Getting new visitors to your web site is a never-ending quest. One that involves creating interesting content on your site, getting the site indexed and ranked high by the search engines, and providing a good reason for visitors to stay on your site once they get there.
For these and many other reasons, the last thing you want to do is to accidentally boot a visitor off your site. But many sites do just that – kick visitors off their sites and send them somewhere else – every time they include a link to another site.
The Power of the link
One of the most useful features of web pages is the ability to include links to other pages on the Internet. These links act as instant gateways or doorways of information on the net. And it is a rare web page that doesn’t include at least one link to another page somewhere on the web.
But if you include links in the pages on your web site, each of those links can act as a booby trap that when clicked, kicks your visitor out of your site, and sends them somewhere else – often never to return.
For example, let’s say you have written an article about doing business on eBay, and within your article you have several links to examples of different auctions on eBay. A visitor comes to your site and begins reading the article. Within your article, they find a link to a sample page at eBay, and click the link. When they click the link, the page they are reading (your article) disappears and is replaced by the page you linked to oneBay. They view the sample page and maybe even click a few links on that page.
Then, when they want to come back to your site to resume reading the article, they can’t because the first time they clicked the link you kicked them off your site. And unless they know how to use the back button (and assuming it still works), they may not know how to get back to your site to finish reading the article.
Preventing the boot
Fortunately there is a very simple way to prevent this problem. Here’s how.
The standard HTML command to create a hyper link to a web site looks like:
If you create a link coded as above and if the link destination is not within your own site, the visitor who clicks the link is whisked away from your site – which you probably don’t want to happen.
But, if you add the target=”_blank” command to the link code, the linked destination page opens in a new window, and your original web page is still active. Here’s the code:
<a href=”http://www.eBay.co.UK” target=”_blank”>eBay</a>
So, by adding this simple code to all links to external pages on your site, you never kick a visitor off your site. But don’t add this code to links within your site, or you’ll end up annoying your visitors by opening up new browser windows when they aren’t necessary.
Not just links
Another place you will want to use the target=”_blank” code is for any clickable images that link to external destinations. This is especially true when it comes to banner ads you have on your site. You don’t want to have your customers kicked off your site each time they click a banner ad.
So simple, yet so powerful
Adding this simple bit of code to all your external links is one of the quickest ways to insure that visitors are not kicked off your site each time they click a link.
It doesn’t cost you anything (but time) to add this extra code, but the results can mean visitors to your site stay around longer, and come back more often.