Mink Machine

The importance of valid links

A major CMS company recently had a large restructure of their site. Unfortunately the link management seems to be have had a low priority. For example, some of the links look like this:

javascript:__doPostBack(‘ctl00$MainRegion$MainContentRegion$repCategories
$ctl02$LinkButton4′,”)

Which means you cannot copy it or even open in a new tab. These kind of links are quite common when using ASP.NET web controls out of the box.

The benefits of proper links should be obvious: Friendly to search engines, possibility to bookmark or paste it for future reference, open in a new tab for reading convenience, sending it to a friend and so on.

In addition to the above, a lot of links are also broken. Many have been broken for ages even on the old site but a lot more broken links have appeared after the restructure, all with the same terrible error message. This is bad for a number of reasons. Search hits on Google will come to a broken page and scare off the users. Previous bookmarks will no longer work and people will have to find that special page once more (this happens to me all the time). All of this from a company that develop a market-leading CMS.

A simple way to handle it would be to write redirects from the old addresses to the new ones. When there are no counterparts, show a friendly message with pointers on where to go instead. This is not exactly rocket science but many choose to neglect the broken links altogether.

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