Links That Get Clicks – Conversion Wednesday

By Dan G


Everyone wants “LINKS THAT GET CLICKS”. Without clicks a link is worthless. Have you every noticed that Google keeps all the links on their websites blue? Well, as it turns out, there’s a good reason for that. Not only is blue the most familiar color to user’s for links, which makes them easier to locate, but there is now research that proves this. 2 UK Researchers Van Shaik and Ling have proven that if usability is your priority, blue is the best color for your links. Especially if you want maximize the speed in which your users find and click on those links.

An abstract from their most recent research concluded that “The principle ‘what is beautiful is usable’ is not confirmed.” Through “usage patterns” people have come to expect certain things to be the same on every site, such as link colors, the location of the website’s logo, the behavior of tabbed navigation and so on. When you do decide to make links blue, make sure no other text (including headings) is blue, because users will expect those texts to be links as well. So in addition to making your links blue, here are some other tips for getting more clicks on your links.

  1. Make sure your links are obvious and indicate clearly where they will take the user. Use meaningful text instead of renditions of “Click here.” The problem with the latter is that it forces the user to read around the link to understand why they should “Click here.” Anchor text such as “Learn how to Garden” speaks for itself. It’s also more SEO-friendly. You can also do this with thumbnail images if your linking to documents or images and sometimes you can do this with a hover-over-the-link thumbnail.
  2. Still Another is “don’t underline text that isn’t linked” because users expect underlined text to be a link. And keep in mind, for users with poor sight. Red won’t stand out to someone who is color blind, so consider underlining or bolding links, in addition to changing the color.
  3. Visited links is another area that is often overlooked, but they are very helpful, especially on larger websites. Give visited links a darker shade of color, so that they stand out but aren’t as obvious as unvisited links. For users, Knowing where they’ve been before is very helpful, whether they want to avoid pages they’ve visited or to simply remember and make a point of visiting them again.
  4. The title attribute is also usually overlooked. Using the title attribute is a convenient way to add hover-descriptions to your links and can be especially useful for those who rely on screen readers.
  5. Letting the customer know when they’re hovering over a link is another one. The best way to do this is to change the background color, change the text color or remove or add the underline to a link. The mouse pointer usually turns from an arrow into a hand when the user hovers over a link. But this functionality is sometimes lost in certain browsers, especially IE. So ensuring that functionality exists in all browsers is also a good practice. Providing visual feedback to the user to indicate that they have clicked on a link, so that they know to wait, is another good practice. One nice effect is to move the link down one or two pixels, giving the link the appearance of being pressed.
  6. And one more is Add padding to your links. By doing this, the user doesn’t have to hover over the exact point of the text. Instead, they can hover in proximity and still be able to click. This works well for navigational links.

So to recap:

  1. Make sure all of your links are blue because it’s the most familiar link color
  2. Keep your links obvious by using meaningful text instead of renditions of “Click here.”
  3. Don’t underline text that isn’t a link to avoid confusion.
  4. Make sure your “Visited Links” are a darker shade of color, to reduce confusion between what has and what hasn’t been clicked on.
  5. Use the title attribute to give your users that extra hover description.
  6. Let your visitors know when they’re hovering over a link by changing the background-color, font-color, font-style, or cursor type.
  7. And Add padding to your links to increase the link’s clickable area.

Of course, there is only one way to be certain that your choice is the right one for improving conversion rates, and that is through testing.

Testing a couple variations of differing hover techniques or title descriptions for your links in an AB or Multivariate test is the only sure-fire way of finding the most optimized change for your site. That’s where we can help.

Exclusive Concepts offers a full service testing option for our clients called Conversion Booster. Through the program, we will do the work for you in analyzing your site’s data, coming up with solutions that reflect that data, and testing those solutions with AB and/or multivariate tests to maximize your increase in conversion rates. One or several of which could be by simply changing the color and presentation of your links to get more clicks. Every idea will be conceived by thorough analysis and every hypothesis will be tested to statistical significance. Give us a call at 1-800-504-4324 if you’re interested in learning more.

We would be honored to perform a free conversion audit on your qualified website today.