Don't click here

It's admittedly a minor point—but if you are at all responsible for writing content for the web, I'd like to make a case that removing the phrase “click here” from your writing can improve your visitor's experience, help them find information more quickly, and as a bonus, improve your search engine rankings.

“Click here” might have been helpful back in 1996 when not everyone realized that the text that was underlined or in a different color would link to another page. Nowadays most people understand that convention so there is little need to tell them what to do with their mouse—instead, you might consider putting the link on the text that communicates what they're going to get. Compare these two versions of the same paragraphs to see what I mean.

Not So Great

The World Alliance to Caffeinate Undercaffeinated Peoples (WACUP) needs your support now more than ever. For the price of one cup of coffee a day, you could provide a desperately undercaffeinated person with, well, one cup of coffee a day. Click here to find out how you can support our mission by setting up a recurring donation. Or, if you prefer to volunteer in our espresso IV drip program, click here. Want to set up a corporate sponsorship? Look no further, click here. If none of these are up your alley, are many other ways to get involved, just click here to find out more.

Good

The World Alliance to Caffeinate Undercaffeinated Peoples (WACUP) needs your support now more than ever. For the price of one cup of coffee a day, you could provide a desperately undercaffeinated person with, well, one cup of coffee a day. Support our mission by setting up a recurring donation. Or, you may prefer to volunteer in our espresso IV drip program, or set up a corporate sponsorship. If none of these are up your alley, there are many other ways to get involved.

Muddling through

Remember—people are coming to your website to find information. Typically, they do not read word for word; rather they (as usability guru Steve Krug explains) “muddle through,” skimming quickly to find something that most closely matches what they are looking for. In the first example, the words “click here” jump out, but you'd have to read the full sentence in order to know where the link goes. When you put the links on the text that describes the destination, as in the second example, it helps speed your reader along.

What's the purpose?

For that matter, we can improve the paragraph above even more by reformatting it a bit. If you're writing content for the web, ask what the central purpose is of each page or section—in this case, it is to “give visitors a list of ways they can support WACUP's mission.” So why not do just that, and provide a series of simple bullet points?

Even Better

The World Alliance to Caffeinate Undercaffeinated Peoples (WACUP) needs your support now more than ever. For the price of one cup of coffee a day, you could provide a desperately undercaffeinated person with, well, one cup of coffee a day. Here are some ways you can support our mission.

The Search Engine Bonus

As a bonus, eliminating the phrase “click here” from your website is not only beneficial for visitors reading the content, it also helps search engines better index your site and come up in the right search terms. One of the ways search engines learn what your site is about is by following links—they look at the text itself and where the link points. “Click here” doesn't signify what the page is about, but “Espresso IV Drip” certainly does—and is something a visitor might conceivably search on. It's always in your best interest to put likely search terms in links throughout your site.

Like I said—in the grand scheme of things a few “click here”s in your site are not going to hurt anything, but getting rid of them is a simple way to help your visitors find what they need, so why not? (Oh, and while you're at it—you might take a look at the “learn mores” too.)

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