There is one thing that makes me bonkers – BONKERS – on websites and in emails – the words “Click Here.” Ugh! When I started working at Shady Side Academy in 2010 as their Manager of Web Communications, the first thing I did was ban the words “click here” in any online communications. It was fine to use it amongst ourselves when we were talking things out, but when it came to creating a web page or email, that phrase was changed to something descriptive.
“Click Here” is one of those phrases that just won’t die, but it needs to. It’s a useless phrase for a few reasons.
People Understand What Buttons and Links Are
Back in the Internet’s infancy, people were learning how to do the most basic tasks. At the time, adding “click here” to a button or link was a way to help them along. But guess what? We are past that – way past that. You know how to click or tap a button and how to use a link. Those skills are part of our common internet language – we simply understand it now like we know how to open a drawer or put on a shirt. Someone had to teach us how to do that, but now we do it without thinking.
“Click Here” Links Tell You Nothing
How many times have you visited a website and seen something like this:
To learn more you can click here, here, and here.
That sentence literally tells the reader nothing. It doesn’t tell you what you’re reading more about (although it’s presumably in the previous sentence), and it doesn’t tell you where you’re going or what to expect. Most people scan web pages and links are one of those things that cause a reader to slow down. It’s unhelpful for the reader when every link on the page is “click here.” Help your readers and make your links mean something.
“Click Here” Links Tell Search Engines Nothing
If helping your readers isn’t your thing, how about search engines? One of the things Google and the like look for on a website that help put it in context are links. When your links all say “click here,” Google has a harder time knowing what your website is about. That’s points off right there, sending you farther and farther down search results. Simply using descriptive links will help you ranking.
“Click Here” is Lazy and You’re Better Than That
I think a lot of people, especially those first starting out online, don’t know what else to use. They’ve seen “click here” before and so they use it. The truth is, using “click here” is lazy. You are better than that! You can think of another word or phrase that better describes a button or link.
If you’re reading this and thinking, “Sure, Dana, that’s easy for you to say!” then you’re in luck. I’ve created a No More “Click Here” Cheat Sheet that gives you examples of what you can use instead, in various situations.
Ban “Click Here” and Use Descriptive Links
I want you to make me a promise – a promise that you won’t use “click here” links in your marketing any more. Instead, I want you to commit to using descriptive links. A descriptive link simply describes the link.
In the link above, here’s what I could have written:
Instead, I wrote this descriptive link:
I’ve created a No More “Click Here” Cheat Sheet that gives you examples of what you can use instead, in various situations.
Notice that I didn’t hyperlink the entire sentence, just the part that links to the cheat sheet. I simply linked the title of the cheat sheet to the cheat sheet. It’s really not more complicated than that.
Ban “Click Here” From Your Buttons
Buttons are similar to links in that they should be descriptive, but how descriptive depends on the type of button and call to action you’re making. A form submit button should be short – just a few words. A button like the one I use for my freebie can be longer – in this case, I use the entire title of the freebie, along with the words “Download Dana’s Freebie.” This way, anyone reading the button knows that they can download a free item called No More “Click Here” Cheat Sheet. When you click on this button, you expect to be taken to a page where you can download – or sign up to download – a free cheat sheet. I also used a download icon to support this. Images and icons can help readers understand what you want them to do, but be sure you don’t rely on them entirely. I still used the word “download” on the button. The two reinforce each other.
Use Common Words
A note on descriptive links and buttons – while I want you to be creative, make sure you’re using words that make sense to your reader. Skip the jargon you use in your industry. When people are looking for a search bar, they look for the word “search.” I’ve seen some very clever websites take a huge hit because they got too clever with their navigation and people couldn’t find what they wanted. You have a restaurant? People are looking for a menu – call it “menu.” If you use a search option on your website and capture the inputs, this is a great place to see what people are looking for and the words they are using to find it.
“Click Here” Instead of Good Navigation
I truly believe that if you need to hold a class to show someone how to use your website, then you’re doing something wrong (I’m talking about basic website navigation, not a specialty use of a website that’s more technical). This is why some people end up using “Click Here.” They need to clarify where people need to go to accomplish a task. That’s a huge problem. If you find yourself in this situation, you need to revamp your website so it can be easily navigated.
When Good People Use “Click Here”
I still see marketing professionals use “click here” and every time I shake my head. It’s something that people will continue to use for various reasons, but it’s really not necessary. The next time you see it used on a website or in an email, mentally remove those words. Do you still know what to do? Most likely, the answer is yes.