Links may be old, but they’re still vital
Although search engines have taken over most Internet navigation, outbound and inbound links on your website are still important. They are how users navigate your site, discover your products and are sent to your affiliates. Users are counting on your links.
There are many different opinions and guidelines on links, but this post will only focus two aspects: their appearance and their target coding.
1) A link should look and behave like a link. It should be blue, underlined and clickable. Exceptions are warranted, but the large majority of your links should follow the blue-standard to keep your users comfortable. When users are confused or uncomfortable, they don’t use your website well and your conversion rate suffers.
2) Outbound links should be coded to open in a new browser window by using the target=”_blank” HTML tag. This keeps users at your website while another window opens containing the linked website. Without the “blank” tag, the linked website would open in the current window (the one your website is in) and users would have to work to get back to your website. It’s always a good idea to keep users at your website without making them work.
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3) When linking to a product offer, do not use the “blank” tag. Users in an order-flow should be given as few distractions as possible to maximize your conversion rates. By opening the product offer in the current browser window, the only open page is the one containing product information. If the product page opens in a separate window, the current window remains, providing an entire page of distractions from your product, and lowering your conversion rate.
There are many other link related tips—like avoiding navigation links in order-flows—but the above three should put you in the right mindset when linking. Remembering them will help keep your conversion rates up.