Writing effective hyperlinks: critique and recommendation

It’s hard for me to grasp that in 2013 we still need to talk about “click here” as a hyperlink. (Just say No!)

Look at this promotional email from Top Food & Drug:

Top Foods email

Where do your eyes land?

Those two bold and red “click here” links along with and Contact Us … right?

Ask yourself: why might a customer be reading this section of an email about promotions?

Here are some questions she might have:

  • What are the dates for the sale?
  • How do I unsubscribe?
  • How do I change my email address?
  • Why am I receiving this email from Top Food & Drug?

The questions are answered in the email, but with a heavy cognitive load. This is a friction-full, not friction-less, experience. (A cynic might say the friction is intentional because it makes it less likely that the customer will leave.)

How might this information be presented in a more customer-focused manner, one that helps her quickly answer her questions?

  • Make the type darker; that light gray type has very little contrast.
  • Make the hyperlinks meaningful; use key words and verbs and ditch “click here.” Not only is “click here” meaningless for people using accessible technology, it’s meaningless for anyone scanning a page looking for trigger words, words than complete the task. As this example shows, hyperlinks are signposts; craft them well.
  • Chunk (make it scannable) the copy.

Here’s one possible rewrite that is scannable (key chunks of information as bullet points) with actionable hyperlinks that answer reader questions:

This e-mail was sent on behalf of TOP Food & Drug ( by Accelitec|interact through enrollment in the TOP Connection program. If you have questions, please call (877) 867-3850.

How else might this be redesigned or rewritten?

By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

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