Blog Maintenance – Broken Links

The last couple of days have been interesting with this blog. Some of you might notice I’ve created a new header. Yeah, not fancy, but I like it. It’s an expansion of the one I created for my Facebook page. Nothing fancy, but I think it’s me, and I hope you like it at least a little bit.


by Gord Webster
via Flickr

The other thing I’ve been doing is fixing broken links. Well, that’s not quite accurate. What I’ve been doing most of the time is killing links and every once in awhile fixing a link. I have the plugin Broken Link Checker, but I had turned it off some time ago because it can slow your blog down if you’re doing things in it and that was irritating me. I also really hadn’t paid all that much attention to broken links, figuring it was all stuff in the past; seems that’s not quite true.

As I was griping last week about the loss of traffic I started looking around for answers. Two were actually provided by a comment on that post by Lisa, who mentioned two things. One was the sitemaps thing, another plugin that I’d deleted from this blog, and the idea of broken links. Although I didn’t see a lot out on the search engines talking about sitemaps and traffic, I did find a lot of people have written about broken links and traffic, especially search engine traffic.

I decided that I did want to clean up the blog, so I turned on the plugin and let it do its thing. I was hoping it wouldn’t do what going online and doing a search did for someone else, which was to alert him to over 18,000 broken links on his blog; ouch! I got lucky; I came up with just over 750, and I didn’t think it was that bad.

What was surprising is just how many of those links actually came from people who had left comments on the blog, and now those blogs or websites don’t exist anymore. Initially I was looking at a bunch of them, and that was time consuming and frustrating so I decided I wasn’t going to waste that much time.

However, there were still some I did decide to look at, and those are the ones I’m going to talk about more because I still talk to some of you. What I found is that you either changed your permalink structure or the location of where you put your blog or blog posts, or you’ve changed websites or blog locations and either didn’t remember or decided against bringing some of your old content with you. In one case one of you has started a new blog space and left more than 3 years of content elsewhere that can’t be accessed anymore; that’s a shame because it was great stuff.

Any time you change how your information has been put out there, if anyone has linked to you it suddenly becomes a bad link. If you’re keeping your content, at the very least you need to make sure there’s a way for people to find the new link if they care to try. For my purposes if a few people were using the Archives widget I could have easily found what I was looking for. However, so many people decide to use either that one or Categories and not both, as I do, and thus I had no chance to find the posts I wanted and just gave up.

In any case, it points out the importance of doing maintenance every once in awhile and in making sure people can find your content in whatever way they deem easiest. And look, my traffic has gone up; whoopee!!!
 

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What’s Up With Broken Link Checker?

Okay, what’s up with the plugin broken link checker?

First, the updates. Over the last couple of weeks, there have been 6 updates to the program. I remember when I complained about all the WordPress updates back in August, and those things finally slowed down, and maybe it’ll happen with broken link checker also. I’m not sure, but one can hope.

Then, if you remember, I mentioned in September that I was having all sorts of problems with my dashboard and some other issues with the blog, and it turned out that broken link checker and some other plugins were messing things up. So I discontinued it and the others, deleted all the rest of them, but kept broken link checker so I could, every once in awhile, check my links to see if something suddenly wasn’t working well.

Now here’s issue #3. Seems that, at least on this blog, broken link checker isn’t working properly. A week ago I activated it, with the express purpose of checking for broken links. It told me I had 63 broken links. However, when I looked at some of the pages where it said I had issues, I started seeing pages that I had already corrected before. There wasn’t anything wrong with many of the links. And a few others where there might have been a problem with a link, I corrected it, only to have the program continuing to tell me that the links were still broken.

That’s just not going to get it done. As I’ve read through some of the fixes for the program, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’m disappointed that none of the updates seem to address any of the issues I’ve been having with it. I can’t be the only one who’s having this problem, can I?

Luckily, on my other two blogs, the plugin is telling me that there are no broken links on those pages. Is that true, or is it that the program isn’t telling me the truth? How odd that I touted this program so much previously, and now I’m not really sure whether I trust it or not. Such is life; how’s the plugin working for everyone else?

3 Labs in Creel Cookie Jar

Price – $40.00






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Maintaining Your Blog

Tuesday night I did something that I’m betting almost no one else ever does. Probably most people don’t have to do it as much as I do, but it’s something that they should think about doing in some way every once in awhile.


by Pete Birkinshaw

I spent a few hours doing maintenance on this blog. I think this is post #540, and I went through every post on this blog, looking for my ads that might be missing or that might have been altered in some fashion. As you know, I have either an affiliate link or a product at the end of almost every single post. I put products there because I’ve tried to figure out the types of things visitors to this blog might like every once in awhile. The thing isn’t so much that they might want to buy that particular thing as much as they might want to buy something similar to it. They, or you, can still click on that product link, look around the site for other things, and I still get paid from that.

However, what happens every once in awhile is one of three things. One, those advertisers are expired, which means those links are dead. Two, the images have changed and, though the link would still work, without a visual product who’d even think about clicking on it? And three, that product is discontinued, and therefore I have to change products.

So, I spent some time doing that. The next maintenance project will be activating Broken Link Checker, just to check all the links on the site, then deactivating it again. Some of you might remember when I wrote about that plugin and others that kept giving me server errors. It works great, but I don’t keep it running all the time on any of my blogs.

How often do you go back and check things on your blog to make sure they’re still working properly? It might take you some time, but most of you don’t have close to as many posts as I have, so go ahead, take some time, and while you’re at it, think about optimizing or monetizing your old posts in some fashion. Remember, the entire product of your blog helps your blog to rank better, and better rankings means potentially more visitors.

Soulmate Bear
by Swarovski


  Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell