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Chapter 6. Working with Links > Smart Linking Strategies

Smart Linking Strategies

Links exist so visitors will click on them. Although there's no single right way to make a link, keep these tips in mind so that your links will make people want to click on them (Figures 6.43 and 6.44).

  • Link on a meaningful word or phrase that gives the user some idea of where they're headed; people may scan for things to click.

    Right: Visit our renewable energy resource page to find out more.

    Wrong: Click here to find out more about renewable energy.

  • When you link to something other than an HTML page, such as a sound or multimedia file, warn the user what's coming, and how big the file is.

    Right: Combustion (AU File, 153K)

    Wrong: My Friend Larry (This is wrong if it points to a 500K MIDI file with no warning.)

  • If you're linking words within a sentence, stop the link before the punctuation, and don't underline spaces unnecessarily.

    Right: I grew up in Texas, Michigan, and Sri Lanka.

    Wrong: The best red wines come from France, Italy, Germany, and California, in that order.

  • Making links into non sequiturs (such as the word cheese pointing to a Kung Fu movie site) can work well for irreverent sites but isn't as effective when you want someone to visit a particular page on purpose.

  • If you rely on images (particularly button bars or image maps) as navigational tools, be sure to provide text equivalents of the same links.

  • Come up with house rules about link length and structure, and stick to them.

  • Use readable link colors. Make sure the text is visible on top of any background colors or images you use.



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