Creating in-text hyperlinks

Linking to other blogs, media reports, videos, images and references is at the heart of what blogging is all about.

Blogging is at a fundamental level hyperlinking.

Creating a link in WordPress is easy – in the post window, highlight the text that you want to represent the link then click on the little chain link icon in the toolbar as shown above. This will bring up a pop-up window. Paste the “url,” the web address copied from your browser, of the destination link into the field marked “Url” leave the “Title” field blank and click “add link”. WordPress creates the necessary code without you having to worry. If you make a mistake and want to remove the link: highlight the linked text and click on the broken chain link icon next to the icon circled in the image above.

Always use this way of embedding a link in a phrase of the text NEVER put a URL in your blog post as unformatted text.

The main rule about creating a good link is that the linked text should be a brief (usually 2-3 words – never more than five) phrase that can be read and understood independently from the rest of the text and that conveys something about the information at the other end of the text.

This is because research shows that users scan web pages rather than read them thoroughly so key elements that stand out – like coloured or underlined linked text – should convey as much as possible independent of adjoining text.

So for example in the above text I have linked to a report by web usability expert Jacob Nielson on how people read on the web – I have linked to the phrase which indicates the take home message of that page, rather than to the generic phrase “research shows”.

For example if I was linking to this post from somewhere else I would write:

Marcus O’Donnell has some useful tips about creating effective hyperlinks in your blog posts.

NOT

Marcus O’Donnell has some useful tips about creating effective hyperlinks in your blog posts.

This link text effectively tells the reader what information they will get when they click on the link but it is too long therefore it is distracting and can’t be scanned and comprehended quickly by the reader.

NOT

Marcus O’Donnell has some useful tips about creating effective hyperlinks in your blog posts. Click here to read more

This is a classic mistake. It gives no information when it is read alone and cannot be scanned by a quick reader.

NOT

Marcus O’Donnell has some useful tips about creating effective hyperlinks in your blog posts.

Again the information in the link text is none specific when read in isolation. Useful tips about what?

ABSOLUTELY NOT

Marcus O’Donnell has some useful tips (https://uowjournalism.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/creating-in-text-hyperlinks/) about creating effective hyperlinks in your blog posts.

This is just messy and does not utilise the capacity of hyperlinking code.

Be careful of the text you choose as the link text. There are no absolute hard and fast rules about this but there are some good general principles:

  • Links text should be between one and four words;
  • Your link text should should tell the reader something about where they are going so don’t use generic “click here” commands;
  • Try to make the link text as specific as possible;
  • Always link to the original if you are including a quote or making a comment about an online article or blog post;
  • Don’t over link: ask what links will really help your reader understand your post;
  • Don’t link to the obvious, or the non-specific such as the home page of a mainstream media website – link directly to the article concerned.
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