How to open a link in a new Window – and why you should #Blogging

We all want people to read our posts, don’t we? Why else would we devote so much time to blogging?

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So in amongst your material, you include helpful links to other articles.

What you may not realise is that more often than not, once a reader clicks away from your page, they don’t come back.

Particularly if you’ve put a link fairly early on in your post, you may have inadvertently lost that reader to someone else’s blog.

Don’t get me wrong, sharing readers is great and part of the fabulous ethos of the community of bloggers and writers, but what if there was a way to keep your reader on your blog at the same time as sharing someone else’s post?

Well, strangely enough, there is!

I learned this way back when I first started my extensive research before ever dipping my toe into the deep water of indie publishing and blogging, and I’m astounded to see how many people don’t know to use this simple step to keep their readers.

Okay, practicalities.

(I can only tell you how to do this on a WordPress blog, I’m afraid, but I’m sure other platforms support the same thing somewhere in the depths of their coding.)

  1. I want to add a link to another post. For example, I’ll share a link to one of my books on Amazon.
  2. Write the words you want your reader to click: THE PRINCE’S MAN and highlight themwindow-1
  3. Now click on the little paperclip window-1a
  4. And this is what you will see window-2
  5. Next, click on the cogwheel image in that box that has appeared beneath the highlighted text, and this box will appear window-3
  6. Insert the link into the URL box, AND CLICK IN THE BOX THAT SAYS ‘Open link in a new tab’ window-4
  7. Finally, click on the ADD LINK box at the bottom, and you will see thiswindow-5
  8. Continue writing your post, and when your reader clicks on the link in your published post, this is what will happen window-6
  9. Et voila! The link opens in a new Window, but your original post is still there on their screen!

By doing this, readers don’t lose the original Window, so can go straight back to reading your post as soon as they are ready – they don’t have to click backward to return to it or, more likely, read the new page and then move on to something else.

Bloggers, keep your reader – simples!

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25 comments

  1. That is a very important thing! I try to remember to make all my links open in a new window. So far, I haven’t found a way to make the items in the sidebar open in a new window though. Good post!

    1. I find it startling how many people don’t know this, hence my post.
      And yes, those sidebar links are annoying, aren’t they?

  2. This is one of the few things I always do! I decided long ago, on a much earlier blog that I didn’t want readers to lose the page they started on, namely mine. Great idea to share this with those who’ve never done it. I’ll bet you opened a few eyes, Debby! 🙂

    1. I do hope so!
      Think I will reblog this onto The Write Stuff later this week too if that’s okay?

  3. Be my guest, Debby. I was thinking of reblogging, but got called away before I could, and it’s even nicer to have YOU blog it. Reminds folks they’re allowed to do that kind of thing. 😀

  4. Reblogged this on The Write Stuff and commented:

    Hi folks – I see too many bloggers who risk losing their audience by NOT using this one simple step on their WordPress blog – don’t be one of them!
    If you AREN’T already using this simple tool, skip over to the full post for easy to follow steps to keep your readers on YOUR blog.

  5. Brilliant! Will try this.

    1. Excellent! Well worth the extra couple of clicks needed.

  6. That is sooo important! Nice post and reminder. I set all of my links to open that way, but it doesn’t seem to work with widgets.
    I so wish WP would add that option for them too!

    1. Isn’t it just? And yes, the widgets are really annoying. WP has some strange quirks 😦

  7. I had no idea. I better get on this. Thank YOU!

    1. My pleasure 😀

  8. I knew that! He he – I’m very pleased with myself😋 Excellent advice, though…

    1. Ha ha, pleased to hear from so many who do know, yet there are so many who don’t!

    1. Thanks Kate 😀

    1. Thanks for the reblog 😀

  9. Completely agree. I see this often. So often I’ve written a post about it, too. But you have awesome visuals! 😉 It’s important (and easy to do).

    1. I’ve always found this sort of visual post so helpful myself I thought I’d return the favour. Takes a little time, but ends up so clear its worth it.

  10. Going against the general opinion here, it seems, but I really don’t like sites that do this. As a reader, if I want to keep one page open while I check out another, I’ll right-click and open it in a new tab or window myself. As a writer I trust that people will come back to my work even if I don’t leave it lurking underneath whatever they decided to click on. Having a new window forced on me might only be a minor annoyance, but it’s one I’ll bear in mind when deciding whether or not I want to follow a blog long-term.

    That said, I also think there are good reasons to use this function (particularly if you expect your reader to use the linked page and your own simultaneously, or if they’re likely to lose progress of some kind by navigating directly to another), and this is a very clear tutorial. Annotated screenshots are always a great addition to this sort of thing and yours are nicely worked in.

    1. How interesting, you are the first person I’ve come across with this opinion, thanks for sharing. Just goes to show how different we all are!
      Personally, I find once I’ve clicked away that I will rarely go back to the original post unless there’s something I really really want to read.

      1. I find exactly the same thing, which is partly why I resent pages that try to keep themselves available after I’ve moved on. It’s particularly troublesome if that page was only ever going to be a stepping stone for something else, which is probably one of the main reasons I’d hit a link before reading the whole thing anyway.

        For example, I might search for “How to do X.” The first result I try tells me that in order to do X I have to do Y, and provides a link to instructions for Y. Those instructions for Y refer to Z but don’t explain it, so I Google “Z” and find your blog post, “Top Ten Tutorials for X, Y and Z.” It’s a great resource and I really wish I’d found it sooner. Your introduction to Z is concise and informative but the linked tutorial opens in a new tab, which makes it awkward to navigate back through the other tutorials I’ve already found and have stored in my history. At this point I could copy and paste the URL from the new tab into the existing one (probably after hitting back a couple of times so I don’t have to skip through your post and the Google results between the Y and Z tutorials), but instead I hit back to check those results again, and hey! The Z tutorial you linked to is in there anyway, so I go ahead and click on it. Using those three tutorials, I eventually manage to do whatever it was I was trying to and never see your post again.

        It’s possible (more or less certain, really) that I’d never have gone back and read the entire post even if that link had opened in the same tab/window but – crucially – I probably would have ended up glancing at it a few times while flipping between the tutorials for X, Y and Z using the handy forwards and back buttons. I might even have ended up bookmarking it for next time once I was done.

        This is a fairly specific example – and it’s possible that on the whole opening links in new tabs/windows might tend to gain you readers – but it’s one occasion where I personally might end up avoiding such a site without even really trying to. I mean, the thinking wouldn’t be “This design choice is mildly annoying so I’ll try somewhere else.” It would be “I wanted this information to be readily available in the same tab: what’s the easiest way of getting it there?” In most cases, the easiest way of doing that will also involve an opportunity to sidestep the page that provided the link in the first place.

      2. Yes, that’s a pretty specific example. I usually go to a page because I want to read what’s there, then get distracted by clicking through to links they’ve provided and often end up not going back to the article I wanted to read in the first place, because I can’t face clicking back half a dozen times since I followed from link to link to link.

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