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  1. #26
    SitePoint Wizard
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    I'll second what Gamermk is saying. It makes more sense to give a full action that to just tell someone to "click here".

    In terms of an email newsletter, email clients do not all have rollover for links and such, so whether or not text is a link is probably less apparent. Hence, "click here" really does tell the reader that it is a link.

  2. #27
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    The most important part is that the link contain some text to indicate what it is linking to so that if someone only sees or hears the link text that they know where it will take them. By all means include "click here" in the link as well if you want but don't leave out the info on where it will take you.

    For example:

    To contact me - click here
    Click here for more information about bikes
    Stephen J Chapman

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    <input name="html5" type="text" required pattern="^$">

  3. #28
    padawan silver trophybronze trophy markbrown4's Avatar
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    It's better to use:
    Code:
    <a href="page2.htm"><img src="clickme.bmp"></a>
    This will work in emails too and a pretty image will get much more click throughs

  4. #29
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    http://www.w3.org/QA/Tips/noClickHere

    Links are designed to be different, so a user can instantly distinguish between the links on a page and content. When you look at a link you concentrate on the words within the link and generally ignore the words around a link.

    Using 'click here' on a link forces people to continue reading the rest of the text to understand what the link is about to do. The link it's self should describe the action it's about to take, not what action "you" need to take in order to execute the action.

    Using additional text to describe a link also causes 'hidden link' syndrome. Help your audience quickly locate links by not encasing them with additional text, but separate them from content.

  5. #30
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Bleys's Avatar
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    Sometimes they don't follow their own instructions: http://www.w3.org/International/its/...s.html#DevLang

    Anyway, I would argue that for non-technically adept users, links that don't include actionable text (like their horribly vague 'Get Amaya!' example) are more 'hidden.'

    I don't agree with the W3C here. And if there are studies (as it would appear there are) that indicate that users respond better to 'Click here' than to other link text, then their assumptions that 'click here' is less usable for readers is wrong.

    Or least, I guess that's their assumption. They don't actually say why they think verbs are bad in link text, or why vague, non-descriptive link text is better than more complete instructions. I guess they just expect us to take it as gospel since they're the W3C. Heh.
    Josh is an anomaly
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  6. #31
    SitePoint Enthusiast WinKing's Avatar
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    users respond better to 'Click here' than to other link text
    I certainly agree with that.
    I would not apply this to all my links though. O/w my site would be on top for that keyword, which is not about that

  7. #32
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy Stormrider's Avatar
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    I disagree with the original post. I try and avoid 'click here' as much as possible - not for SEO reasons, but for usability and accessibility reasons.

  8. #33
    SitePoint Zealot Raphaelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by samanime View Post
    What about something like "Click here to read more"? To me, that sounds a little better. I know I mean be undermining some people's intelligence, but "click to continue" or "click to read more" makes it seen like they just have to click anywhere on the page. The "here" focuses there attention on the location of that specific text.

    Also, do you think that having the link text say simply "click here" or whatever, with lead in text, or do you think it would be better to have at least a self-descriptive portion of the text in your link.

    So, something like:
    Code:
    <a href="clickme.com">Click here</a> to read more.
    or
    Code:
    <a href="clickme.com">Click here to read more</a>.
    From at least an accessibility standpoint, I think the latter would be the best choice. Are there any negatives from using option two versus option one?
    I actually disagree with this.
    I don't think "Click here to read more" gives any extra information about where the link is clicking through to.

    Have you guys ever used a screen reader?
    Sighted people have the ability to screen a page in a second or so, that way they get a rough idea of what's presented to them.

    The way blind people screen through a page is mainly with 2 shortcuts in the screen reader: one brings up all the headings (hence the importance of using Headings tags properly) and the other one brings up links.
    So if they end up with a list such as "click here, click here, click here to read more, click here for more info, click here for details", it doesn't help really.

    I think a good way to do it is to have:

    Code:
    <a href="#"><span>Click here</span> to read more about the Nokia E61i</a>.
    The whole thing is a link but not everything has to be underlined.

    Another way is to use "invisible text". This is something that should be use quite often for screen readers.

    It would be something like this
    Code:
    <a href="#">Click here <span class="invisible">to read more about the Nokia E61i</span></a>.
    
    
    span.invisible{
    position:absolute;
    right:9999px;
    }
    So the bit within the span class="invisible" is off screen and only screen readers will pick it up.


    anyone agrees? disagrees?

  9. #34
    SitePoint Addict BlazeMiskulin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bleys View Post
    I don't agree with the W3C here. And if there are studies (as it would appear there are) that indicate that users respond better to 'Click here' than to other link text, then their assumptions that 'click here' is less usable for readers is wrong.
    I would say you're looking at it from the wrong angle. "Most people are used to it" is not a good way to do things. It leads to stagnation and artificial constraints on developers. It's "pandering to the lowest common denominator".

    If content writers start using the descriptive links as opposed to "click here", people will learn. Google doesn't say "click here to view this website." Amazon doesn't say "click here to buy this movie". People understand the concept of hyperlinks.

    Personally, when I see "click here", I feel like the site is talking down to me. I know how a hyperlink works. Don't talk to me like I'm too ignorant to use a mouse.
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  10. #35
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Bleys's Avatar
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    I'd argue that "we're doing it my way, and people be damned" is a poor way to look at it too......

    Good copywriting is often about playing to your audience and getting them to act on whatever it is you're trying to get them to act upon. Ignoring your users habits and getting a poor result in order isn't a good idea.

    Oh, and by the way... this is a screenshot from Amazon when I'm logged in:



    Notice anything about it?

    And here's one from Google's AddURL page:



    I don't think anyone is going to argue that you should use "click here" for every link on your page. That's absurd. To quote myself from the first post of this thread:

    Whether to use 'click here' or similar actionable text is situational, but no one should write it off as antiquated or useless bits of content, in my opinion.
    Amazon doesn't say "Click here to buy this movie" because their big, graphical buttons do a better job of calling attention to the buying process (and I'm sure they've done studies on just where to place the buttons and how big and what color to make them). Google doesn't say "Click here to visit this website" since they provide lists of results and adding the same (non-search term) text to every result like that would dilute the list and make it harder to read. Also it would diminish the intended effect of "click here" (which is to call attention to something) by over using it.

    Both companies, however, still obviously see the value in the phrase for certain occasions and I don't think any of us should be quick to write it off as useless or antiquated.

    @Raphaelle: Isn't that what title and alt tags are for? (adding descriptions to link elements for accessibility purposes)
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  11. #36
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    It depends who you talk to.

    Different people have different expectations about what purpose a web page serves. Some see nothing more than an advertisement / sales vehicles. It would never cross their mind that a link is talking down, or any other direction for that matter. That whole line of thinking is foreign to their goals.

    They'll use big buttons, calls to action like click here, etc. Anything and everything that will increase the number of conversions. Turn surfers into buyers. In other words, They don't want people thinking for themselves - rather they want to grab people and lead them.

    It's no different than big neon sign in a store, or a TV/Radio commercial or a colorful flyer in your Sunday paper.

    Personally, I don't think that approach is any more or less valid than the ideals put forth by those of us who purport to 'know better'.

  12. #37
    SitePoint Wizard
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    @Bleys Just pointing out, to avoid confusion, anchor tags do not have an 'alt' attribute, though they do have a title.
    Last edited by samanime; Sep 20, 2007 at 18:09.

  13. #38
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Bleys's Avatar
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    Thanks samanime. A coder I am not!
    Josh is an anomaly
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  14. #39
    SitePoint Wizard megamanXplosion's Avatar
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    Do not confuse the click rate with visit rate. "Click here" may increase the click rate but also decrease the visit rate. Users find your webpages through search engines. "Click here" does not help your website get among the list of search results. Fewer people will find your webpage if you give "click here" links. What's the difference between 100 users with an 8&#37; click rate and 500 users with a 2% click rate? The first case has eight visitors while the second has ten visitors.

    Descriptive links and uninformative click-here links are two ways to increase your website utility. The first, descriptive links, increases utility through the search engines. The second, click-here links, increases utility through suggesting actions to the visitor. You can combine these tactics though.

    Raphaelle's post shows an excellent way of combining the approaches. The link was descriptive, helping users of search engines find the page, and it suggests an action to the user. You should be careful when using this approach though. Verbosity can hurt your website utility. If you run a website that cites many sources of information, for example, "click here" text will increase verbosity. If done too often, you will bore the user. If the website focuses on argumentation then you might encourage the bored user to skim and that can ruin the persuasiveness of your argument. If you want the user to read a webpage before continuing with the rest of your argument, however, the action-suggesting "click here" link could be useful. If links are not as common on your website though, Raphaelle's approach might be perfect for you.

    Accessibility is another concern. "Click here" links are accessibility killers. Raphaelle's approach is better but also problematic. Screen-reader users value conciseness too. Further, if you inconsistently use Raphaelle's approach then the reader will hear that inconsistency and it might confuse them.

    BlazeMiskulin's point was a good one. If you say "click here" a lot it could sound degrading. If the users hear "click here" often, they might wonder if you think they are programmable automatons.

    Overall, I think plain "click here" links are a thoroughly bad idea. Raphaelle's approach could be helpful but could increase verbosity, sound degrading, and possibly hinder the effectiveness of the search engine keywords. It would usually be a better idea to continue using concise, descriptive link text.
    Last edited by megamanXplosion; Sep 21, 2007 at 00:11.

  15. #40
    SitePoint Addict BlazeMiskulin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bleys View Post
    I'd argue that "we're doing it my way, and people be damned" is a poor way to look at it too......
    But I'm not saying that. I'm saying "Use standards-compliant procedures which are user-friendly, SEO-friendly, and handicap-accessible". I'm also saying "don't dumb down your site to pander to the least of your users."

    There's a concept known as the 80/20 rule. Basically, it says (amongst other things) that 80&#37; of your revenue will come from 20% of your clients. In a web environment, it's a fair assumption that those 20% are the more web-savvy end of the spectrum. If you build your site for the 80%, you're spending all your efforts towards the bottom 20% of your income at the expense of the more profitable 80%.

    If you continue to target the least common denominator, you'll alienate your more intelligent, web-savvy, and profitable customers.

    As to the original article and the "study" to which it refers:

    1) Both of them only address the propensity for people to click on a link--not for them to purchase an item or engage in other activities.

    2) The "study" gave 3 alternatives (including "click here") to the phrase "continue here". In no way did it include other actionable text as an option. This instantly and completely invalidates the "study" (oh yes, I will continue to put that word in quotes) in regards to anything approaching a real-world situation. Nowhere was "click here" tested against "Read more about blah blah blah" or "Come to our website to read more about blah blah blah", or even "Blah blah blah continues on our website". To make a simple analogy, you're saying "given a choice of pecans, walnuts, almonds, and cashews, nobody chose cherry pie. Therefore cashews are the favorite dessert."

    Oh, and by the way... [several screen caps]
    Oh yes. You point out a single instance of your preferred method amidst scores of examples to the contrary and claim victory. Look at an Amazon.com page. None of the links (except your one example--which only appears under certain circumstances) say "click here". When I go to google.com, I don't see "click here". You're hunting out exceptions and putting them forward as the rule. I'm sorry, but it doesn't work that way. I used my Amazon.com search feature and typed in the keyword "Firefly". Excluding buttons (counting only textual hyperlinks), I count 144 links. Not a single one of them includes "click here". The exception does not make the rule.
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  16. #41
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    What does this experiment really tell us? It 'proves' that "Click to continue" was more successful than "Read more" in a newsletter sent by Marketing Sherpa.

    What it doesn't mention:
    1. Were different links sent with the SAME newsletter? If they used "Click" in newsletter 1 and "Read" in newsletter 2, it doesn't tell you anything ... newsletter 2's article might have been dreadful.

    2. What was the sample set? 10 readers? 100 readers? 1 million? The smaller the sample, the more unreliable the results.

    3. Was the newsletter sent to a varied cross-section of internet users? I doubt that's the case.

    4. "Click here" and "Read more" are both bad. As links, they're out of context, and will do nothing for SEO, accessibility, or readability. Perhaps if they tried a better link, everyone would have clicked it!

    Finally, this was a newsletter - not a web page. It should not be taken as a reason to change all your links to "click here"!

  17. #42
    SitePoint Guru
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazeMiskulin View Post
    don't dumb down your site to pander to the least of your users
    ...
    In a web environment, it's a fair assumption that those 20% are the more web-savvy end of the spectrum.
    ...
    If you continue to target the least common denominator, you'll alienate your more intelligent, web-savvy, and profitable customers.
    Even if your assertion was true that the only consumers who matter are the most intelligent ones, it does not follow at all that these people will become "alienated" because some hyperlinks don't follow certain formats.

    Calls to action effect every person on some level - even the web's upper crust. It's a very basic marketing principle.

  18. #43
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Bleys's Avatar
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    I don't really buy the argument that "Click here" makes your most intelligent users feel alienated and insulted. Considering, as I already showed before, the web's largest sites seem to use it at times, and they seems to do just fine.

    Here's a page where eBay is targeting their most successful and presumably most profitable sellers, and they use "click here" twice: http://pages.ebay.com/services/buyandsell/welcome.html

    I also don't buy that click here can't be standards compliant or successful. And as for the SEO benefit... if click here makes more sense in content and will boost your CTR on an important link, then the lost SEO benefit of that one link is negligible and probably worth it (remember: no one is saying that "click here" should always be used, just that it has its place).

    As the Copyblogger article was trying to remind people, and I agree, we should be writing content for people not for search engines.
    Josh is an anomaly
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  19. #44
    SitePoint Wizard
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    I do like Raphaelle's idea.

    I think I would like to see this same study done on websites, instead of email newsletters.

  20. #45
    SitePoint Wizard megamanXplosion's Avatar
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    Writing content in a way that helps ensure that your webpages are placed in the search results is writing for people.

  21. #46
    SitePoint Evangelist tokyoice's Avatar
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    Nice read.

  22. #47
    SitePoint Member cymrojazz's Avatar
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    Link

    I think the most salient point is that the hyperlink surrounds both instruction/signpost and the description of what you're clicking for. Fashions in wording seem a little irrelevant to someone who uses 'Cliciwch yma OGYDd ar gyfer ... ' or 'Clic ici SVP pour ...' as often as 'Please click here to...'.

    I've taken to use "Follow this link for la la la" where the link covers all the text. You type tomato I type ... oh hang on that doesn't work in text

  23. #48
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    I agree completely. I see nothing wrong with helping people do what you want them to do.

  24. #49
    SitePoint Zealot PatrickSamphire's Avatar
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    Don't know about the rest of you, but I tend to scan pages pretty quickly to find the links I want. If they all say 'click here' or 'read more' or anything equally generic, you're forcing me to slow down and search the surrounding text for the info I need. Do that too many times and you're going to piss me off, and I'm going to leave your site. Nothing in the 'study' measure that, I'm pretty sure, nor compared 'click here' to meaningful text.

  25. #50
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Bleys's Avatar
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    Patrick, I don't think anyone is arguing that all your links say "Click here," only that is can be useful and shouldn't be dismissed outright as antiquated or poor copy.

    Further, I believe everyone who has argued for the use of "Click here" has talked about giving the links context with surrounding text (i.e., "Click here for ____" rather than "Click here.").

    I think you're arguing against a point that no one made.
    Josh is an anomaly
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