few days but it didn’t. I then deleted at the admin page the that never was found in the post and it was ok. Could be my e-watch dog swallowed one bone too many. Other than this purrrrfectto!

Peter

work at home ideas´s last blog post..Link Love No.15-Make Money Blogging On Internet

December 7th, 2008 | 1:25 AM

Hey Mitch, why are the words in red. Is this your doing buddy. That’s spooky no. 2.

Peter

work at home ideas´s last blog post..Link Love No.15-Make Money Blogging On Internet

December 7th, 2008 | 1:28 AM
Mitch:

Actually Peter, it’s showing that you typed < a > accidentally, and I can’t remove it, unfortunately. If you look at your post again, you must have meant to type something else because your words kind of jumped, as you said “the that never was”; weird. lol

December 7th, 2008 | 1:40 AM
Mitch:

That’s because you did it again! LOL

December 7th, 2008 | 2:40 AM
Mitch:

Nope, I didn’t understand it that way, and now that you’re clarifying it, I have to say that’s pretty odd.

December 7th, 2008 | 12:07 PM
Mitch:

Just asking, but does it at least tell you which post it is?

December 7th, 2008 | 4:32 PM
Mitch:

Hey, one has to ask some ridiculous questions in trying to diagnose stuff sometimes, right? Have you thought about disabling it, then enabling it again?

December 9th, 2008 | 10:40 AM
Mitch:

Ah, don’t be a wuss; give it a shot! 😉 Actually, getting ready to write another post in a couple of hours that should be somewhat interesting.

December 9th, 2008 | 10:04 PM
Mitch:

Andy sent out email; looks like he’s tooling around with it again.

December 10th, 2008 | 5:22 PM
John Dilbeck:

Good morning Mitch.

I just activated the Broken Link Checker plugin and it found three broken links.

I think it’s only appropriate that one of them was a post where I linked to your “Why Don’t More People Comment On Blogs?” post.

😉

It did find two other broken links that I never would have found, otherwise. Looks like it is going to be helpful.

Thanks for the suggestion.

Act on your dream!

JD

December 16th, 2008 | 6:49 AM
Mitch:

John, I’m glad that plugin worked great for you; it’s a very good one, that’s for sure.

December 16th, 2008 | 10:50 PM