The web is made up of links – machines, sites, documents, pages, and people making up a worldwide network. One of the main ways to increase traffic to your site is by having other sites link to you. Links can also make your site more popular with some search engines and directories. But to get those links, you have to start by linking to other sites.
And your site will also need internal links – unless it only has one page, of course!
So how do you create a link?
The anchor tag links or “anchors” pages together – the browser will decide what to do with that document, depending on its type. HTML files will be opened as web pages, PDF files will be opened with Adobe Acrobat Reader, and so on.
<a href=”page.html” title=”description” target=”_blank”>Click here</a>
“Click here” is the text that tells the visitor what to do. It’s better to use text that makes sense when read out of context – for example “Visit our downloads page”.
href=”page.html” tells the browser the name of the page to load. Again, using a descriptive page name will be helpful to visitors and increase your search engine rankings – for example “downloads.html”.
title=”description” will display a description of the link when the cursor is placed over it. This is not required, but will make your site easier to use, especially for visually-impaired vistors, and can help to increase your search engine rank. For example “Check our downloads page for the latest software”.
target=”_blank” tells the browser to open the page in a new window. This is useful when linking to other sites – visitors will remain on your page, but can read the linked page in a new window. Leaving this off will make the page load in the current window.
Make sure your link text makes sense – especially if the links are part of your navigation system. Search engines look at your links, so use them to increase your ranking by including your keywords – words that you want visitors to use when searching for your website. For example, if you run a business selling dog grooming supplies, you could create a page for brushes, called “dogbrushes.html”. Your link could appear like this:
<a href=”dogbrushes.html” title=”Dog grooming brushes and combs” target=”_blank”>Dog grooming brushes and combs</a>
Relative and absolute links
What’s the difference?
An absolute or universal link contains the whole address, including the domain name. For example, http://www.somesite.com/anypage.html is an absolute link. It won’t matter what page of your site your visitor is on, clicking that link will take them to that web page. If you link to a another web site, you’ll use an absolute link.