March 20, 2005
Blogging 101 - Click Here
By QBlog in Blogging 101
If you're new to blogging then you may also be new to linking content. Links, or hyperlinks, are references to other Web sites or files. Links are the lifeblood of the Web and can greatly enhance your content by providing context that wouldn't otherwise be available.
But how should you insert a link into your content? It's not as easy as it looks. For example, let's say you found a really cool video you want to link up in your blog post. Your post may look something like this:
Just saw an AWESOME Star Wars trailer. It's so cool. You gotta check it out. Click Here.
The above example is the wrong way to link the video. "Click Here" gives absolutely no context. It's also superfluous and makes the link virtually invisible to search engines.
Instead, try inserting the link within the flow of the content like this:
Just saw an AWESOME Star Wars trailer. It's so cool. You gotta check it out.
The link now makes more sense. It's about Star Wars and it's a trailer. It also doesn't disrupt the flow of your post with a big, intrusive "Click Here."
History of Click Here
In the early days of the Web, many believed that people needed clear directions about where to click. Those who were new to the Web didn't understand that an underlined word usually indicated a link and that by clicking that underlined word, they'd get access to additional content. And so "Click Here" was used as a way of guiding Web neophytes along the "Information Superhighway."
However, the Web has since become such a familiar fixture in our modern culture that such guidance is unnecessary and phrases like "Click Here" can actually detract from the value of content.
There are other ways to improve your linking. Using the "title tag" gives your link even more context. Example:
<a href="http://www.link.com" title="Descriptive Explanation of Link">Linked Text</a>
The title tag generally displays when you "mouse over" a link. Title tags also help search engines understand what the links are and makes it easier for them to return relevant results.
You should always be aware of the way links affect your content. Find the right balance. Here are a few tips:
- Too many links can be distracting and make your content difficult to read.
- Links that are too long can also negatively impact your blog post.
- Try to avoid linking punctuation. It's not necessary and looks silly. Same with "quotes" inside sentences. Linking quotes should be done by putting the link inside the "quote."
- Be careful with "hover links." If you don't know what a hover link is, don't worry about it. If you do, be sure that your hover link isn't bold or a different font size than the link text. Such spatial changes cause the text to "move" when moused over. It looks silly and can damage templates.
- IMPORTANT: Be sure you let people know when your link goes to a non HTML page. In the examples above I linked a movie file. I should have added some indication that the link was directly to a movie file.
Example: Just saw an AWESOME Star Wars trailer (Window Media File). This is especially important to do for pdf files, as you'll see demonstrated on this very blog.
- Linking the same word many times in a single post is unnecessary and annoying. For example, if your post is about the Saki Monkey then you shouldn't link the words Saki Monkey every time you mention the Saki Monkey. Two or three times is fine, and sometimes helps the post but if you have a lengthy entry and the word is used dozens of times, then don't link each instance of that word.
Finally, if you have anything to add to this post, please leave a comment. This post discusses text links only. I will discuss image links another day.
Blogging 101 publishes every Sunday and provides blogging tips, advice and tutorials for blog newbies and veterans alike