When you go to a website, looking for information, you expect to find at least some basics about the business. What they do, their philosophy, their owners or staff, contact information, maybe some pictures, reviews or examples of their work. That’s the basic expectations most people have. As long as the information is readable and accessible, these expectations are easily met. What about when it’s just not there?
I’m not talking about pages or links that were never created. I’m referring to links that go nowhere. The dreaded “404: File Not Found” or when being sent to another website, the receiving site has no idea what you are looking for. For Facebook, the message is “Sorry, this page isn’t available. The link you followed may be broken, or the page may have been removed.”
Linking to outside sites can be very helpful. Expert articles, reference resources and guides are great tools for your customers. Creating more traffic to your Facebook page can increase your visibility and customer base. The problem comes when, for one reason or another, the link is broken. It’s a dead end. This will frustrate customers, and even make them reconsider using your business.
You have a responsibility to yourself, your business and your customers to make sure that everything on your website is functioning the way you want it to be. If you have a link to your Facebook page, make sure that is where it goes; your Facebook page. If you have links to outside resources, check them every now and then to make sure that the pages and entire websites are still there. Sometimes the page has moved on the same website (redesigns, indexing, updates all can cause this). Sometimes, the website has completely shut down or the business has changed URLs.
Make a date with your website once a month, and mark it on your calendar. Click through every link on your site to make sure that it goes where it is supposed to, that the forms for contacting you are sent to the right place, and there are no error messages that might frustrate customers. If you are too busy, there are websites and software programs that will even do this for you. Either way, make sure that you do it. If you find something wrong, a broken link or missing page, fix it immediately. It’s like any other repair: the longer you let it go, the more damage it can cause.