May 20, 2023
A hyperlink, commonly known as a link, is a reference or connection to another web page, document or resource. It is a fundamental element of the World Wide Web, allowing users to navigate the vast network of information available on the internet. Hyperlinks can be found on websites, in emails, and in other digital documents. They are usually displayed as underlined or colored text, but can also appear as images or other media.
Purpose and Usage
The main purpose of hyperlinks is to allow users to quickly and easily navigate to other web pages or resources that are related to the content they are currently viewing. When a user clicks on a hyperlink, their web browser retrieves the linked resource and displays it in a new tab or window, allowing the user to continue browsing without losing their place. This makes it possible to explore the internet and discover new information with just a few clicks.
Hyperlinks are also used extensively for search engine optimization (SEO), as they provide a way for search engines to discover and index new pages on the web. When a search engine encounters a hyperlink, it follows the link and indexes the linked page, allowing it to be displayed in search results when relevant search queries are entered.
Hyperlinks are created using HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), the standard markup language used to create web pages. In HTML, hyperlinks are defined using the
<a> element, which stands for “anchor”. The
<a> element requires two attributes:
href, which specifies the URL of the linked resource, and
text, which specifies the text or content that should be displayed for the link. Here is an example of a basic hyperlink in HTML:
<a href="https://www.example.com">Click here to visit Example.com</a>
In this example, the text “Click here to visit Example.com” would be displayed as a hyperlink, and clicking on it would take the user to the URL specified in the
Hyperlinks can also be used to link to specific sections of a web page, using anchor tags. Anchor tags are defined using the
<a> element, but instead of specifying a URL in the
href attribute, they specify the ID of the section they are linking to using the
id attribute. Here is an example:
<a href="#section2">Go to Section 2</a> ... <h2 id="section2">Section 2</h2> <p>This is the content of Section 2.</p>
In this example, clicking on the hyperlink would take the user to the section of the page with the ID “section2”.
Types of Hyperlinks
There are several different types of hyperlinks that can be used on the web, each with its own specific purpose and usage.
Absolute hyperlinks are the most common type of hyperlink, and they are used to link to resources on other websites or on the same website using a full URL. Absolute hyperlinks include the protocol (such as http or https), the domain name, and the specific path to the resource being linked to. Here is an example of an absolute hyperlink:
<a href="https://www.example.com/about">About Us</a>
In this example, the hyperlink points to the “about” page on the Example.com website.
Relative hyperlinks are used to link to resources on the same website using a URL that is relative to the current page. Relative hyperlinks do not include the protocol or domain name, and instead use a path that is relative to the current page. Here is an example of a relative hyperlink:
In this example, the hyperlink points to the “products” page on the same website.
Email hyperlinks are used to create links that open a user’s default email program with a pre-populated email address. Email hyperlinks are defined using the
<a> element, with the
href attribute set to “mailto:” followed by the email address. Here is an example of an email hyperlink:
<a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">Contact Us</a>
In this example, clicking on the hyperlink would open the user’s default email program with the email address “email@example.com” pre-populated in the “To” field.
Image hyperlinks are used to create hyperlinks that are displayed as images instead of text. Image hyperlinks are defined using the
<a> element, with an
<img> element nested inside it. The
<img> element is used to define the image that should be displayed for the hyperlink. Here is an example of an image hyperlink:
<a href="https://www.example.com"><img src="image.png" alt="Example Website"></a>
In this example, clicking on the image would take the user to the URL specified in the
When creating hyperlinks, there are several best practices that should be followed to ensure that they are effective and accessible:
- Use descriptive text for hyperlink anchor text. This helps users understand where the hyperlink will take them.
- Use absolute hyperlinks for external resources, and relative hyperlinks for internal resources. This makes it easier to move or transfer content between different websites or servers.
- Use link titles when appropriate to provide additional context about the hyperlink.
- Test all hyperlinks to ensure that they are working correctly and point to the intended resource.
- Ensure that hyperlinks are accessible to users with disabilities by using descriptive anchor text and providing additional context when necessary.