As of April 2007, the average MU Extension county office website has an
average of 200 broken links. Some have far more. Broken links make a
frustrating experience for visitors and lower the overall credibility of
MS FrontPage provides an easy way to check for and correct broken links
in your Web pages. Here are the steps.
1. Open MS FrontPage and log into your county office site.
2. At the bottom of the application, when you are in the "web site" view,
there is a series of tabs across the bottom edge of the window. Look for the
one called "Reports" and select it. (It may take a minute or so for the
reports view to appear.)
3. The report summary will come up, then click on either "Hyperlinks" or
"Broken hyperlinks" to change to that report. You will immediately be
asked if you would like FrontPage to verify the hyperlinks in the site. Say yes. FrontPage will check every link to see if it works.
4. Sort the list of links by their status, so broken links come to the
top. Now you can look through the broken links.
You can fix links quickly if you know what the correct URL for the
link is — i.e. mdc.mo.us has changed to mdc.mo.gov (Dept of
Just double-click on the link and change the URL to the correct one.
If you don't know what the link should be or want to remove it
altogether, double-click on the broken link, then click "edit page" to bring
up the page where the broken link occurs. The link area will be highlighted
if it is text. Make your changes, then save and close the page to get
back to the report.
TIPS for fixing broken links
A few links will appear to be broken but are actually OK.
These are links to pages or directory names within the MU Extension site
where the page ends in .shtml. FrontPage will assume these are broken,
but in fact they probably work. That is, if you see a link to /wcregion/ listed as
broken, you can test it yourself, but it will be OK. There is
typically a small percentage of these, but it can be annoying.
Links that start with file://c:... or
file://Q:... will always be broken because that is
a local hard drive or server that is not accessible via the Web. To fix these, you will need to move the linked file out to the Web server
rather than store it on your hard drive or share drive.
Below: screenshot of the summary report
Unlinked files are ones that were added to the website at one time but
are no longer used — they aren't linked from any page, so visitors cannot
get to them. They are just taking up valuable server space and should
be removed. If you think they might have some future value or use, you
should copy them to either your hard drive, a CD, or your shared server
space for storage. The website should not be used as general
storage space for old files. It is NOT a filing cabinet.
The Unlinked Files report in FrontPage will show you a list of files that
are not being used or linked to by any other pages in your site. Most
commonly these will be images that were uploaded with a page that is no
longer used or has been removed, or files that were registration forms for
past events, etc.
In the example screenshot above, the report shows there are 23 megabytes
of unlinked files (321 total files). That's about 30% of the volume of the
Don't just go to the list and delete them all, though. Make sure they
really are old, unused files.
If it's five years old, is it really news any more? Probably not.
Are you sure you need all fifty of those photos from the 2003 4-H picnic
on the website?
Please audit your websites for old, out of date and irrelevant content. Remove old files
— move them to your hard drive or shared office file
server if you want to keep them for posterity.
A newsletter archive is OK as long as every document is clearly dated and
the collection is labeled as an archive. Otherwise you could be giving
people out of date and inaccurate information that they perceive as current.
If the newsletters are old but there are a few articles from them that
you want to keep, pull them apart and put the articles on individual pages
as articles, not news. Before you take the time to do that, though, do a
search to see if the same (or similar) article is already published
somewhere else in the MU Extension website — i.e. on Missouri Families or
AgEBB. You might be able to just link to the same information.