This post was written by our web legend Michael Urquhart. Michael is great at translating web-speak for us mere mortals and builds a mean site, be it simple or complex.
Often as I sift through the series of tubes that is the internet I come across things that, as a web developer, frustrate me. One of the most frustrating things is the use of “click here”. This term is used quite widely, but in reality has no place in web copy. Let me explain why.
Firstly it’s redundant. The Internet has been around for long enough for people to figure out what you can click on. They don’t need to be told where they can click. The copy should be written and the links should be styled in such a way that it’s obvious where the user can click.
Secondly it’s poor SEO (search engine optimisation). The user should be able to determine the expected link destination based on the content of the link, e.g., “…please contact us for more information…”. Search engines broadly “read” pages in a similar manner. If you use “to view our portfolio click here” it may make sense to a human, who can preface the click here, to figure out the parable link destination but to a search engine it does not. They assume that the link referring to information is about ‘click here’ not a portfolio. The correct use would be simply “view our portfolio”. That way the search engine knows that the link is about our portfolio.
Thirdly it’s bad accessibility. Websites should be designed so anyone can use them, no matter what their situation. A classic example of this is visually impaired people who “view” Internet using screen reading software. They should not be disadvantaged. One of the many features of these screen readers is listing all the links in a page, so a user can navigate quickly. If all your links are click here the software would just repeat click here, click here, click here… you get the point. The user is none the wiser of what these links are and where they go. This goes hand in hand with my second point.
During my university work experience I had the privilege to work with a totally blind web developer. It was an eye opening experience to say the least (pun intended). At one point he unplugged his headphones so I could hear what the screen reader sounded like. It was like chipmunks on acid it was reading so fast.
These a just a few reasons why ‘click here’ should not be used. So if you are writing copy for the web or email in the future please think twice before using it.