The best practices for linking your website copy will make sense if you think of your website as a spider web. You want your readers and potential clients to experience everything your website has to offer. Linking your copy correctly creates that spider web—mini relationships with other webpages and media on the Internet.
Readers won’t linger long and they are more likely to scan then read large blocks of text, so it is important to make the most of every letter, word and sentence. Below are five best practices to keep in mind when linking your content.
1. Avoid empty language.
When introducing a link, avoid phrases and words like “click here” or “website.” Embed your language directly into the sentence text.
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Directly linking your content lets the reader know where they are headed (if they choose to follow the link), and it takes away the emphasis of the technical “clicking,” allowing the focus to remain on your well-written and engaging content.
2. Link internally and externally.
It is important to help the reader navigate your website by linking to relevant pages on your website and other sites. Linking to external websites is an opportunity to provide your reader with additional resources. Based on your content, you can direct them to a different website for more information. You can also link externally to cite a source or give credit to another website or company.
Linking internally helps the reader steer deeper into your website and helps drive traffic to other pages. Common pages to link to within your own site are pages with contact information, biography information and service/practice landing pages.
3. Link more than one word.
If you want a reader to click your link, don’t make it difficult.
Be sure you are linking more than one word. This makes it easy to hover over the link and successfully click. No one wants to steady their hand, squint their eyes, and move their face closer to the computer screen to click a word with two letters (they won’t, either).
4. Force the page to open in a new window … sometimes.
A link can be forced to open in a new window with basic HTML code. Many content management systems provide this option when linking text. Some believe that forcing your link to open in a new window will ensure the reader eventually return to your content, even if they get lost for a few minutes on the new webpage. Others find it irritating to have multiple windows of the same website open at once.
When deciding which option is better for your content, consider your audience. Most of the world understands that the “back” button at the top of your browser will return you to the previous webpage you were viewing. If you have faith that your audience understands the concept of the return arrow, you may want to forget the new window technique. Better to err on the side of caution than risk annoying your reader.
However, each situation varies. Consider the context of the sentence and make a decision that keeps things simple for the majority of your audience.
5. End your sentence with a link.
If you can make it work without using empty language or sacrificing clarity, ending your sentences with links is an effective way to help a reader recognize where to click. Completing your sentence with a link makes it very clear to the reader where to click. The alternative requires a reader to scan what was already read to find the link again.
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In a large block of text, ending your sentence with a link will prove to be less hassle for your reader.
Embedding Links Directly Into Text
Embedding your links directly into a sentence (like they are on this blog post) is simple. In Microsoft Word, highlight the text you want to link. Then right click. You will get a list of actions.
The hyperlink option will usually have a globe icon next to it. This is standard in most content management systems and blogging software. Microsoft Word is no different. Click on the word “hyperlink.” A next box should appear with the title “Insert Hyperlink.”
On the left side of the box you will find several linking options. The most important is the first tab, “Existing File or Webpage.” If you want to link to a website (or file from your computer) this is where you should be. In the text box at the very bottom of the screen insert your link. You can copy it directly from Google, or type it in. Click “OK.”
The text should appear underlined and blue in your document. If you hover your mouse over the link a little box will appear with the URL that is connected with the hyperlinked phrase.
Talk To Us
The team at PaperStreet can always assist with best linking practices. If you have a question or would like to hire our team of writers to create unique and original content for your website (with proper links, of course) reach out to our team.