Checking for Dead Links

Dead links are the bane of webmasters everywhere, and especially ecommerce site webmasters. Having a page that won’t load is unprofessional and may result in a loss of business for your site. How can you make sure that you are not inundated with dead links on your site?

Update Carefully. When you update or change your site, make a list of all of the file names that are currently on your server. You can easily find this list in your FTP program or web based control panel. While you are changing your site, make sure to reconcile your links to your files to make sure that you are not making a mistake.

Don’t Rush. Rushing through website creation often results in links that are misspelled, one of the most common causes of dead links. Slow down and take extra time to make sure that each link on your page is correct and valid.

Check Your Site Before Taking it Live. Before rolling out a new update, or a new site, take enough extra time to allow you to thoroughly check your site before you announce it to the public. You can set up your site just as it would normally run on your server to make sure everything is functioning properly.

Validate Your Offsite Links. If you have links to other sites on your own site, make sure that they are valid and properly spelled. Click on each exterior link on your site to make sure that it will actually load the proper page.

Update All of Your Links Regularly. This is very important if you do have exterior links on your page. Many sites frequently change their content and their file structures. This can result in not having the most recent link on your own site. Try to take extra time to go through all of your exterior links at least once a month to make sure they are all still valid.

Set Your Structure. Having a set file structure will allow you to easily name and save new files or update old files without having to worry about discrepancies. Once you have established your new structure, try to stick to it without adding any changes.

Check Your Images. Image links are also notorious for producing dead links. If you are seeing a bunch of red x’s on your site, your images are not loading properly. This can be the result of misspelled file names, or the wrong extension for the file in the link.

Check Your File Paths. Having the wrong file path in a script or on your page will result in a bad link. A file path can look like this for a link: If you do not include the image directory, your link will not work. For scripts, your path may look like this: /www/cgi-bin/ If you omit the www, your script will not work.

These are just a few helpful hints that will allow you to completely stamp out bad links from your website. The most important thing to remember is to be careful and always double check your links before publishing your site.

Related Posts:
Is Your Ecommerce Site Ready to Go Live?
Why 404 Error Pages May Be Killing Your Business
Saving Log Files
A Checklist for Moving Your Site to a New Server

Posted on 12/14/05 10:32 PM

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