When you’re writing content for your web pages, usability may not always be your first concern – but it should be!. There’s no better example of this than the continued use of “click here” and “find out more” in link text. Here are 4 reasons why you should avoid using these generic calls to action when writing the links in your content.
1. It’s not informative
It’s an established fact that most people don’t really read the content of a website – they scan it. This applies to almost all written content on the web, and people tend to do it for a number of reasons, such as:
- they are too busy to read something fully
- they are looking for a specific piece of information, and once they find it they want to move on
- there’s a lot of information out there that is competing for their attention
- they might have other issues that make it harder for them to read content online, such as screen resolution, screen glare, tiny font sizes, contrast, etc.
When someone writes content for a website, they have to keep in mind that it’s probably not going tobe read except by those who have an inherent interest in doing so.
Most people are going to scan it instead, and when they do, certain things will jump out at them – links being one of them. Of course, that will depend on whether the web designer styled the links properly by making them underlined and a different colour from the surrounding text.
Yes, people scanning content will still see your link even if it says “click here”. But using “click here” as the link text doesn’t take that next step of telling them where the link is going to as they scan over it quickly.
The bottom line is that people like to – and want to – know where a link from your website is going to lead them. Using the words “click here” just doesn’t do that for them, and here’s a good example:
- Bad – If you want to learn more about this, click here to read this article from the Sydney Morning Herald
- Good – Learn more about this topic by reading this article in the Sydney Morning Herald
The second one tells people at a quick glance not only that there is a link, but that it’s to an article on the New York Times website. What does “click here” tell you? Only that a link is there for them to click on.
2. It’s not action-oriented
Most websites want people to take some action as a result pf their visit. People respond to action words, so keep this in mind by writing link text that encourages visitors to take the desired action. Here’s an example:
- Bad – Enjoy what you see? Click here to subscribe to our blog for free updates!
- Good – Enjoy what you see? Subscribe to our blog for free updates!
Notice the difference? The second one has the desired action contained within the actual link text, which will be much more obvious when someone is scanning the content quickly. Using “click here” doesn’t convey that desired action – again, it only tells them that a link is there for them to click.
3. It’s not SEO-friendly
Search engines such as Google use the strength of your links in their algorithm when they determine your placement in search engine results. While the number of links (both internal and external) on your website is important, how those links are worded can be just as important. Here’s an example:
- Bad – Click here to read more articles from the Group Marketing Digital team
- Good – Read more articles from the Group Marketing Digital team
The second one is the much-more friendly link. When you use “click here” as your link text, all that you’re doing is letting the search engines know that your content contains a link. If you want to also help them estimate how relevant that link is though, start using keywords in the link text instead.
4. It’s not accessible
People with visual impairments can’t always see the link: they rely on their screen readers to tell them what will happen when the link is clicked. If the link just says “click here” or “find out more”, they have no idea of knowing what will happen once the link is clicked. In addition, if there are several “click here” links on a single web pages, it can be extremely confusing for person with a visual impairment who is trying to scan the page for links.
5. It’s not modern
During the early days of the Internet, people defended the use of “click here” on the grounds that if it weren’t used, most people wouldn’t know what to do when they came across a link. Content writers came up with it as a solution that gave users the hint of what action they were supposed to take – literally, click here.
Needless to say, that’s drastically changed as more and more people have become familiar with websites in recent years. If you continue to use “click here” in your content, you can give your visitors bad impressions that you don’t want them to have, such as:
- That you don’t respect their intelligence enough to know what a link is
- That your website or the content on it hasn’t been updated in years
It’s important to make a positive impression through your website, and most people nowadays think that websites that still use “click here” are just plain old-fashioned. This is definitely not the impression that we want our website to convey to our users.
- Stephanie Leary – Why click here is a terrible link and what to write instead.
- Writing Hyperlinks, from the Nielsen Norman Group
- W3C Quality Assurance team on “click here”
- Smashing Magazine article on “click here”