About broken linksBroken link is an hyperlinks that lead to web pages that do not exist.
There are many reasons for the existence of broken links, the most common is Ageing pages.
Aging page is a web page that has been removed from the web site, since it is no longer relevance.At this time all the links leading to this page should have been updated, but in most cases the web master is not aware to the fact and can't make the needed update.
Other common reasons for broken links are:
1. Typing errors while creating the web page.
2. Web site structure changes. Links that has been defined relative to the current web site structure, but since the creation of the page, the web site structure has been changed and the page wasn't updated.In most cases when you click a broken link you will see the famous Error 404 page, More sophisticated web masters create a special web page that display The "Page not found" and offer some degree of help for example: A snap shot of New York University main website's Error 404 page offer a search box to look for an alternative content.
Broken links are major source of embarrassment for the visitor in the web site as well as to the web site owner.
For every person who complains about a broken link, there are a multitude of others who just give up on the site out of frustration.
The best way to deal with broken links is to make a periodical broken link check. A broken link check should be done with a broken links checker every month and after content updates. "KeepNI tools" is a perfect choice for the job.
I would like to quote some well known web writers who wrote about broken links.
Gerry McGovern in his article "Broken links and poor information architecture design" writes:
"Links are an essential infrastructure that allow web content to be navigable. Without links, you might as well pile all the billions of documents on the Web into one huge container. Link management is thus an important part of the activity of running a website. A broken link is a sign of an unprofessional website."
Paul Adams in his article "The HTTP Error 404 antidote" writes:
"So what does your average Web surfer do when she hits a 404 page? At best, she trims the URL layer by layer until she finds what she's looking for, or returns to the home page and searches. At worst, she goes elsewhere and never returns to your site.
Either way, 404s represent a major bleed-off of traffic and source of user frustration, which, as hospitable Web providers, we want to do our best to avoid. So what can be done? "
Gina Trapani in her article "Nine things you can do to make your web site better" writes:
Serve "friendly" error messages. The most unhelpful, dead-end message you can get from a web server is: 404 Not Found …
A usable web site does a lot better than that. Hook up friendly error messages which include navigation to documents that do exist …