It’s so frustrating. I’m on a mission to gather information online. I find a great website that not only provides valuable information, it also includes links from others—links to outside sources that might help me on my quest.
Great! I click on a link that quickly directs me to a new site and new content. I do some additional reading. I don’t find the new source particularly helpful, so I close the tab or browser window so I can go back to the original website.
Doh! It’s gone.
When I closed the tab, I also closed the website where I started.
What gives? Nope, I didn’t mess up. The author or developer of the original made me do it. How’s that?
The link I clicked on opened in the same window as the original website, rather than opening to a new tab or window.
A better way to add links on your website…
Any and all website links that direct visitors away from your website should always open to a new window.
Let’s take a look at my example. When I clicked on the link, it took me to a new website—within the same tab. When I was done with the new content I needed to click the “back” button, rather than close the tab or window, to return to the original site.
Now, maybe I’m lazy or I just wasn’t paying attention, however never assume that your visitor knows to click the “back” button. While providing resources and links is invaluable to your visitors, don’t direct them to new content without opening to a new window or tab. If we forget, we lose our visitors, forcing them to find us again. And they may not.
What can I do?
Easy-peasy! When you’re posting your content on your website or blog, simply click the “link” icon (the icon you used to add your link in the first place). Then choose “Open link in a new window/tab.” Sometimes this is front-and-center and sometimes it’s in a “Target” tab, depending on what blogging system you’re using.
I encourage you to include links on your website or within blogs. After all, there is plenty of information out there and sharing it will help pit you as an expert in your field—someone who is in-the-know—and your audience will return to you again and again. Just be sure you don’t lose your visitors on their way back to your website!