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Microsoft Server Documentation

Charitable links

Expanding the design window

3. Taking a Position on Links

Take a position on one of these topics.

What’s your opinion of the links on the following sites?  Please include generous samples and URLs in your position statement.

1) Microsoft Server Documentation

  • How useful are the links on Microsoft’s web pages devoted to documentation? Ask these questions of the links:
  • Is there enough meta information to contact the people who post the content?
  • Can you easily tell when documents were posted?
  • Does the site tell you where you are, and allow you to climb out of the pit?
  • After you’ve jumped around awhile, look at the URL. Does it make sense to a human?
  • Can you tell what’s new?
  • What do you conclude about the company’s attitude toward you?


2) Charitable links

Charitable organizations must open their sites to a wide variety of visitors, hoping for donations, volunteers, and new staff, but recognizing that they may be explored by government workers, politicians, financiers, rival organizations, and the press.

How well do the links serve one of these audiences at a charitable site such as one of the following?

Amnesty International at http://www.amnesty.org/
Medecins sans Frontieres at http://www.msf.org/
Red Cross at http://www.redcross.org
United Way at http://national.unitedway.org/

  • How do the links establish or reduce credibility?
  • Are there reasonable outbound links? Internal links?
  • Do the links shift the focus from the links to the topic?
  • Are any images serving as links provided with alternate text explanations? (View source to check).
  • Do meta tags in the header alert search engines correctly to the contents of the pages? (View source to check).

3) Expanding the design window

When companies push the envelope in design, they often ignore some of the conventions that users expect. For a sophisticated audience, such explorations may work. What do you think of the links on one of these "designy" sites?






How to  make links hot

3a. Make clear what the user will get from the link.

3b. Within a sentence, make the link the emphatic element.

3c. Shift focus from the lnks or linked-to documents to the subject.

3d. Provide depth and breadth through plentiful links to related information within your site.

3e. Establish credibility by offering outbound links.

3f. Make meta information public.

3g. Write URLs that humans can read.

3h. Make links accessible.

3i. Tell people about a media object before they download.

3j. Announce the new with special links.

3k. Write meta-tags to have your pages found.

Resources on writing links

Taking a Position on Links

Heuristic Online Text (HOT) Evaluation for Links




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