Are links to other websites bad?

Is it a bad idea to have links to other websites on your website?

I am writing some content for my client, and would like to link to some supporting material and websites, but part of me worries if this is a bad idea…

If visitors click on links to other websites, maybe they will never come back?

Then again, they might appreciate you providing additional information not found on your own site.

How does it work in the real world? :confused:

Set the links up to pop up in a new window or tab. That way they still have your site available to them.

That’s been frowned upon in usability circles for a long time now, and was thus deprecated in HTML. Often these days it’s done instead with JavaScript.

But linking to valued resources is what the web is all about. If your site provides useful links, people will be more likely to return. If they are web savvy, they will open links in a new tab anyway, and if not, they can always hit the Back button, which pretty much anyone who uses a browser knows about.


My learning continues. I’d not actually come across that before. It surprises me slightly to some extent, but that’s largely driven by my own preferences, as I dislike clicking links that take me off the site I’m on. For the most part, I will do the right click thing on a link and select ‘Open in new tab’ - however, sometimes I forget, and I find myself taken off elsewhere.

I can understand the dislike of pop-up’s, however, I’ve alsways viewed those as being something that happens without me having done anything (i.e. land on new site, get multiple windows opened for me). I’ve always perceived it differently when I’ve deliberately clicked a link to go somewhere else.

It’s all good stuff to know though.

Just out of curiosity, why would doing it by JavaScript be perceived any differently?

Yes, good question. In reality, it’s the same thing. Perhaps it’s done in JS just to avoid using deprecated HTML.

These days, it seems more common for such links to open in a new tab, which is less awful than the older behavior, which was to open a new window atop the old window, which has no back button etc. which is very confusing / annoying for users. Tabbed browsing is a big improvement, I think, but can still be a bit confusing if you don’t know you are suddenly in a new tab.

(I know a few people who aren’t very computer savvy, and I see them getting totally confused by this sort of thing all the time. My mother is still totally befuddled by tabs and new windows, even though she’s been surfing the web daily for some 15 years.)

Personally, though I have no proof, I think that linking to other authoritative sites actually helps in terms of SEO
In any case, as long as the off site information is of relative interest it certainly helps site visitors and it can only help to build trust and improve chances they will return.

IMHO attempts to “keep them here” seem pathetically desperate and annoying


In of itself, I’d agree. It only becomes an annoyance when a page relies on multiple links, outside its own site, for reference material to support its own case. Blog posts in particular can be appallingly bad for that kind of thing at times.

  • No
  • citing and linking to supporting information is useful for the reader

If they want to come back they will, there’s always the scenario where they follow one of you links to find some information and not come back but in that case they probably don’t need/want to anyway

No please don’t do that, it’s very annoying. If you’ve ever seen the frustration and confusion it causes (especially older people)! Always let the visitor decide whether to open a new tab/window. If people want to leave a site they will, whether you open links in new tabs or not.

(don’t worry about it!)


Message received, over… :relaxed:

Just a link with no explanation is lame, far better to have some descriptive blurb to promote the link. Same as a Google/Bing/Yahoo searches, they all give suggestive descriptions.

If visitors click on links to other websites, maybe they will never come back?

What is your own experience? Put yourself in your user’s shoes.

Then again, they might appreciate you providing additional information not found on your own site.

Try it and monitor your web-stats.

How does it work in the real world?

Varies depending on the site being viewed… a link to your client’s site would be helpful otherwise it is purely guesswork.

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Why do I no longer get notifications that people replied to my threads? (More punishment?)

Probably a bug with the recent upgrade. There are lots of bugs being sorted out, unfortunately.

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