If you do not contribute to a web site, or are not interested in web design and usability, you can skip this one. Go ahead, I won’t feel bad. Remember, we talked about this in my previous entry? I’m giving you an out- go ahead and take it.

On one of my previous posts, I found myself spending a lot of time putting in hyperlinks to things I was referring to, which made me wonder if I was putting in too many [part way through I switched from hyperlinks to just using bold text- things were getting out of control!]. I’m sure you’ve seen sites where practically every other word is linked. The author might think they are being helpful, but it can seem like it takes you a half hour to read one sentence.

I ran across an article on a software development site called Coding Horror. I’d recommend reading the full article, but below are a few of his points that stuck with me the most:

#2. The first link is the most important one. The first link will garner most of the reader’s attention, and the highest clickthrough rates. Choose your first link appropriately. Start with the important stuff. Don’t squander your first link on a triviality.

Makes sense. Leads into #3 as well…

#3. Don’t link everything. Using too many links will turn your text into noise. This works in two dimensions: excessive linking makes text difficult to read, and excessive linking causes deflation in the value of all your existing links. Link in moderation. Only link things important enough to warrant a link.

Because there are readers that have varying levels of knowledge and viewership of professional wrestling (including none), I sometimes feel like I need to provide a lot of links. If I mention Hall & Nash (didn’t link this time), they may not know who they are or the significance of their appearance in WCW, for example. It’s really easy to go overboard though.

#5. Don’t title your link “Click Here”. Don’t even use the words “Click” or “Here” anywhere in your link text. Describe what the link will do for the user when they click on it.

That is so Web 1.0 😉

#8. Don’t make your content depend on links to work. Not everyone will click on your hyperlinks. Either they’re too busy to click every single link you put in front of them, or maybe they’re reading your article in another format where they can’t click on the links: print, offline, or mobile. Either way, it’s important to provide the context necessary to make your content understandable without the need to visit whatever is behind those hyperlinks.

This is another good one that I struggle with. A reader should be able to understand what you are writing from context. Visiting the links should just provide them with more information, rather than being necessary to figure out what you are talking about.

A bit off topic, but hopefully it was useful to somebody.