Tim Priebe

How to prevent link rot

Link rot. Sounds gross, right? Really, it’s just another name for a broken link. But it’s something you need to be aware of if you’re managing a website on an ongoing basis.

What is link rot?

If you have any links at all on your website—and who doesn’t?—, over time they will succumb to link rot. External links will disappear or change addresses and your link will stop working. And even internal links can stop working. After all, sometimes you change things on your own website and depending on the specifics, not all links to that page will be updated automatically.

When a website visitor finds a broken link on your website, it makes you look unprofessional. They may assume that if your website isn’t working right, you’re not competent.

First impressions make a difference! So how can you prevent link rot? Check your links on a regular basis!

Both links to other websites and internal links on your website should be checked. After all, sometimes you change links on your website and depending on the specifics, not all links to that page will be updated automatically.

Manually preventing link rot

If you’re manually checking links, be sure to schedule time on a regular basis. For most sites, once every six months or so should be fine. You can even use an old school tool like the W3C Link Checker.

You will have to enter each page on your website one URL at a time, so this can be quite a bit of work.

Automatically preventing link rot in WordPress

With WordPress running over 1/3 of the websites on the Internet, there’s a decent chance you’re using it. In that case, I have great news. There’s a plugin to help prevent link rot! I recommend the plugin Broken Link Checker. It will monitor your website looking for broken links—and broken images—and let you know if any are found.

Depending on the size of your website, scanning it can take a few minutes or over an hour. You can adjust how often it checks the links and when it sends you a notification email.

Of course, a digital marketing company may be able to help you keep up with routine website maintenance tasks like this. If you’d like to reach out to us, we’d love to see if we can help!

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