How to Use Hyperlinks Effectively
For those unfamiliar with web-based jargon, the word ‘hyperlink’ might sound slightly mysterious. But even if you haven’t heard the term before, chances are that if you’ve done any navigation at all on a website that has probably been assisted by helpful hyperlinks.
A hyperlink is whatever you click on to take you to another webpage – be that within the same website or on another. Hyperlinks can be ‘anchored’ to text; and if that is the case you will generally notice that the phrase or word will be blue and underlined. This means that it has an ‘active’ hyperlink, and will take you to a page with more information about that particular topic. For example, if you are interested in reading more about what a hyperlink is, you can have a hyperlink embedded in an image or photo – perhaps on a sidebar advertisement.
Hyperlinks can be set up to either open in a new browser window, or in the same one. It can be irritating to come across a hyperlink which opens up a new page in place of the one you are already on, as you might not have finished reading everything you wanted to in the current window.
Once you understand what a hyperlink is, it is very important to ensure that your website uses them effectively. The example above shows how a poorly thought-out hyperlink might cause visitors to your website to simply ‘bounce’ away, and never return.
Two simple tips for effective hyperlink usage are:
Utilise Your Home Page Hyperlinks. Your home page is where visitors will primarily land, and from there they should be able to easily navigate whatever areas of your site interest them the most. Make sure you use all possible anchor text opportunities to hyperlink (also known as ‘internal linking’) to your other website pages. This can be done skilfully so that the content still flows well.
Check for ‘Dead Links’.There is nothing worse than clicking a hyperlink to find out more about something, and ending up on a page which says ‘sorry, this webpage could not be found’. This could be due to incorrect linking, or just being out of date. Make sure you check your website regularly so this doesn’t happen.
If you make sure your website has good, active hyperlinks throughout your content, then you will be well on your way to maximising your site visitor experience. Your web development company should be able to advise you about hyperlink usage, and help you implement them effectively.