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How to Create a Hyperlink For Your Website and Email Campaigns

Don't overlook the power of a strong hyperlink to a web address or relative URL to improve your domain authority. Learn how to insert a hyperlink dialog box the right way.

Creating hyperlinks – whether on your webpage, in emails, or in articles – gives your business a robust online presence and a chance to engage your readers. Hyperlinks let you present yourself and your business as expert and knowledgeable. These links can guide readers to web pages, reference online materials relevant to your topic, build your presence in an online community, or even drive sales funnels.

Usually, a writer or business uses hyperlinks for one of four reasons:

  • To support a point of view with resources, references, or evidence
  • To build, support, and maintain an online community of interconnected resources
  • To take a reader to a page referenced in the text, for example:
    - to sign up for an event or race
    - to view or purchase a product
    - to donate to a fundraiser
    - to read a press release
  • To trigger an email to open with a pre-populated email address (addressed in the “In an Email Campaign” section below)

Hyperlinks should be targeted, informative, and useful to the reader. Low-quality links can be damaging to your online reputation. Today’s online readers are smart, savvy content consumers who recognize hyperlinks that are off-base as either lazy or manipulative.

In addition, the search algorithms used by Google and other search engines have become sophisticated enough to recognize content that is highly relevant to your topic vs. content that is either unrelated or of poor quality.

What is a hyperlink?

A hyperlink, or link, is clickable text in online content that brings a reader to a new online location when they click.

Creating hyperlinks online involves two components:

  1. Anchor Text: The text in the paragraph that can be clicked and is usually offset from the surrounding text with color and/or underline.
  2. URL: The web location that a reader accesses when they click on that anchor text.

Anchor text provides the reader with something to click in the online text they’re reading so that the web page can recognize a reader’s request to view the new page. The “URL,” or Uniform Resource Locator, identifies the page the reader wants to visit. The URL is the unique name of the page on the web and often begins with http: or https:.

Why is it important to hyperlink?

Hyperlinks get viewers engaged with your organization. This simple action of clicking for more information can transform them from passive readers into an active community. Whether you’re promoting an event, fundraising, building a group of like-minded individuals, or growing your online sales presence, links are the key that unlocks a reader’s ability to interact with you online.

Online links can improve your standings in the display order of online searches. They can also provide your readers with tools and information. No matter the type of link you’re creating, your anchor text is your hook.

Anchor text, in general, should be a few words in natural language that flow as part of the paragraph. The link accessed on clicking the anchor text should be specific to the subject – a particular sale page or product line rather than your website’s landing page, for example.

If providing research-based information, link to high-quality sources. If discussing a sales event or particular feature, links should be related to related pages on your site. Think about it this way:

  1. If an article references a fundraiser to “Save the Whales”, the link should take the reader to the fundraiser’s page, not to the landing page for the organization. The reader wants to read about the fundraiser and see a button or link to donate. They don’t want to have to dig through the whole site to find that fundraiser.
  2. If an online ad features a shirt for distance runners, the link should take the reader to a page where they can buy that shirt. They don’t want to see the whole product line for runners. If they have to sort, filter or search for that shirt to find it, the business has probably lost a sale – and potentially a customer who won’t click on another advertisement after the experience.
  3. If a beekeeper writes an email to connect a group of other beekeepers with similar opinions, hyperlinks should help to build that connection and encourage conversation. Hyperlinks to forums, message boards, or beekeeping groups make sense, especially if they’re related to the organization writing the email. This isn’t when the beekeeper takes the time to throw in a link to his woodworking side hustle. A semi-related link can be in an email signature (maybe the beekeeper makes wooden beehives), but links in the body of the text should relate specifically to the subject of the email.
  4. If another site asks to use one of your articles as a reference, you want to provide them the URL for that particular article, not your “About Us” page. Let the reader access the relevant content they expect. You also get a positive side effect: Google and other search engines will recognize related information and keywords in the link – which could potentially improve your standing in search results.

How to hyperlink...

How to create a hyperlink on your webpage

Depending on the web content management system you use, the location and appearance of your tools may vary. In general, the tool for hyperlinking text will look like a chain link. Sometimes the tools for “add an attachment” and “hyperlink text” can look similar, so you may have to test to be certain you have the right one.

The hyperlink tool will expect two inputs: your anchor text (sometimes called “target text” or similar) and the full URL or web address of the link. If you highlight your anchor text before clicking on the link tool, most interfaces will automatically populate your highlighted text as the anchor text.

Open the URL you want to link in a browser, copy the URL, and paste it into the hyperlink tool. Save the change, and the text in your paragraph will appear as colored, underlined text. Save the page to save your new link. You can test it by clicking on the anchor text.

How to create a hyperlink on a Microsoft Word document

In Microsoft Word, there may be differences between versions. In general, you can select your anchor text, right-click, and select “link” or “hyperlink” (depending on the version). You’ll paste your URL in the “Address” field. You can also select files on your computer or linked cloud storage locations to display when the anchor text is selected.

Insert a link in an email campaign

As with a website, the exact format of tools and user actions will vary with your provider. In general, though, you’ll use the same actions – selecting the text, right-clicking or selecting an edit hyperlink button, and entering the URL using copy/paste.

The majority of hyperlinks are to other web locations, but link functionality can be used for other actions as well – to open a file, for example, as with our Microsoft Word instructions above. Another option is to open a new email from the reader to a pre-populated email address. This little tidbit is often used in email campaigns – for example, with a line like “Have questions? Email us!” The “Email us!” text is hyperlinked text, but when clicked, instead of navigating to a web page, the action opens an email. This is “Mailto:” functionality, which you can read more about on our webpage (See what we did there?).

Email links should be closely targeted to the reason for the email. Email hyperlinks are conversion tools or references to resources, as with any other link – but they don’t work to build your web presence in the same way as links that live at known and searchable web addresses.

Add a link in HTML

Creating hyperlinks directly in Hypertext Markup Language, commonly just called HTML, requires some basic programming knowledge. The <a> tag tells the system, "create hyperlink". HTML uses to begin a command and </a> to end the command. The anchor text displays between <a> and </a>.

Standard hyperlinks use a hyperlink reference ‘href’ command after the a, like this: <a href = > Mailchimp website < /a > . The URL is referenced after the ‘=’, in this case > . The anchor text that would display in the paragraph is ‘Mailchimp website’.

4 Hyperlinking best practices

Poorly built or maintained hyperlinks can damage an organization’s online reputation, lose out on sales opportunities, and frustrate your readers. Whether you’re managing content for a small business or larger enterprises, understanding best practices for hyperlinking can help you make the most of the time, effort, and investment you put into your online presence.

Use descriptive text

Don’t use “click here” or “read more”. Use natural language. This provides easy reading for users, keeping them engaged on the site rather than pulling them out of the experience. It also provides search engines with relevant keywords, improving your search result rankings.

Do not link the same thing more than once

This comes in different flavors, but the end result is the same. Don’t link the same page on your website 10 times in the same article. Don’t use the same anchor text twice but have each link to a different URL. Don’t use different anchor text that points to the same URL. Search engines interpret all of these as variants of the same “dirty trick”, and they’ll lower your ranking in the search results as suspect.

Design for accessibility

Remember, not everybody uses a mouse. Some may be on a tablet or mobile device. Some may be using a screen reader or voice commands. Don’t rely on someone to “hover” over a hyperlink. In the same vein, don’t use a URL as your anchor text, because screen reading software will force the listener to hear an automated voice read “h t t p colon w w w dot MailChimp dot c o m”. Most readers using this kind of software will exit the page rather than wait for this kind of automated madness to finish.

Keep your links up to date

Ever clicked on an ad and gotten a “this page does not exist” error? Did you search for the product and go look it up yourself, or did you move on with your day?

In general, most of us move on with our day. If your hyperlinks aren’t up to date, you’re likely to lose sales. More important, you’re likely to lose goodwill and trust with your customer base. Hyperlinks matter.

Don't underestimate the power of strong anchor text

When you target your text and the link behind it, your readers recognize your content as trustworthy and reliable. Descriptive, inviting anchor text encourages your reader to click.

Those clicks have major implications for the success of your online presence. Whether you are in a nonprofit space, a major retailer, or a niche company, you are online to engage. Hyperlinks give your readers that chance to interact.

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