One of my favorite writing coaches, Ann Wylie, recently posted a new article on her Web site – Chain reaction: Write web links that work – where she suggests embedding links in your text distracts readers and damages your ability to clearly communicate with your audiences. So how do you handle the desire to share additional resources while keeping your readers focused on your message? Ann offers three tips:
1. Choose your medium: The Web is great for delivering chunks of information but not so great for conveying complex information, she says. Choose the medium that best suits your end goal.
2. Place links where they’ll do the most good. Some prefer to list links at the bottom of their page, Ann says. Others run side notes. On the Attorney General’s Web site, we use a combination. On our Heath Care Lawsuit FAQ site, we include links to relevant documents at the top of the page as well as throughout the document. When we file new lawsuits, we’ll include links to court documents at the bottom of the news release and embed them in the document. On other pages, such as our legislative agenda page, we link to copies of the bills at the beginning of the narrative and provide bill status, upcoming hearings and other information in the side bar.
3. Make your page “context-independent, self-contained.” Your Web page, blog post or article should stand alone. People should be able to understand your point without having to click on every link you’ve provided, Ann says.
Great advice, Ann. I’m already planning on making some changes to our site, but as you can tell from this post, my hyperlinking habit will be a hard one to break. What do you all think?
PS: Don’t miss a fantastic opportunity to see Ann for just a fraction of her regular conference price! Ann will be joining the Puget Sound Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and presenting a half-day seminar on Writing for the Web.
When? 9 to Noon, Aug. 11
Where? Museum of Glass, 1801 Dock St., Tacoma, WA 98402
Register online or call 206-623-8632 by August 9 for the lowest prices:
- $95 PRSA member
- $145 Non-member,
- $75 Student
Prices increase by $10 per person at the door.
- Continental breakfast, snacks & beverages
- Entrance to the Museum
- Discounted parking