Finding Dead Links in older Blog Posts. Another chapter in My How To Blog Adventure

Images and other media can enhance a blog post. Prior to using WordPress.com, I was using my own photos. Back then it never occurred to me that one could also link to or embed videos into posts.

WordPress.com offers really useful media features powered by Zemanta, which searches out other media. One great aspect is that the images that Zemanta finds for you, is that they are related to your blog post and that they are either Open Source, Public Domain or have Creative Commons with attribution licenses.

Many YouTube channels now allow one to embed their YouTube posted videos into your blog posts. I believe it benefits both parties by increasing interest in both the blog post and also the embedded video. For example, the fantastic Silvio Santos prank videos from Brazil are now known around the world, thanks to YouTube and the permission granted to embed those videos.

When I was strictly using my own photos, in blog posts on Zenfolio, it would be rare that a link to a photo would die. If I moved a photo or gallery, then yes I could end up with dead links in blog posts. I created separate non public galleries where I could place the photos which would be linked to. That way I could move around “public” galleries while retaining the private ones to ensure the links worked.

That’s the background. Most may be aware of this stuff. I have never claimed to be the brightest bulb and so am always finding out stuff that I had never thought to look for. When using media from other sources within your blog posts, you should first make sure that such media is in the Public Domain or that you are licensed to use it. You should include credits to the media used. The surprise, at least to me, was that you should also review your old blog posts (say every month) to make sure that the links to the media have not died.

This week I went thru some posts and found dead links to photos which had been suggested by Zemanta. The owner either moved the gallery or changed the license. In either case the photo was not available. Same thing happened to a video about Aerial Photography. Discussion forums also had posts moved and so links died.

This was rather unexpected. In hindsight, it makes full sense that changes happen in the dynamic environment called the internet. It also means that I will have to check prior posts to see if any external links are still working. As the blog grows this can become a time-consuming issue. I will now have to rethink adding links to public Domain, Open Source or Creative Common licensed media.

What Zemanta finds is often really neat. One idea is to create a private (Draft) blog post with links to external media  and a link to the blog post where it was used. That way I could just scroll thru one blog post to see if any links have died and then directly link to the specific blog post and edit it to remove the dead media link. Creating a separate blog post would take extra time, but could save time in the end.

The unexpected joy of housecleaning a blog…

Disclaimer: There could be unintentional errors and omissions in the post above. The above is provided without any warranty.  WordPress.com, YouTube and Zemanta are not affiliated with this blog and they do no endorse this blog post.

Advertisements