Get smart with link text

Metal chain links

A link is a word, group of words, or image that you can click on to jump to a new page within the current website, a new location on the current page or a completely different website. Links guide us around the internet, be it by clicking on a search result in Google or navigating around a website.

How often have you come across the words “click here” whilst surfing the web? And how often have you been drawn to these words and followed the instruction, only to hit the back button because the link didn’t lead you where you wanted to go?

Most users skim read or scan through web pages looking for information, often not reading in detail and links are one of the things that are going to jump out at them. A link saying “click here” will still be seen, however it’s not going to tell them what will happen when they click, and could therefore be ignored. Plus, as websites are viewed on different devices, such as mobile phones and tablets, there’s increasingly less “clicking” happening!

So what should I write instead?

The W3C (World Wide Web Consortium), whose purpose is to develop guidelines and standards for the web, suggest that link text should explain what a link offers and provide information when read out of context. The use of meaningful link text can increase the accessibility and usability of your website by providing a descriptive link that tells users where exactly they are going to and what is going to happen. Here are a few examples:

Rather than…

To follow me on Twitter, click here.

use…

Follow me on Twitter @WiseGenius

Instead of…

Click here to find out what our clients have said about us.

try…

Read more about what our clients have said about us.

It is also a good idea to use action orientated language to encourage visitors to take the action the link is requesting.

Rather than …

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how about…

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Get smart and improve your website today – clear out “click here”!

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