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blog: a regularly updated web page, typically run by an individual or organization, containing relevant thoughts and ideas.
 
by: Christine Swartzendruber, Chief Technology Officer

I’m frequently asked to review other websites for design strength. Commonly overlooked is the importance of styling links. Links connect pages to other pages. They are what make the web an international network rather than just a collection of separate, unconnected pages.

What catches a users eye are elements that stand out as they scan your page. They are not reading each line of every page they hit. So when styling things like links and text it is important to make them obvious.

Another mistake made by web designers is to create links from text such as, “click here” or using the actual address as the link. Search engines are looking for descriptive links. For example a pet groomer should use the term “terrific pet groomer” as link text rather than, “click here”. Site placement is diminished by using generic terms as links.

Links should stand out from the other text on the page. If your site’s text is black your links should be a complimentary color. Links should never be styled using the standard blue or purple link color because they just appear to be unstyled elements.

Don’t forget to style your visited links. It is important for a user to know where they have already been, and where they are going. Hover state is also an important style to apply to a link. A user wants to know where they are about to go as much as where they have been. Users require feedback from a site while they are using it. Link styles are a good way to interact with your users and guide them on their path.

Adding visual elements, such as icons, is a great way to appeal to users who are browsing  through multiple sites. An icon helps the user to quickly recognize a page they would like to visit.

Always link the logo for the site to the home page, most users expect this convention across the web, but don’t expect that all users will know this. Make sure that you have a text-based link to your home page, whether it’s part of the main navigation or just a small link near the top of the page.

Styling your links is imperative for taking the guess work out of navigating your web site.