Why “Click Here” links are so terrible

Never, ever, ever do this

There are three guidelines you should follow when creating a text link.

The link text should:

  1. say what you are linking to
  2. make sense out of context
  3. not contain the words “click here”

Here’s why.

Say what you are linking to

The link should tell the user in plain language what the link goes to. So if you are linking to a page where people can purchase tickets for your event–let’s say “The Fish Under The Sea” Dance–then the link should indicate that.

Good:

“Fish Under The Sea” Dance Tickets

Bad:

Click here to buy your tickets for the “Fish Under The Sea” Dance

In the first example, the link text tells you all you need to know. You can click it, confident that it will take you to a page where you can buy tickets for the dance. In the second example, you need to read the whole sentence to know what “Click here” is taking you to. People are trying to buy tickets for the dance, and the “click here” link is slowing them down and confusing them. Which brings us to….

Links should make sense out of context

In our bad example above, you need to read the whole sentence to know what the link is going to. “Click here” tells you no information. It commands you to do something, but it doesn’t tell you if that’s something you actually want to click on.

Do not say “Click Here”

Here’s a summary of why this is so bad.

  1. It is unnecessary
    • People know what to do with links. They know to click it.
  2. It is meaningless
    • The words “Click Here” gives them no additional meaning or context
  3. Does not tell them where the link goes
  4. Hinders page scanning
    • People scan pages rather than reading line by line. So if someone is looking for the link, they have to stop at “Click Here” links and read the text around it to find out if that’s the link they need. By not having good link text, you slow them down, confuse them, and possibly prevent them from noticing the link entirely.
  5. It is not a “call to action”
    • Some people think the phrase “Click Here” acts like a call to action, like saying “Sign Up Now” or “Get Started.” But it’s not. It’s operational text. It’s telling you what you do, not why you’re doing it. It’s like having “Read this page” at the top of your web page.
  6. Accessibility
    • Someone using a screen reader or other technology will have a more difficult time figuring out what the link is for. Screen readers can read all the links on the page, so someone using a screen reader just hears “Click Here” ¬†without the other context.

But don’t just take my word for it

Here are some other articles about this phenomenon, why it’s bad, and tips on how to do better text links.

Why your links should never say “Click Here”¬†via Smashing Magazine

Don’t use “Click Here” as link text via W3c

Don’t say ‘Click Here’ on text links via Good Usability

Writing Hyperlinks via Nielsen Norman Group