Web Design Tips – What Will Make Your Visitors Stay on Your Website (Part 3)

These web design tips will describe how to effectively make use of links in your website. Read on to know more about the Right and Wrong Way to Use Links.

Avoid underlining words if they are not links. Generally, underlined words on the web are supposed to be links. If you underline words or phrases gratuitously, your users will eventually be annoyed especially if they’ve been clicking on the underlined words or phrases only to discover that they are not links. The use of italics or boldface is a good method to emphasize something.

Links must be blue or underlined, or both. In case you haven’t noticed, 99% of the time, links are either blue or underlined on the web. Substituting it with another color is acceptable as long as you underline the word or phrase. If you don’t want to underline, just keep the link blue. This is the general clue that a link is a link. Not using this rule can confuse or annoy your visitors, and this is the last thing that you want to happen. However, links in menus don’t necessarily have to be blue or underlined as long as they’re menu items. Underlining or making use of blue links is applicable only to texts in the middle of the page.

Always explain what you’re linking to. A 1 to 5-sentence description is enough to describe your link. The idea is give the visitors an idea of what or where they’re landing after they click the link. You’re giving them the liberty to decide whether or not they’re going to those sites. Writing descriptions is one way of helping your users find what they are looking for and avoid things that they are not looking for.

Internal links must not be opened in a new window. For a while I thought opening a new window when a user clicks a link is beneficial. However, I realized rather belatedly that this only annoys users especially when they have to deal with gazillions of open windows on their screen. When it is an external link (it points to other sites) it’s okay to open new windows but not with internal links. Besides, your visitors can still get around your site because you DID include a good navigation menu (found on the top or left part

Make use of descriptive link text. The anchor text (text of the link) must describe what it is being linked to. For example, if the link is directed towards your products, the anchor text must be products or other related words. Avoid the following words as anchor texts as they do not serve as guide for your users: link, here, click here and the likes.