Sunday, May 25, 2014

Web writing. Links - how to use them

Copy writing for the Internet requires thinking about the text structure and taking into account the fact that majority of readers usually skim the page. And when that happens, links next to paragraphs, are definitely one of main elements drawing attention. We use them to share important information or send our readers to a source of additional details, so they are a crucial part of any online publication or website.

Here we go, do's and don'ts:
1. Try to avoid phrases like: '...see the link below...', '...the link is here...', ' here...' - it is not the best way to describe a link, the reader doesn't know why he should click and what is behind that link, he is not sure where you want to send him. Instead of using such terms, make the displayed text a hyperlink text.

2. Don't paste long URLs with strange numbers in your body text, it will make your text look cluttered and messy. Make them part of the copy. Again, use hyperlinks. The same applies to list of additional links below your text, if you want to add more sources for reference.
For example, instead of using not that even long link:Check out our demo website at to see how your own website could look like.putCheck out our demo website to see how your own website could look like.Both links lead to the same web page, but the latter looks better and is easier for eyes to read. 

3. The shorter, the better. Hyperlink's description should be as short as possible, but long enough to identify its content.

4. The text is easier to follow when links are placed at the end of the sentence or paragraph - it keeps the natural flow, you read all given information and then follow the link to find out more.

5. If you can, make sure that the link opens in a new tab - it will be easier for the reader to come back to your site.

6. Don't go over the top and use a reasonable number of links in your text, if not:
- you may lose your reader - when gone to other pages he might lose his way back; or- just a number of underlined, blue elements in a text ( that's how usually links are presented ) will put him off reading it.

7. Make sure you send your reader to a verified, secure and valuable source.

8. Check your links from time to time to make sure that they work; dead links give bad impression about your business. Website visitor might even doubt if you are still in business.
Incorporated in a long text, links, shouldn't disturb readers in the reading process or understanding it.

So, here are some quick tips how to use and organize links in your copy. In particular, I am thinking about your website's 'About us' page. You can include there links to online articles, youtube videos or your place's reviews. These tips might help you as well when writing a press release or your business' profile for a business catalogue.