Content managers not only create new content, they also have to maintain and optimise existing content. While the process of content creation requires human creativity (at least up to the point where artificial intelligence will surpass us), maintenance and optimisation can be considerably facilitated with the help of the right tools. Your CMS should therefore be able to support you in preventing any invalid links on your online platform. As of Gentics CMS Release 5.35, a new custom tool is available for just that purpose – the link checker.
What are the problems that are caused by broken links?
Many businesses and organisations still underestimate the fact that a large number of users are very critical when it comes to the quality and functionality of website content. Search engines are also focusing on quality and punish websites with many defects. Content managers are faced with many situations in which mistakes can easily happen. The three most frequent ones are mistakes in spelling and grammar, language levels that do not fit the target group as well as broken links. As the name already suggests, the link checker helps to avoid the third problem. Broken links are those hyperlinks to other pages or sections which lead nowhere and result in a page showing an error message. Link targets have to be classified as internal or external in order to deal with this problem.
Links to other pages within the same CMS are called internal links. Gentics CMS has always had a mechanism to send out an email or system message informing content managers whenever an internal link has become invalid. This usually happens if the target page of the link is taken offline or deleted. In such a case, the last user who edited the page is notified so he or she can edit the content. This process works as a security mechanism: Before taking a target page offline or deleting it, the respective person can use the Usage view to check whether the page is referred to by other pages and take the appropriate measures.
Links to other websites are more challenging: A link that was valid at the time of publication may become invalid later on. This problem can only be solved with the help of a dedicated tool which regularly checks all the links of website. As of Release 5.35 “Alex”, Gentics CMS therefore supports the link checker tool which can be used to check links to external websites.
How can I find incorrect links in my project?
Once the link checker has been configured, it is triggered via the “Tools” menu on the user interface and displays all invalid links which have been found by a background job that is executed in regular, configurable intervals. The list of invalid links can then be searched by project, and any pages concerned can be opened and edited directly from there.
The CMS pages highlight invalid links in the Aloha Editor sidebar. As soon as you click an element, the CMS page scrolls to the respective position and the dialogue for editing content elements is opened.
Within the user interface, a warning symbol alerts to current issues such as broken links.
Where do I get the link checker?
Contact us if you are interested in this custom tool. Once it has been unlocked, your CMS administrator can activate it and configure the link checker as well as the scheduler task which is required for the tool to work. See the link checker feature guide for more details.
Where can I learn more about this topic?
APA-IT is offering a comprehensive Whitepaper on web governance. This document not only deals with invalid links but also gives detailed information on further quality assurance measures, search engine optimization (SEO) and accessibility. It is available for download via the Whitepaper page of the APA-IT website.