Why “Click Here” & “This Link” Are Choices To Avoid For Web And Email Links

Way back in 2016, ArtsHacker Phil Paschke wrote an article about why you want to begin moving away from using phrases like “click here” in web and digital marketing copy.

Fast forward five years and it’s still an issue at a lot of sites but the stakes are a good bit higher now than in 2016. It isn’t difficult to find, common examples include “complete this form,” “click here for more information,” or “download our brochure with this link” where the underlined words are linked to the URL target.

While those may feel natural, the sooner you change, the better your copy will connect with patrons. Here are two high priority red flags to keep in mind:

  • Anything that instructs a user to click isn’t applicable to mobile devices. You’ll never look older to the younger generations you’re trying to attract.
  • In an age where phishing scams are more common, using general terms like “here” lacks transparency. If a patron is concerned, even for a moment, about the validity of where a link points, you’re chance of losing the conversion goes up exponentially.

Fortunately, crafting meaningful links is straightforward. Give yourself 15 days and I’ll be shocked if you haven’t dropped the old habits entirely. When in doubt, the more direct and specific you are, the better. Here are some examples:

  • Download our brochure here. – NOT GOOD
  • Please download our PDF brochure. – GOOD

Another big change is it’s now okay to expose URLs, meaning you can spell out the full link in the copy. Having said that, there are some caveats, the most important of which is they are short and “pretty” – i.e., don’t contain a string of alpha-numeric characters. This example includes a pretty URL and also let’s the patron know exactly what they going to download:

  • Please download our PDF brochure: https://culture.org/2022-brochure

Consider taking some time over the holiday for a content audit to find and update any outdated link-oriented copy. After you’re done, you’ll be surprised at how much better everything reads!

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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Why "Click Here" & "This Link" Are Choices To Avoid For Web And Email Links