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Checked your links lately?

Posted by Michael Bloch in web development (Saturday December 22, 2007 )

Web pages can be a little like rabbits – start out with a few and then they seem to magically multiply. Before you know it, you have dozens, perhaps even hundreds of pages. During this growth phase, particularly if you’re changing things around, links can break – and that can cost you money.

It’s wise to check on your links regularly, but once you have more than a few pages, it becomes a time consuming task. That’s where free applications such as Xenu Link Sleuth are worth their digital weight in gold.

Xenu Link Sleuth will crawl over your pages testing internal linkages; but you can also have it check outbound links too. It’s blazingly fast and displays a continously updated list of URLs you can sort by different criteria, plus reporting functions. Just a word of warning – it’s probably best to stick with default settings in terms of page retrieval; set it too high and your ISP or web host may be having words with you.

Xenu Link Sleuth is also useful for detecting hidden links – ones you may have accidentally left behind by deleting the anchor text, but not the linkage, or those added by nefarious individuals (and it does happen). Hidden links can set off red flags with search engines.

Oh, by the way, if an internal link should break for any reason, instead of the vanilla browser 404 error message; have a custom error message display – it’s a good way to help keep folks on your site.


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