Want to make sure your website is awesome and easy to use? Learn how to write better link text! A common issue seen on websites is poor link text, especially non-descriptive links such as “click here” or “here.” Poor link text makes your website less functional and not accessible, so it is very important to adhere to the following guidelines.

Ensure links make sense out of context

Sighted users visually scan pages for links to help them find what they’re looking for. Visually impaired users using a screen reader can scan pages by tabbing through links on a page. Therefore, link text should be descriptive, unique, and start with keywords. The link text should be clear enough that a user will have an idea of where the link will lead to without clicking on it.

  1. Do not use links such as “here,” “click here,” “read more”
  2. Do not use the URL as the link
  3. Embed the hyperlink within other text
  4. Highlight the text you want to make into a hyperlink, and insert the link (URL)
  5. Create embed text that clearly explains what information your readers will find when they click on a hyperlink

Type out email addresses

It is best to hyperlink an email address with the full email address as the link text because a hyperlink does not automatically convey that it might be an email address. Additionally, mailto: links also cause problems for people who don’t have an email client or handler configured in their OS. Make sure to select “OK” when asked for a mailto: prefix when creating an email address link in dotCMS.

Avoid dotCMS URLs

When viewing a page in dotCMS, the URL in the address bar is not the same as the URL of the page on the live website. In dotCMS, the URL will have an extension after the first “.html”, which looks like:

https://www.coloradocollege.edu/other/wac/index.html?com.dotmarketing.htmlpage.language=1&host_id=e19a1071-63ad-45c4-a9b1-0f5cd4869309

Avoid using these dotCMS URLs by either:

  • Removing the dotCMS extension (everything after the first “.html”) when copy and pasting a link from the address bar
  • Copying and pasting URLs from the address bar on the live website

Related styles

Do not underline text! By default, links are underlined on most sites including the CC website. Therefore, anything that is not a link should not be underlined; underlined text that is not a link is misleading and an inconsistent style choice. Consider bolding or italicizing instead. But, make sure not to bold or italicize entire paragraphs, which would remove the impact of bolding or italicizing a key phrase or sentence.

Sources and additional resources

You can view a summary of more best practices for the web as a PDF or on the Web Author Community site.