Weekly WordPress Tip Number 5

WordPress Tip #5: How to make external links open in a new window

When you link to another site (AKA external link), always make sure the link opens in a new browser window. This way you can direct your visitors to good related content, without leading them away from your site. We show you how to do it in WordPress…

External links point to someone else’s website. Which means they’re a route away from your website. Obviously, you want people to stay happily browsing or buying from your site for as long as possible. But, because you’re a conscientious person, you also want to inform your audience of all the great related content out there.

How do you do both? The solution is simple – make the website you’re linking to open up in a new window or browser tab. That way, your visitor can follow the link, take a look, but still have your website in their browser without having to stab away at the back button until their fingers go numb.

This may seem like basic stuff, and if we’re teaching you to suck eggs, apologies, but it’s still one of the most common mistakes we see on our clients’ websites before we help them.

How to create external links that open up in a new window

In our example, we want to link the Real Ideas Organisation. We’ve written a bit of text about them in the text editor. Now we want to create a link. When you highlight a piece of text, a little box automatically pops up like this:

Adding link text to WordPress

Click the cog symbol to display the Insert/edit link box.

Once you’ve entered the link URL, tick the checkbox labelled ‘Open link in a new tab’.

Insert/edit link pop-up box

Click Add link.

That’s all there is to it. You’ve made an external link. Like most things in WordPress, it’s very easy once you know how.

Make your link text meaningful

It’s always best to use meaningful text for the link which describes the topic of the targeted page and not simply ‘click here’. ‘Click here’ as linking text is neither informative nor reflective of the target page, it’s not SEO friendly and is a sign of a very old hat website.

Instead, your type styling (bold, different colour or underlined) should clearly denote a link.

Look at it like this: if you’re having to tell a user the text is clickable, it means you’re not writing or designing your links clearly.

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Of course, his only provides marginal seo value for your own website, but it will create a more pleasant experience for visitors. When a website is engaging and logical to use, you’re far more likely to get return visits.

It’s also worth noting that the use of meaningful text in links should be used for all links both internal and external. This will ultimately help to improve a user’s journey through your website.

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