Broken links are an unchecked epidemic on nonprofit websites. Each time I find a broken link, I can almost hear the record scratching.
- Broken links make your website visitors sad and frustrated that they can’t reach the intended resource
- Broken links block Google, because it can’t index the intended resource nor can it show that resource in future search results
- Broken links make your website (and by extension, you!) seem unprofessional and untrustworthy
Because you’re busy, here’s a suite of tools you can use to automatically flag broken links. Fix your website - in your sleep!
Four Resources You Can Use to Fix Your Site’s Broken Links
If your site is in WordPress...
Install the Broken Link Checker plugin. Then pour yourself a glass of ice tea and reflect on a job well done.
The plugin will crawl your site and send you email alerts whenever it finds a broken link.
Bonus tip: Make sure the admin email address for your site is pointed to you! You’ll want to receive the email alerts that the plugin sends.
If your site is in Drupal...
Install the Link Checker module.
Much like the WordPress equivalent, this module will crawl your site and flag broken links. The broken links alert will be available right on the page itself (but only visible to you as an admin) as well as in a report under “My Account.”
Bonus tip: Remember to configure the module to crawl your various content types.
If you have Google Webmaster Tools installed...
This free tool from Google is such a lifesaver! I talk about it a lot in my Complete Google Analytics Toolkit training.
One of its hidden uses is as a broken link checker. In your account, navigate the Crawl -> Crawl Errors.
If Google has identified any broken links, they will be listed under “Not Found”.
If all else fails...
You’re probably struggling with an out of date website or some ornery content management system that doesn’t let you do anything useful.
You might find the W3C link checker to be helpful.
You can enter one URL at a time and check it for broken links. This could be especially useful when checking long, outdated pages.
For example, I recently helped a nonprofit clean up their “newsroom” page. It was busting at the seams with broken links to articles that are no longer online. If you have a similar page, then the W3C link checker tool would be a perfect (free!) solution.