Whatever you do when writing links or anything on a web page, don’t ever, EVER use the words ‘Click here’.
The phrase has been around as long as people have been building web pages. And for as long as people have been using click here as link text, usability experts have been tearing their hair out telling people not to.
Why? Well it should be obvious, but then everything about creating user friendly websites is obvious once it’s pointed out to you.
So let’s look at some really good reasons why you should never use the dreaded phrase click here.
You don’t see posters inviting you to ‘read here’ – you just read them. A bottle of beer doesn’t have the instructions ‘drink here’ on it either.
If you have to give instructions then your site is not user friendly. It should be obvious that the text in question is linked up so there’s no need to add pointless instructions.
Remember: Instructional text must die (©Steve Krug).
It’s not user friendly
Website visitors – or users – do not sit and read every word on a website. They skim, eyes darting all over the page, looking for something that matches their goal. For many this means skimming from link to link.
After all a link is a gateway to another page and the text that is linked up should really give people an idea of what they can expect if they follow that link.
Click here is mystery meat navigation – like a cheap burger, you have no idea of what you are going to get.
Websites should make things easy for people to use them. Click here inevitably assumes some knowledge on the part of the website visitor – as if they are supposed to know why they should click here. Which is annoying.
It’s no good for disabled people
Plenty of people using the web are disabled and many of them use assistive technologies to help them. These may, for example, just read the links on a page, and if your page is full of links that just say click here or even here then how are they supposed to tell where the links will take them?
It’s good practice to make web pages accessible for disabled people, especially since the first step to accessibility is making sure your site is user friendly.
It’s a common courtesy.
It assumes that people are using a mouse
Maybe a bit pedantic on the face of it, but many of the people visiting your website may be using phones and therefore won’t be clicking at all.
And back to the accessibility argument, some disabled web users do not use a mouse either.
If you use it once, the chances are you will use it a lot
Like all bad habits it’s easy to get into doing, and once you start you can’t stop doing it.
If you use click here once, the chances are you use it a lot.
It becomes a sort of lazy shorthand for saying: This is a link, folks, please use it.
A little thought goes a long way and makes things easier for the people using your website.
The easier you make it for them, the more likely they are to stick around long enough to buy from you.
The more thoughtful you are for your visitors, the less effort they have to put in to use your site because it’s intuitive.
Click here makes things that little bit harder. And quite annoying.
There is always, ALWAYS a better choice of words than click here.
Try using active words instead and you will find that your links are worded much better and more direct – and where websites are concerned, direct is good.
So instead of click here to find out more about us, try find out more about us.
Actually, the more you think about your link text, the more you realise you are much better off without using click here.
It makes things much more long winded than they need to be, and you need to be short and to the point.
It’s bad for SEO
I’m not going to carp on and on about this but Google likes user friendly websites and that means sites that are easy to get around.
If the links on your site, especially the links within it that people use to get from one page to another, are clearly marked you get points for that. Just so long as you don’t overdo it because that’s annoying too.
What you should do – in a nutshell
Explain what users will find at the other end of the link, and do it in plain English and without jargon.
Be short and to the point.
UX for the masses: The curse of ‘click here’
Neilsen Norman group: Top ten web design mistakes of 2005
UX Movement: Why your links should never say “click here”
More Website Sins
Things to avoid saying and doing on your business website.
- Never say ‘Click Here’
- Don’t use ‘Under Construction’ pages
- Why you don’t need an FAQ page
- Why pop-up light boxes are a bad idea