To create links internally or externally we use the a tag. The ‘a’ stands for ‘anchor’ and is commonly used in the form of
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<a href="http://bloggingtips.com">Blogging Tips Link</a>
Anchor tags have a number of attributes available to them. The more common ones are:
- Defines the destination url
- Describes the relation between the document and the destination url. Can have a number of values including next, prev, bookmark (these are recognised values with the W3C), external and nofollow (this was invented by Google to allow site owners to inform the googlebot spider that they could not vouch for the destination url linked to)
- Allows you to give additional information about the destination url. This appears as a tooltip when a user hovers over the anchor text
External links always require the full URL including the http:// or https:// (for secure sites only) in the href value. You can then use the title attribute to description the link or mention that the link will take the user to a new site (this can be useful for usability). The rel attribute can then have a value of external (although this is not a requirement), to provide additional information. So, for example, to add a link to your site to Blogging Tips you could use
<a href="http://bloggingtips.com" rel="external" title="External Link: Visit BloggingTips.com">Blogging Tips</a>
Internal links are links that are kept within your site i.e. on the same domain. As with external links, you can use the full http:// or https:// url or you can use a url absolute to the root of your site (by starting the address with a forwardslash), or you can use a url relative to the page.
So all of the following 3 examples would do the same job when linked on this page
<a href="http://bloggingtips.com/2008/11/06/html-document-body/">The HTML Document Body</a>
Absolute to root
<a href="/2008/11/06/html-document-body/">The HTML Document Body</a>
Relative to page
<a href="../../06/html-document-body/">The HTML Document Body</a>
Notice, for the last example I’ve had to use the ‘..’ method which means go back a directory. In this example I’ve had to go back two directories and then go into the directory 06 (for the 6th November) and then into the directory for my page from last week.
All of these methods are fine to use, however your safest options are either of the first two, simply because these are less likely to cause broken links, especially if you move the page or copy the content to a different page located on your site.
You may think, okay this whole post is about anchor links, however so far I’ve been explaining the anchor “tag”. Anchor links are links that send the user to a specific point on a page. We used to define this point using the name attribute with the a tag e.g.
<a name="specificpoint">Title Optional</a>
However, since XHTML, the name attribute was deprecated, and instead you can use any id attribute as the pinpoint target (in other words, the id attribute doesn’t have to be within an anchor tag, it can be in any tag). For anyone familiar with basic CSS, they’ll have see the id attributes in use before. Targeting the id attribute will work for HTML 4.01 too, so it’s a good method to start using, even though the name attribute is still valid for this specification.
A simple example of using an anchor link is
<a href="#jump">The HTML Document Body</a>
When clicked this would then move you up or down the page to where ever there is an id attribute value of ‘jump’. You’ve possibly seen this on a lot of blog posts, where you click on the ‘Post a Comment’ link, and in the url is #comments. For example on the front page of Blogging Tips for this post we have
<a href="http://bloggingtips.com/2008/11/13/html-basics-linking-pages/#comments">Post a Comment</a>
and when you click on this link it takes you to this page, however it jumps down to the start of the comments by using the specific pinpoint of
You can use anchor links to link to any point within the same page as the link, in a different internal page, and also in an external page. If you link to a specific anchor point and it no longer exists (perhaps you’ve changed the id attribute value without thinking) then the user will just go to the page and not ‘jump’ anywhere within it.
Finally the mailto link. This allows you to link an email address and when users click the link it will open up their specified mail client with your email address in the To box (this isn’t the case for all users, only those who have the mail client specified in their browser settings under Applications).
To create a mailto link you use
Here we have the value of ‘mailto:’ at the start of the href value, followed by the email address. The anchor text can be anything you want, however taking into account not everyone can necessarily click the link and expect it to work for them (anyone in an Internet Cafe for example will find it doesn’t work), I would recommend that you also visibly display the address on the page so that people who cannot use the link can at least copy the email address easily.
Next week I’ll explain how you can style these links using CSS 🙂
4 Uncommon Design Tricks That Improve User Experience 100%
Everyone’s concerned about improving conversion rates. The general consensus is that user experience is the place to start.
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There are several ways to improve user experience on your blog. Most strategies center on tweaking the design of your website, but sometimes it’s how you organize your navigation. You’ve probably made basic changes like switching to WordPress or alphabetizing your drop-down menu’s items.
Here are some strategies you may not have tried:
1 – Color-code your menus with matching page color schemes
If you’re like most bloggers, you probably created a workable color scheme for your site and called it a day. If you want to improve user experience, that’s not enough. Consider coordinating the colors between your main menu links and each of your pages.
In an article describing why color-coded, hand-written notes improve efficiency of thought, blogger Kevin Purdy reveals that “color improves recall time for graphs and charts, and can be a very effective performance factor if not overdone.” The article also summarizes the work of Michael Tipper, a speaker and consultant on mind mapping and organizational software. Tipper says that color-coding the branches of a mind map stimulates the creative side of your brain, and visually separates distinct themes (which improves recall).
This same idea can be applied to your website for optimal results. Improve user experience by color-coding your main menu with a matching color scheme for each page you link. For instance, Pioneer Seeds implements color coordination extremely well. From one side to the other, all mega menu drop-downs have a unique background color that matches the color scheme of the pages listed within that particular section. There are no complicated color schemes. Each page presents one solid color.
The continuity of matching colors feels good, it’s easy on the eyes, and it helps people keep track of what section they’re viewing.
2 – Hire a design agency to create a custom design from scratch
The era of templates is here to stay, but not without consequence. Templates are easy and cheap (sometimes free), but they lack the flexibility you need to create an impactful and smooth user experience.
For example, most templates feature a gigantic header that encourages you to create an enormous header you don’t need. The most popular templates today force users to scroll endlessly through horizontal sections containing nothing but large icons with a few words underneath. You can change a template, but not without effort and the frustration of having to settle for “good enough.” This is especially useful for anyone trying to making their mobile site look similar to their desktop experience. This is best accomplished when having a fully responsive theme in place for all platforms.
A design agency can give you exactly what you want from the beginning. When your website design is created from scratch, you don’t have to spend hours tweaking a template only to find out your final tweak – the one that matters most – isn’t going to work.
Men With Pens is a well-known design agency that has created custom WordPress themes for years. They specialize in design, and know exactly how to create a better user experience. Their website embodies their expertise in user experience.
Check out their tips for bloggers and see if you notice anything unique about the page design. The design fills the entire page, and the graphics extend outside the lines and boxes. When you land on the page, you’re engaged right away. Capturing a visitor’s attention is your first priority to improve user experience. If you don’t have a user’s attention, they won’t have an experience at all.
3 – Simplicity
Simplicity never goes out of style. Simplicity in design embraces the approach that “less is more.” It’s a cliché, but it’s true.
Nobody knows simplicity better than Steve Pavlina. He’s been publishing articles on his personal blog for over a decade, and until recently, his site was as plain as plain can be. He recently switched to WordPress, but managed to maintain the simplicity responsible for his success.
Simple designs are easier to read, navigate, and interact with. Less menu items, less distractions on the home page, and minimal or no sidebars is what simplicity is all about. A simple design draws attention to what’s important.
4 – Create a unique design for mobile
Don’t just optimize your website for mobile users. Create a custom design for mobile users based on your original design. When you optimize your existing design for mobile, you often sacrifice important aspects of your desktop design. Using code, you can program your site to display a different design based on a user’s device.
Statistics show that 83% of people say a seamless experience across all devices is important. By creating a custom mobile theme based on your existing theme, you give mobile users that seamless experience. It’s the best of both worlds. Just be sure to include all of your navigation links. Some people suggest limiting selections for mobile users, but that will crush the seamless experience.
How to Best Prepare Your Site for Design Success!
User experience can be improved not just by tweaking your design, but by applying principles of color, navigation, and organization. Instead of chasing the latest revelation in conversion gimmicks, invest your time and money in fact-based strategies that improve user experience. Shift your focus away from the minutia of testing every tiny design element, and toward creating a psychologically-sound foundation for your users.
Fotor Photo Editor – The Perfect Graphic Design Tool for Bloggers
As bloggers and content creators, it’s important to always have visual content built within our best articles and site designs. Infographics, clip art, stock photos and more… but customized and original images will always grab the most attention.
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When it comes to actually creating such visuals, you will have many different options to choose from. Whether you are looking for a free application, one that is browser-based, or even if it’s a premium software you need to download and pay for — it’s important to know what’s out there.
Today we are going to be looking at Fotor photo editor which is a free and powerful tool that lets anyone get started with their own graphic design in just a few short minutes.
This tool allows anyone to start using it through a web browser or even with their mobile application. Whether you need to edit a photo, make a collage, or create a custom and original design, it can all be done through the power of Fotor.
The most popular features of this tool are it’s one click filters and fixes that allowed anyone to make their images pop and stand out like never before.
Let’s take a look at some of the many benefits to using Fotor photo editor for your website, blog, or just everyday life.
With most people looking to customize their mobile screenshots on photos with a few simple click of a button, and this is exactly what fotor photo editor will allow you to do. It will also allow you to create custom YouTube banners that can be used to liven up your channel as well.
You can see a few of these examples in the screenshot below.
When comparing Fotor to other graphic design applications like Photoshop, you are going to find many similarities, but it’s also important to note that premium applications like Photoshop are much more advanced, but also more costly in the process. The software is free to use, you can upgrade to Fotor Pro and find even more upgrade and options available.
What makes this design application and tool great for site owners and bloggers, is that it has a unique set of design tools and features — which are what most content creators are looking. In short, it provides users with what they need, while not overwhelming them in the process.
Fotor also offers a nice selection of design templates to choose from, which makes the process of creating new and original content even easier. These template designs scale across the many different design themes, sizes, and concepts on the site.
In addition to everything else mentioned, there is also a nice collection of resources, guides, and tutorials that can be found on their site blog. Such resources will provide users what the information and walk-through processes to get the most out of Fotor.
If you are currently looking for a new design editor to improve the look and feel of visual content on your site, be sure to give Fotor a try.
4 Essential Elements of Web Design (No.3 Will Shock You!)
If you’re a small business owner take note of these four elements of web design. They’re essential for boosting your online presence. Click here for more info!
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Have you ever wondered why most business websites tend to look the same? It’s like you’ve seen one and you’ve seen them all.
The truth is a lot of business owners prefer the easy route. That means going for a website builder, which offers templated designs.
If you want something different, you’ll have to go custom. But that takes a lot of time. Plus, you’ll have to look for a skilled designer/developer.
Whatever route you choose, you need to understand the elements of web design. After all, it’s your website. If you choose to hire a pro, you need to know what to ask for.
And if you opt to DIY it, then you can steer clear of cringe-worthy web design. That said, here are 4 web design elements that will help boost your online presence.
1. User Journey
You can scroll through countless website design guides and you’ll never see one that says, “ignore what users think.”
Consider mobile apps. Would you download something that’s hard to use and has a lot of annoying ads?
When you design your website, put yourself in your visitors’ shoes. Is your website hard to navigate? Does it load fast?
But how do you know if your user interface is good? Aside from consistency, it has to be simple, intuitive, responsive, and flexible.
This is why it’s good to test different designs first before committing to one. It saves time and eliminates the need for major changes later on.
Designing for the web doesn’t stop when you have a “pretty” website. Sure, your target customers will appreciate nifty graphics and all. But if your content doesn’t offer value, users will leave your website.
Now, this doesn’t mean huge blocks of text that will drown your visitors with information. Opt for conciseness. Give your target audience content that’s easy to digest so they can process it better.
Depending on what CMS you are using, content creation is usually the easy part. This is especially the case when using platforms like Weebly, WordPress or Wix. Since most of these platforms are drag and drop, it’s simply a matter of getting familiar with each platform, and knowing how to create great content. There are no programming or design skills required.
Did you just check the title again? If yes, you may be wondering why this would be shocking. Shouldn’t this be part of any website designing guide?
The thing is there are plenty of websites that use low contrast for text because it’s trendy. But you have to take into account users who have vision problems.
There has to be enough contrast between text and background. And you also need to choose your colors well. You don’t want to alienate color-blind and blind users who use assistive technologies.
Some people approach website design as a separate entity from search engine optimization. But there’s a way to be strategic about the process so that design elements improve the SEO of your site.
The easiest way would be to outsource to an all-in-one design company such as https://www.databerry.com/. When they build your site, they also take care of the backend coding stuff. This ensures your title tags, meta tags, etc work for better search ranking.
Want to Know More About the Elements of Web Design?
Knowing the elements of web design is your first step to a website that looks and functions well. But getting them all right takes a bit of trial and error.
For more web design tips, don’t forget to check out our other blog posts.
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