There is a right and a wrong way to use links for your legal website and there are some basic rules to follow to ensure that you do so. First and foremost—accepted practice on the Internet is that when something is underlined, it is a link. If you simply underline for emphasis, or for any reason other than a link, you are confusing and annoying your readers. Rather than using underlining for emphasis, use italics, boldface type or make the emphasized word or phrase a different color. Users expect that a link will be both underlined and blue—because that’s the way they are in over 99% of all websites. While you could only underline or only place the words in blue, messing with the tried and true formula can have negative effects for your website. The one exception applies to links contained in menus; they neither have to be blue nor underlined because they are clearly menu links.
Explain Your Links Whenever possible, explain what you are linking to; if you are able to provide extra information, then by all means, do. As an example, many websites have a page devoted specifically to links to other high-quality websites. It can be a good idea to write a short description of these links to allow your visitors to quickly find the ones which are pertinent to their specific questions. Nothing annoys web users more than to waste their precious time, so the more concise you are (in all areas), the better. Should you leave off any type of descriptor, your readers have no choice but to click each site in order to determine whether it has what they are looking for, so never simply put a huge page of links out there with no explanation whatsoever. Keep Your Internal Links in the Same Window While many web owners have their site set up so that a new window pops up each time an internal link is clicked, in fact, this is another annoying practice. When the site is set up like this a user can end up with a crowded page full of open windows. So long as you include a great navigational menu at the top or left of your page, then links within your legal website should always, always open in the same menu. External links can and should open in another window. Avoid at all costs the words “click here,” or “link,” on your legal website. When you use generic words as linking text, you have limited your readers’ ability to scan, which is how most all web readers quickly go through any given page. Getting Help There are a variety of ways to use links, most particularly sales links, helpful resource links, friendly links, links which are attention-grabbers or “notice me” links and internal links. All of these link types have a specific purpose and your legal website will likely not use all of them. For help with your linking strategies call (800) 877-2776 to speak with an expert in lawyer website design. When you call, you will be given free advice, lawyer website marketing tips and strategies from highly experienced consultants – not sales representatives.