Broken links are like vampires in the sense they suck away your potential to keep visitors engaged (and your business having the chance to convert on an offer).

Over time, websites become quite massive so when you begin playing around with the pages it becomes very easy to break quite a few links.

Normally what would happen is you receive an email (hopefully) from someone having trouble accessing a page or you stumble across them through your analytics. But what if you have a huge site? One that may happen to have a plethora of broken links.

Well… there are tools for that.

Quick note: Some of the online services do provide great help but still have a slight annoyance to them due to advertising so if you can bear with it then you’re a-okay.

BrokenLinkCheck.com

Standard and straight forward. Plug in the address of the website you want to check, select whether you want distinct or all instances, and then let it do its thing. Shouldn’t take too long to find the distinct ones but if you’re trying to find them all it will be a while so go and do something else in the meantime.

Link: http://www.brokenlinkcheck.com/

Validator.w3.org/checklink

The W3C site has always been great for understanding the validity of your code, learning about the Web, and more. The tool they’ve created is quite comprehensive and probably the best online tool for this service because it’s simple.

Link: http://validator.w3.org/checklink

Xenu Link Sleuth

Xenu is for the power user. It goes very deep into your website to find all those broken links but it has many different uses that are worth your while. The interface is certainly dated but it is, hands down, the best program for digging through the site. It has a slight learning curve but once you’ve mastered it you won’t be using any others.

Link: http://home.snafu.de/tilman/xenulink.html

The Importance

I already covered the fact that having broken links can be frustrating for your users but it also begins to do a number on your search engine optimization.

Google isn’t finding those pages but more importantly is the fact that someone may have picked up that broken link and created a new website that may not be the best to link to (shady sites). You suddenly linking a ton to a shady neighborhood isn’t good in Google’s book so it’s always good to curate those broken links when you find them.

Now knowing this… will fixing broken links be on your to-do list?