When you write a blog post, you’ll often link to some additional content. That’s part of what blogging is all about–sharing content with your readers. These are sometimes called outgoing or outbound links because they link to other content. Links on other sites or pages to your blog post are incoming or inbound links.
The 2 types of links you should know about
Have you noticed when you click on a link that sometimes the new page replaces your current page and sometimes a new tab opens in your browser? You can specify which of these 2 behaviors you want when you create a link. Technically, these options are called targets because they specify the target location of the link.
Although there are actually 4 targets, you only need to use 2:
- _self: The link opens in the same page/tab. The target is therefore the same as the original page. The originating page disappears and is replaced by the new page.
- _blank: The link opens in a new tab. Essentially, the browser creates a new, blank tab and puts the target of the link there.
To make things simple, _self is the default, so if you don’t specify anything, your link’s target will open in the tab as the originating page.
Which should you use and when?
There’s a simple principle:
- For internal links — links within your website — create a default link that substitutes the current page with the new page.
- For external links — links to other websites — add the blank attribute, which opens a new tab
Why is this? For internal links, you want to keep the viewer on your website. This helps make search engines think that people like your site and want to stay on it. They consider this data when ranking your website in searches.
For external links, you don’t want people to lose your site. By opening a new tab, they can view the information but since your website is still open, they can easily return to it. This also helps search engines think that people want to stay on your site.
How do you specify the type of link?
By default, text links open in the same tab. Here’s how to specify a text link in WordPress that opens in a new tab.
- Select the text.
- Click the Insert/Edit Link button on the toolbar.
- Check the Open Link in a New Window/Tab checkbox.
- Click Add Link.
For an image, the linking process is different. When you insert the image, WordPress automatically adds the URL of the image’s source in the Link URL textbox. Usually, you don’t want this, because it just leads to the image itself and people can already see it.
So instead, delete the default URL and add the one you want. Then insert the image.
Now, follow these steps:
- Select the image and click the Edit Image button.
- Click the Advanced Settings tab.
- There, check the Open Link in a New Window checkbox. (In most cases, the link will open in a new tab, not an entirely new window.)
- Click Update.
Do you have any linking tips to add? Or a question? Leave a comment!
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