Writing copy that is viewed online is quite different from writing printed materials. For one, you can’t point your mouse at a word in a brochure and click your way to another page. No, brochures and other print media, unlike electronic media, are static documents.
But in school and at work, most of us only learned to write static documents. From your high school essays to professional reports, proposals, and email messages, I seriously doubt you got much experience using hyperlinked text.
So it’s no wonder that online copy sometimes comes across awkward or clunky. My favorite advice? Resist the temptation to say “click here.” I’m sure you see it all the time:
“Click here to request our new report.”
Or, “To register for our webinar, click here.”
Of course, there’s nothing actually wrong with doing it this way. But there are ways to make it better. Instead of telling readers to “click here,” try this:
“Request our new report.”
“Register for our webinar.” (Or better still, simply have a button that says “Register.”)
This way, you’ve accomplished two things:
1. You’ve streamlined your message to communicate your point in fewer words. (Almost always a good thing!)
2. You’ve put the emphasis (the hyperlink) on a stronger call to action—”register” and “request” feel more emphatic than “click here.”
Other Ways to Improve Hyperlinks
When writing copy for web pages, it’s also important to find logical and strategic opportunities to selectively add hyperlinks to words and phrases. In looking for these opportunities, keep two different audiences in mind:
For Visitors: You want readers to enjoy visiting your site as much as possible. Providing text links that easily move them from one topic/page to another helps them navigate your site more naturally—and consume more of your content.
For example, assume I am writing a blog post about ways real estate agents could improve their listing presentations. The copy for that post might include a hyperlinked reference to an earlier blog post, like this:
“…Don’t forget about enhancing the visual aspects of your presentation package as much as possible. You can easily clip, copy and paste any visuals stored on your computer or viewed online by using free screen capture tools. These tools even let you add customized comments right in the image.”
For Search Engines: When Google and other search engines crawl your site, one of the things they look for is whether your text links are logically pointing to other valuable content. In the above example, the words “screen capture tools” are pointing to an earlier post that discusses screen captures. This should improve this page’s indexing results more than if I hadn’t added the text link at all, or if I had done this instead:
“…Don’t forget about enhancing the visual aspects of your presentation package as much as possible. You can easily clip, copy and paste any visuals stored on your computer or viewed online by using free screen capture tools. (Click here to learn more about screen capture tools.)”
In this case, I’ve missed the chance to earn points with search engines (“click here” means nothing), and the flow of the copy isn’t as smooth for readers.
All too often, opportunities to add beneficial hyperlinked text are ignored. Take advantage of this simple method of improving your readers’ experience, increasing traffic, and scoring higher marks with search engines.
Text links can also play an important role in a keyword strategy, but more on that later…