Linking done right

Links are one of the most basic parts of HTML. They’re everywhere and usually pretty useful. One thing I really hate to see is bad linking practices. A link named “click here” tells me nothing. For all I know you’re trying to lure me into downloading a virus or some phishing scam (or perhaps worse, Rick-roll me). Here are a couple quick tips on how to link effectively:

  • Name your link something that makes sense. You want to clue the user into where they’re going. “Online Registration Form” makes much more sense than something generic like “click here.” It’s irritating and even scary to not know what you’re getting into and by giving your links good names, you can instill a sense of trust and¬†legitimacy¬†in your site. As an added bonus, well named links should help your search engine scores.
  • Surprises are a bad thing. If you’re linking to a PDF or a video file and it’s going to trigger something to download or open a plugin, you should tell the user this beforehand. A simple icon in front of the link or a description like “(PDF)” after a link can really improve user experience. People like to know what to expect and it’s easy to tell them. At the very least put a description in the title attribute so a user can get an idea while hovering over the link.

It’s really pretty simple but by keeping these things in mind we can make a better, friendlier web.

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