The secret to repairing broken links in WordPress

If you’ve been following this blog then you’ll know how keen we are on Evergreen content.  (If you’re not sure what that is, then follow this link to read the post). One of the biggest advantages of Evergreen content is that it never gets old.  It continues to add value to readers, pretty much forever.

But that doesn’t mean that you can neglect your Evergreen content either.  Nobody likes getting 404 errors right?

One of the things that this type of long-lasting content does require is maintenance, and particularly for broken links.  If you leave your site with broken links it creates a bad experience with your readers.   Your website may not change, but sites, blog posts, pictures or even newspaper and magazine articles may change over time.  This is a problem if you have links to them in your posts, because they will break.

As you know, we work exclusively with the WordPress platform, that’s our area of speciality.  So what do we use in WordPress to solve this problem?  We use a neat little plugin called Broken Link Checker by Janis Elsts.  With over 3 million downloads, this popular plugin reviews all the content in your website and determines whether links in your content are still valid.  This means that you don’t have to spend hours checking links manually.

The reason we love this plugin is because of it’s magical properties. (ok, so we slightly exaggerate!)

But think about what happens if a website completely disappears, the URL gets hijacked by an opportunist, or someone decides to delete an article you linked to?  What then?  Do you lose the value that this particular piece of content brought your post?  The answer can be found in the Internet Wayback Machine (also known as the Internet Archive web.internet.org).  This service takes periodic samples of many websites on the internet and saves them for historical purposes.  This means that there may well be a copy of deleted content available on this archive.

Now you could go to the site and search for particular content, but there is an easier way.

The Broken Link Checker plugin actually gives you an option called “Edit URL” that gives you the option to manually type a new URL.   And it also gives you the suggested link from the Internet Wayback Machine as well, so you can link directly to the archived content.  Pretty nifty huh?

So now you have another great secret for keeping your Evergreen content …well …Evergreen!

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