Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Tea Blog Maintenance: Fixed 57 Broken Links

This blog is pretty inactive; nowadays I put most of my energies into RateTea, while also publishing on my newer blogs Teacology and SpontaneiTea. I also run the RateTea Tumblr, which I highly recommend checking out, especially if you're on Tumblr, but even if you're not.

But this blog still gets a lot of traffic and visibility. Many of the posts receive a lot of Google search traffic.

Today I ran an automated check to scan for broken links, and I turned up 57 broken links! It took considerable effort to fix these, but I've fixed all of them, because I realize that many people use this blog as a reference, and I want to keep it as up-to-date as possible.

Why did links break, and what can businesses and webmasters learn from this?

The links that broke on my blog broke for a wide variety of reasons. An overwhelming majority of links that broke, however, broke due to changes, sometimes very minor, in the URL scheme of the websites they were hosted on. In one case, the NY Times had changed one link from a .htm suffix to a .html suffix, without a redirect, and this caused my link to break. In another case, a journal had changed the order in which they put the two unique numerical identifiers. In other cases, the page was still up but had been moved to a completely different URL. These moves all caused an unnecessary loss, including a financial one, both for the publishers of these websites, and for my site and its readers. Redirects are so easy to carry out!

I want to draw attention to my old post on link permanence and the importance of keeping the same URL scheme.

Some of the links broke for other reasons. In many cases, tea blogs or businesses, have been closed down, and in a few cases, individual articles or posts were removed without a clear explanation, even though the rest of the site was still up.

When possible, I tried to find the original articles when the site had taken them down. In many cases, this was possible with the help of I also found one article on The Free Library, which can be a good place to look for journal or magazine articles that are no longer available on their original sites.

I hope people can continue to enjoy and use this site as a reference. I'm surprised not only by how many views and visits this blog continues to get, but that I am still getting comments actively as well! Thank you to all the readers of this blog out there, and also thank you to all the companies, bloggers, and webmasters that have kept consistent URL schemes and/or used redirects so as to help save me the work of fixing broken links.

And Happy New Year too, when that comes in just a few hours!