Broken Link
September 13, 2018
An Email Marketing Glossary Entry

What is a Broken Link?

A broken link is a hyperlinked element that points to a non-existing resource. Such links are often referred to as 404's -- the HTTP error code for "not found."

What is the Impact of Broken Links in Email Marketing?

There are two types of broken links: embedded media and actionable links.

A broken embedded media link is an image file referenced in the message -- such as the header or business logo -- that cannot be found on the server it is stored on. The impact of such broken links is that either nothing shows up on the receiving end, or the image is replaced by an empty area.

A broken actionable link is an outbound reference to a resource that does not exist. When the user taps the linked element, the browser shows the website's 404 page.

Both type of errors can cause confusion for the user and severely limit the impact of an email campaign.

How to Deal with Broken Links?

Typically, a link becomes broken when the network cannot resolve the address, or when the resource cannot be found. Most 404's can be attributed to one of the following.

  • The host server goes offline.
  • A page is moved or removed without a redirect.
  • The URL is incorrect
  • Access to the resource is blocked by the browser

Before you send out an email to your entire list, make sure all your links (embedded and actionable) are working correctly. You can flag broken links in your email source code using a broken link checker such as the LinkMiner browser extension (reviewed here.) To do this, save your HTML code and load it in the browser, then let LinkMiner or a similar tool do the rest.

Also Known as:

  • 404
  • Dead link
The Mailman

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