Thursday, February 27, 2014

Where to Put Hyperlinks in Your Articles and Posts

By Joey Lehrman | Email the Author | Follow on Twitter

Joey Lehrman
The dreaded hyperlink!
I often get inquires from my readers about where to put a hyperlink in a news article, blog post, or class assignment. Although it seems like a straightforward process, placing hyperlinks properly is something of an art (and there certainly is no established MLA guide for inserting hyperlinks). And of course, as a former teacher, I've always been focused on encouraging students to follow the guidelines for proper written English.

So, the general idea for inserting hyperlinks is to consider the text itself (and what you are linking to). For example:
The author in this article seems to understand how to place links properly; notice how the phrase "this article" is hyperlinked because the phrasing refers directly to whatever is being linked!
But, the phrasing of a passage isn't always so direct. For example, here's a passage from that same article above that demonstrates the principle further:
Happily, there are solutions. Just as we teach children how to ride bikes by putting them on a bicycle, we need to teach students how to write grammatically by letting them write. Once students get ideas they care about onto the page, they are ready for instruction—including grammar instruction—that will help communicate those ideas. We know that grammar instruction that works includes teaching students strategies for revising and editing, providing targeted lessons on problems that students immediately apply to their own writing, and having students play with sentences like Legos, combining basic sentences into more complex ones. 
Since the link was to a study that supports the idea in the passage, the author placed the hyperlink with the words "we know." In other words, the author is encouraging readers to explore what "we know" through those exact words.

If you continue reading the article, the author continues the effective use of hyperlinks as follows:
Schools that have shifted from traditional “stand-alone” grammar to teaching grammar through writing offer concrete proof that such approaches work. They are moving more students more quickly into college-level courses than previously thought possible. One of these is a program at Arizona State in which students who test below college-level in their writing ability immediately begin writing college essays. 
Again, since the author is referring to a program, why not put the link to information about the program with those exact words! 

And, just a few more examples of well-placed hyperlinks from an article about America's favorite athlete, Richie Incognito (notice how the hyperlinks can be extended from just "an article" to the rest of the phrase because the article and link are about Richie:
Richie Incognito, who has had anger-management issues during his football career, smashed his own black Ferrari with a baseball bat, according to the Scottsdale Police Department.
Notice that although the phrase "anger-management issues" doesn't use the words "article" or "blog post" directly, the link itself shows an example of Richie's anger-management issues. So the link works perfectly! And the second one is much more straightforward, since it leads to an article that discusses the Ferrari-smashing incident!

So the next time you are wondering where to place a hyperlink, just consider the actual text you are using and what you are directing people to find. And if you have any questions, EMAIL ME

P.S. Did you anyone notice the one linked that I place in hear as a joke? Links can also be used humorously!

Joey Lehrman is a retired teacher with over 40 years of experience in the New Orleans public school system. Since retiring, he has transitioned to sharing his experience and perspective and all things New Orleans through a variety of blogs, news-sites, and social networks.

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