Sunday, January 17, 2010

Simple Subject Sunday: Weed the Garden!

Colorful Garden by Hamed Saber
Attribution License
How often do you read through your archives? How do you check for broken links? Do you edit your tags? If you caught a grammatical error in a blog posting from your archives, would you fix it?

These are all pertinent questions to think about when you write a blog that you hope people will follow. Weed the Garden if you want to keep it looking good. If your links are dead, your article loses some of its meaning. I recommend checking archives, but I know that is time consuming.

Here is what I do: When I'm writing an article about a particular topic that's related to early works, I check out the links in the archived article BEFORE I include a link in the new article. This is a great way to find dead links. It's surprising how many websites change their actual names for their web pages.

Checking this links is very important for another reason. It is the way that you cite your sources, so it's critical to keep these citations current.

I wish there were some dynamic agent or web app that could check links, but I don't know of one. Do you? If so, it would be wonderful if you would share it here.


Ali Hall said...

I tend to review old posts every now and then and in fact I found a dead link in one only the other day. I didn't know what to do with it. In the end I didn't do anything because I felt that the tool that I was writing about still deserved to be mentioned as a pioneer of web 2.0 tools. If the tool had just moved I would probably have altered the old post then.

samccoy said...

I'm glad you mentioned the point about links that die, not links that are changed on the website. You make a good point that some historicity is very helpful to tell us where we've been.

Keeping the old, dead links could also help track older interactive tools. Some were actually better than the ones available today. Pownce comes to mind right away. It became popular, leveled off and then died on the vine with the rise of Twitter.