There are some basic link rules to follow when writing for your intranet, the skill is to avoid unravelling your masterpiece of a sentence as you use them. These basic rules will help you construct beautiful hyperlinks that people will click.
Do make it obvious
Links should express their purpose so people know what they are about to click on before they click; it’s not a guessing game.
|😃||Read navigation design using card sorting [PDF; 425KB] to assess if helpful.||Provides the ‘what’ and ‘how’ in a short phrase, followed by the fact that it’s a PDF resource.|
|😩||Read navigation design using card sorting to assess if helpful.||Looks like a normal link to a web page; fails to make people aware that it’s a PDF resource.|
Do make it active
If you have a specific action you want the reader to take, then use the active part of your sentence as the hyperlink, for example:
|😃||Claim your expenses by visiting eBIS online.||Makes it clear what action needs to be taken.|
|😩||Claim your expenses by visiting eBIS online.||Doesn’t describe what action the link will help people with.|
Don’t just copy and paste
Pasting a long web address into an intranet page is bad practice. It looks untidy, it couldn’t possibly fit neatly into a sentence, and it’s extremely unclear where it will take the reader unless they read the relevant context before and after the link.
|😃||Find out what the term ‘URL’ stands for.||On its own, the link says what you’ll discover if you click it.|
|😩||http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniform_resource_locator||Meaningless and couldn’t possibly fit neatly into a sentence.|
Embedding links into meaningful text is the right thing to do. It’s a little bit more effort for you, but the reader will appreciate it.
It’s easy to forget that people read differently online than when reading a novel or even a text book. We quickly scan read online and are drawn to stand-out content such as links, bullet points, headings, and keywords.
Following these basic rules means you’ll be onto a winner at creating great intranet content that your readers will use and enjoy using. If you found this article useful, then you’ll love our ClearBox ‘Writing for the intranet’ workshop.
This is one of a series of short articles about intranet content practices.
Joanne Treverton, our comms and content workshop leader
Previously the award winning intranet manager for the RSPB, Joanne knows the intricacies of online communication and digital content.
With 8+ years’ of experience in copywriting, internal communications, intranet management and digital marketing at Europe’s largest nature conservation charity, the RSPB, Jo strongly believes that the best intranets are those based around the users’ needs. Writing, creating, and editing content requires skill and patience to get right, but is something that anyone can learn to improve their online writing.