Don’t let broken links become a content banana skin – you’ve worked your socks off to create the content your customers want to see, so make sure they can view it.
The goal of your content is to develop your relationship with the reader and engage with them. If you create an expectation that the person is going to get some lovely content, then they click on it and it’s broken, then you will have made an enemy, not a friend.
I was browsing movies recently on a film rental site (that shall not be named) and happened upon ‘The Five-Year Engagement’ starring Jason Segel and Emily Blunt. I’m a big fan of Segel and on the side of the screen there was a news feed, with one of the articles sensationally talking about his new real-life girlfriend.
My interest piqued – don’t judge me… – I clicked on the headline, only to be taken to a broken link page. Before I clicked I was massively impressed at how personalised the news had been for someone interested in the product (the film), but after the click I rolled my eyes and went elsewhere with a poor opinion of the website.
All the goodwill the company had created with its content disappeared when the technical side of things fell down – bad links are bad news.
To make sure that your engaging, interesting, witty and relevant content is not being lost to broken links, your web developer should regularly crawl the site – using an application like Screaming Frog – and make amends where necessary.
A broader point here relates to accessibility; it is one thing to create brilliant content, but you need to make sure that it is accessible to readers. So make sure your website is set up in such a way that if I want to know who Jason Segel’s girlfriend is, I can.