Three Nifty Ways to Enhance Your Hyperlinks

By Ali Luke

As soon as your blog is up and running, you’ll want to use links.

Some of those will point to other places on your blog – e.g. you might include a link from your “About” page to one of your best posts.

Others will link to posts on other people’s blogs or pages on their websites.

What you may not know is that WordPress has a couple of handy features that most bloggers never use … and there’s a third nifty trick you can do using a little bit of HTML. In this post, we’ll cover all three, to help you create more useful links for your readers.

Before we go too far, though…

Hyperlinks 101

… let’s do a very quick recap on some key terms.

(You may want to skim this section, if you’re already a fairly experienced blogger.)

A hyperlink or link is a clickable piece of text that leads to a web page, PDF, or other resource.

Anchor text is the text that the link is attached to. (In some cases, the text might be the link itself.) e.g.you can find lots of great posts on our site DailyBlogTips.

Here, the anchor text is “our site DailyBlogTips”.

If you’re using WordPress, it’s very easy to create a link:

  1. Highlight the anchor text you want to use.
  2. Click on the “link” icon in the visual editor.
  3. Enter the URL for the link.

But even if you’ve been doing this for years, you may not know about these:

Tip #1: Open Links in a New Tab

Why: Although users can choose to open a link in a new window/tab, you can force the link to do so. This can be useful if you’re linking to external resources (e.g. further reading) but you want to make sure readers don’t lose their place on your page.

How: When you create the link, check the box “Open link in a new window/tab”. Simple! If you prefer to use HTML code, then add target= “_blank” like this:

<a href="http://www.dailyblogtips.com " target="_blank ">

Whether it opens a new window or tab depends on their browser. The vast majority of readers use tabbed browsing, so they’ll get a new tab.

Tip #2: Create Hover-Over Text for a Link

Why: Sometimes, you may want to provide extra information in a little “pop up” box when the reader moves their mouse to click on a link. (This is more commonly done with images – place your cursor over any comic on xkcd for an example.)

How: When you create the link, enter the hover-over text you want in the Title box provided. It’s as simple as that! You could use this in conjunction with #1 to alert readers that “This link opens in a new window/tab.” Depending on the tone of your blog, you could also use it for humorous effect.

Tip #3: Link to a Location on the Same Page

Note: in the past, this was done using the “name” attribute, which is not supported in HTML 5.

Why: On long pages, it’s often useful to provide links between sections, or to have a table of contents as the start. This helps readers to navigate without lots of scrolling up and down.

Here’s an example: click this link to jump back up to tip #1.

How: This is trickier than #1 and #2 as you need to use HTML to (a) give the section you want to link to a unique id and (b) create a link to that section, not the page as a whole.

Here’s the code I used for that link:

<a id="newtab">#1: Open Links in a New Tab</a>
<a href="#newtab">click this link to jump back up to tip #1</a>

If I was linking from a different page, I’d use this for the second part of the code:

<a href="http://www.dailyblogtips.com/three-link-tips#newtab">
click this link to jump back up to tip #1</a>

(For more on using the id attribute, see this page on the w3schools site.)

 

How will you use one (or more!) of these tips on your blog? Let us know in the comments … and share your favourite linking tips too.




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6 Responses to “Three Nifty Ways to Enhance Your Hyperlinks”

  • Matthew Eaton

    Huh, I never knew about the third option. That’s actually pretty cool, even though I am not sure what I could do with it (yet).

    I’ll have to kick this around some and see what I can get. Thanks for sharing, much appreciated!

  • Ryan Dozier

    I just started doing tip # 1. This helped with some of the of the bounce I had on my google analyticis site.

  • Karleen

    I, too, have not used the third method. I have often wondered how that was accomplished so now I’ll have to try it out. Thanks!

    I’ve also wondered about the importance of opening a new window for a link or just staying on the site. I guess either way readers are “bouncing” off your site if you’re linking to an outside site but if you have it in another window, they are more apt to get back to your site because they don’t have to hit the “back” button. They just click back onto the page through the tab that’s still open.

    If you’re linking between pages on your own site, I guess it’s best to stay on the site and not “open in new window/tab”.

  • Ali Luke

    @Matthew — it’s something I’ve used in long pages (e.g. in online courses) and can be really handy. A lot of people don’t know about it!

    @Karleen — Yes, I’d definitely stick with opening in the same tab for pages on your own site. Your readers can always choose to open a link in a new tab if they want (by ctrl+click or right-clicking it).

  • Chris: Bloging in My Gene

    Thanks for the tips. I didn’t know about the #3 tip. In fact, I thought it was a very tough task to do. I will try to use it in the near future.

  • Donnie Sharma

    I tried using the third one #3,,,,,
    I have also wondered about the importance of opening a new window for a link or just staying on the site. ,,,,,,thanks for giving the advice for the future backlinks!!!!!!!!!

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