BOOT CAMP ARCHIVE 2005

  

 

BOOTLOG 007 18/10/05

BUILDING A WEBSITE, part 7

HYPERLINKS

 

It’s no exaggeration to say that hyperlinks are one of the most important elements of web pages; they are the glue that binds the Internet together and the one critical advantage that electronic publishing has over print media.

 

Virtually all web pages will have a number of built-in hyperlinks in the shape of the site navigation buttons but one of the tricks to good web page design is to incorporate manual hyperlinks, to take your visitors quickly to other parts of the document, other pages on your site or link them to other web sites.


The mechanics of creating a hyperlink vary from one web authoring package top another but essentially there are two types of link. The simplest ones are hyperlinks to other pages on the site, or pages on the Internet and in virtually all cases all you have to do is highlight the item you want to turn into a hyperlink, and it could be a one or more words, a graphic or image, and right-click or select ‘Create Hyperlink’ (or something similar) from the Insert menu. A dialogue box should open and all you have to do is enter the full URL of the web page you want to link to, whether it’s on your site or the web. If you’ve made a character, word or words into a hyperlink it will be underlined. Most programs have an option to change the colour of the link and underline, and set a colour change, to indicate that the link has been used.

 

The second type of hyperlink is used to link to another part of the page or the document you are working on. Obviously this should only be used on very long documents or lists where the location you want the reader to get to is a long way down the page. It makes more sense to use hyperlinks to link to a specific location on another page in your web site.

 

In either case the  ‘Bookmark’ is used to identify the point on the document or web page that you want to link to. The first step is to go to the page that you want to link to and create the Bookmark by highlighting the point on the page you want to link to. It could be a word or graphic or even an empty space; right click the highlight select Create Bookmark and you will be asked to give it a name (or use the default name, if you’ve highlighted a word). Step two is to create the hyperlink that links to your Bookmark; follow the same procedure as before, highlight the word or graphic, right click, select Create Hyperlink but this time instead of a URL choose your newly created Bookmark.

 

To give you some idea of how and where to use Hyperlinks and Bookmarks with a web page have a look at the BootLog Glossary. This is riddled with links to make this rather long document easier to navigate. As you can see the row of underlined letters across the top of the page are hyperlinks and these are connected to the large bookmarked letters at the head of each section. The save readers the effort of scrolling to the top of the page the words ‘TOP’, sprinkled strategically throughout the document are bookmarked to a blind character at the top of the page. 

 

When the Glossary is referred to in another document the trick here is to highlight and hyperlink the word on the page to the Glossary, and to make it even more user friendly, add a bookmark to the end of the URL to take the reader directly to the word or term referred to by adding the hash'#' symbol plus the bookmark code to the end. So for example clicking on this Hyperlink should take you to the H section of the Glossary where you will find the definition. The actual URL and bookmark for this hyperlink looks like this: 'http://www.rickmaybury.com/links.html#H'.  The technique could be further refined to take the reader to the exact word but that would involve a great deal more work

 

It probably sounds more complicated than it actually is but you will quickly get the hang of it. If you want some practice you can try it on a Word document, make a link to another point on a page, and once you are comfortable with that, try hyperlinking to a bookmark in another word document.

 

There are several schools of though on the size of hyperlinks but the most obvious thing to watch out for is not to make them so short or small that they could be missed. Long hyperlinks, more than three or four words, say, should also be avoided, as they tend to look ugly. If you want to make your hyperlinks stand out more then make the word or characters bold or italic, though again don’t overdo it. Too many hyperlinks can look horrible too and make long text heavy pages difficult to read, they can also be quite distracting and if you send your reader off to too many other locations or websites they might not find their way back…

 

Part 8 -- Publishing and maintaining your site

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