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Even if there are good tools to automate the process, a visual hand check can't hurt every so often to make sure the links are going to where it's beneficial and won't do any harm.
One SE script I run has an option when spidering to disregard sites that have more than 1/2/3 redirects etc, which is one of those little good things that you can have to increase the quality of mass volume listings.
Though it seems that inevitably any serious directory has to have some way of comprehensively scanning its links for things like re-directs/404's
Getting a link verifier at least gets rid of the fluff.
Bill / BHoL - how do I use Frontpage to open all of the links I have in one go ?
I have been using the link verifier within Frontpage but unfortunately this seems to still register links as verified if the site to which I am linking delivers some kind of "whoops no url" type message instead of the 404 (?) error - hence the desire for me to physically see and verify each of the pages that I link to.
I have one page with around 300 links on it and cannot face the prospect of clicking on every single one each week !
Unless you are linking to a lot of changing content, e.g., newspaper articles, contests, etc., I really don't think you'll see much degradation in your links.
One thing to watch out for - there are some sites that do a server-side ban on Xenu (and probably other common private bots, or even FrontPage), so be sure to check any "dead" links in your browser before you delete them - the site may come up just fine in IE.
Select the file(s) or part of the site you want to check links for, then choose "Check Links" from the File menu.
As well as checking for broken links, it also allows you to check for orphaned files (files that don't have any links pointing to them).