Maintaining a links page is a pain ... which is why most links lists have so many broken links.
My goal was to check each link every other year. I hope this will keep the broken links below 5%.
To do this, I placed a "check date" and have a report that lists sites by check date. If the site is still there when I check it, I bump the date. The hard part is that I have to check an eighth of the sites each quarter.
The Link Report shows how many links I add and delete each quarter. I fell a bit behind. To catch up, I checked some four thousand links this month and deleted 1000 of them. I fixed a few hundred others.
The grand total says I've deleted 8,326 links. There are 22,625 links in the directory with a grand total of 30,951. So, about 27% of the links I've added to the directory have gone dark through the years. 37% of the links added before 2007 have gone blank.
I've noticed that when I go to web sites, I usually find that from 20 to 40 percent of their links have gone bad.
In the Community Color project, i am linking to web sites for towns in the Mountain West. In my link deleting fury I discovered that government owned web sites rarely go blank. There have been a few that moved to a different URL. Big brand names and big corporations rarely go blank.
Almost all of the attrition was small businesses, family owned stores, family farms, artists, bands, nature photographers and privately owned creative efforts.
All of the little small mom-and-pop web sites that I was rooting for are failing.
The web is all about linking. If no-one links to small mom-and-pop web sites, then they will go away. The reason I built community color was of a hope that I could encourage people to link their sites together so more small web businesses could succeed.
Pulling 1000 web sites from the directory means that 1000 dreams failed and it is sad.