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Why “Click Here” Deserves To Die

You should never use “click here” as link text. That’s a well-known, universal web truth …right? Apparently not. Despite being frowned upon by the W3C for at least ten years now, “click here”s still run rampant all over the internet.

What’s wrong with using “click here” for your link text? I’m glad you asked! When you want to call the user to action, you should use brief but meaningful link text that:

  • provides some information when read out of context
  • explains what the link offers
  • doesn’t talk about mechanics
  • is not a verb phrase

“Click here” violates all of this.

 

Bad

Good

To download Acrobat Reader, click here.

or

To download Acrobat Reader, go to the Adobe website and get the necessary software.

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Not Accessible

Vague link text, like “click here” is not WCAG 1.0 compliant. In order to comply with Guideline 13 the target of every link must be clearly identified. When someone using a screen reader navigates through the page using the tab key they will hear “link click here” which is about as useful as a chocolate teapot, not to mention annoying. If this is all the information I have, how will I know where that link will take me? WCAG 2.0 has two guidelines as well that deal with meaningful link text. Making your site accessible can only be a benefit to everyone who visits.

Device Dependent

Telling a user to click implies that they’re using a mouse. While this is currently true for most people, it’s not universal. What about people using screen readers? What about mobile devices like iPhones or touch screens? Users probably recognize what you mean, but you are still conveying the message in a device-dependent way.

Overly Vague

Assuming that you’re using a computer with a mouse and that you’re not having the screen contents read to you, “click here” still doesn’t give you a good idea about where that link may take you or what to expect. Your link text should still be meaningful even when read out of context. Don’t make me guess as what will load when I click on a link.

Not Scannable

People don’t read online. I’m sure you’ve heard it before. They scan. Users are always looking for that next link that will bring them closer to the information they’re looking for. Since links are visually different than the rest of your text, this is what will catch the eye of your user while they scan down the page. Don’t slow them down. If they scan and see nothing but “click here” instead of the meaningful words they were expecting they will either have to go back and read through everything to find what they’re looking for or, more likely, get frustrated and just leave.

Don’t Give Up Early

You’ve spent a lot of time making sure your website looks great, is full of useful features and marketed well. Don’t wimp out on the little details, like meaningful link text, that make a good site great.