If a website has an important story to tell it’s almost certainly going to need more than one page. In that case, we would send visitors to our other pages or offer them access external sites.
Since they both require website links, let’s look at the best ways to make our links more effective for site visitors.
1. Replace “click here” with a more relevant term
A good practice is to give web users an idea of the content they can expect to find when they click on a website link.
Words like “click here” divert reader attention away from the message and towards mouse mechanics.
The phrase doesn’t reveal what the user is clicking on, so they must mentally render the surrounding text to grasp the link’s context. The extra reader brain-load diminishes their website experience.
Example: Read about music’s impact on memory.
2. Clear underlining or marking of the link text
Users once came to expect blue and underlined words to belong to a link, but many websites now just use a strong standout colour.
The styling of your links is set by your web developer and you usually don’t have in-built options to change them.
The tips here: Underlined or highlighted non-link text can be misleading. Keeping text plain helps the links stand out in their own right.
3. Opening the link in a new window
Website user experience experts have mixed views about whether the link should open in a new window or in the same one.
Using the same window replaces the existing page and requires the browser back button to return to the starting point. Opening up a new window requires the visitor to switch across to it. Either way, you won’t satisfy everyone.
Above all the navigation process should be clear to users and it should be dead easy for them to go back.
A better link strategy
1. A link to another place on your site – open the new page in the same window (the menu does this).
2. A link to an external website – open in new window (so they don’t lose their place on your site).
3. Be open to exceptions. For example, we might use the existing window if the link is a natural progression to another site and especially if access to our own is no longer likely. That could be for a link to a specific purpose page like a portal login.
How do you control link windows?
For a WordPress user, you can choose whether or not links open in a new window when you create the link. Set links as you normally would. The cogwheel opens a window where you can choose (or leave blank) the option to open in a new window or tab.
4. Check links after updating the page
An easy mistake to make is not using the full and correct URL address. Boom! The website link won’t work.
It’s an easily made and common mistake.
Rather than risking our visitors’ disappointment, it pays to click test the links after the page goes live. Then we can be sure each link is working properly.
Also, busy websites keep changing so we can also expect links to get broken from time to time. Solutions are to use a browser plugins that reports link errors when we visit a page, or to install a broken link checker on the website.
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Providing visitors with website links that make browsing easy helps to improve user experience.
In turn, people will regard your site as being more credible and be prepared to return and stay for longer periods.