Broken Link Checker: A WordPress Plugin Review

WordPress Logo - Plugin ReviewA long time ago I created a static website  < >and then added a WordPress blog at the subdomain level < >. It was my first crack at utilizing WordPress and for some reason I could never properly implement the platform to write keyword rich URLs. Now it is quite easy, but when I first started the blog setting a customized URL writing scheme would always meltdown the site.

Years passed by and I finally scrounged up some time to tackle that issue. The first thing I did was download my blog’s sitemap.xml file and dumped it in a Excel spreadsheet. Then I moved the blog from the subdomain location to a folder level on the static website < >. I also set WordPress to write proper keyword rich URLs instead of those nasty < /archive/3423 > GUID style URLs. I had my trusty Google XML Sitemaps plugin rebuild the sitemap.xml file. I downloaded the new version and dumped those URLs in the same spreadsheet. After some quick formatting I has my 301 Redirects which I added to my .htaccess file.

This project was a snap and did not take much time at all. Then I checked one of the greatest WordPress plugins of all time; Broken Link Checker. Broken Link Checker searches your blog for any broken links. You can customize the plugin to analyze links in your blogroll, comments, pages, posts and customized fields. You can select the plugin to look for HTML links, HTML images, plain text URLs, embedded Vimeo, DailyMotion and YouTube videos. I have Broken Link Checker analyzing my blogroll, comments, posts and pages looking at HTML links, HTML images and embedded YouTube videos.

Broken Link Checker reported that I had 350+ broken links after the migration. I forgot about every image I had uploaded for every post. The thought of clicking into 300+ blog articles and updating their URLs in WordPress was quite depressing. That task would take days and vast amounts of my sanity.

Then I clicked into Broken Link Checker’s report. It lists 30 broken links at a time and you can hover over an individual link and enter the revised URL right in the tool.

Broken Link Checker

This was a lovely discovery and would save tons of time, but I would still have hours of link editing ahead of me. Then I saw the nifty “Bulk Actions” drop down, and noticed one of the options was “Edit URL.” So I checked all available URLs and then selected the “Edit URL” option.

Broken Link Checker - WordPress Plugin

Are you kidding me? I can now edit 30 URLs at once? The Seattle area clouds parted and the sunlight engulf my very pale Pacific Northwest complexion. I set the “Find” field to locate all URLs with < > and then set the “Replace with” field with < > and clicked Update. In seconds 30 URLs were updated with the proper link. I was able to rewrite 350+ links in under 10 minutes.

Since my blog is five plus years old tons of links in my comments and some older posts were no longer rendering and in fact were 404 pages. In the Broken Link Checker tool you can not only rewrite a link but you can remove the link, so I unlinked all of those. Now my blog has no broken links and that makes the search engine crawlers happy and I enjoy making them happy. If they are happy then I increase my chances of appearing higher in the search engine results pages and getting more traffic. Not only does it help the search engine crawlers zip through your site without hitting dead-end links, but it improves your user experience too. Nothing is more irritating than clicking on a reference link in an article to see a 404 error page.

If you are using WordPress then you must install the Broken Link Checker plugin. It is simple to use, reduces link maintenance time and provides great value.  Install the plugin and make your WordPress blog a better place for users and crawlers.


Author: Garth O'Brien provides SEO, Social Media and Community Management consulting services. He can help boost the online presence of a small local business or global enterprise corporations in both Google and Bing.

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