“Should I use links on my website?”

by | Nov 7, 2018

[ 2024 update: I no longer offer website testing as a service, but I still receive questions about using links on websites. My posts were pretty basic in 2018, but these notes are still good. Here you go. 😎 ]


Since I’m a website tester, people ask me for advice from ‘the other side’ … the angle of the person who sees the good and the bad. Pretty much, they want to insert some non-overwhelm into the whole process.

They wonder if links are a positive or a negative for their pages. Well … this depends on the reliability of the links and whether or not they have so many their site looks ‘salesy.’

Non-salesy reliable links

Testing website links

Links are great … when they work!

I don’t load my site with URLs (links), trying to sell you something every other sentence. If your readers see too many links, you’ll look like a spammer.

But, we all need some navigation within our website pages and good, solid links can help our readers find the information they need.

Caution !

The most costly errors I see as a software tester are … oh, yeah …

Testing website links

BROKEN LINKS !!

I click each URL to ensure it goes where it’s ‘supposed to.

The biggest problems I find?

The ‘… where it’s supposed to’ part.

Broken links kill your testing budget

Those little ones and zeros are doing what they’re told.

They don’t have minds of their own (though sometimes it feels like it, doesn’t it?).

But, let’s say a link ‘freezes’ a computer or goes to the wrong location.

Your tester spends extra time (= extra $) chasing down the problem.

Saving-big-bucks alert

Check your URLs before testing begins.

This helps keep your project scope and budget on target.

Test off-site using a different computer on another server.

Why?

Your network’s server has seen these links before.

It’s thinking, “Hey! I know you guys. Howdy!”

Ensure a new-to-the-links server sees them, too.

Speaking of off-site …

When I test for clients, I follow the rules I just gave you.

I work from outside the company, testing on my computer.

And lo, sometimes there is an outcry in the land … er … behind the oak desk.

“No, I want you in our building!”

Really?

The customers are outside the company.

Right?

Let’s ensure they can step through the electronic door from their locations.


Your Takeaway: Think carefully about your site’s complexity, keeping it as uncluttered as possible when it comes to adding links.

Join the Conversation

• Do you have a link-from-Hell story to share?
• A rule on the types of links you use (or won’t use) on a client’s site?
• What’s the most impressive use of URLs you’ve seen?

Whether you’re a developer or a user, leave your ideas and insights in the comments section below. If you have questions about this article, feel free to email me: click here to email me.

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Kathie York, CSQE
Queen of Non-Overwhelm
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