Marketing Tip #6: Should your links open in the same window or a new tab?

By Hannah Moss

Should your links open in the same window or a new tab?

When should the links on your website open in a new tab rather than the same window, and how do you control that? Watch our video to find out!

Our Marketing Tips category features a series of videos from Wildheart’s Content Queen, Hannah. We’ll be sharing hot marketing tips via screencast videos, so you can see exactly how to do it yourself – making your life just that little bit easier!

Opening links in the same window vs a new tab

In this month’s video Hannah gives a general guide for when your website links should open in a new tab and when they should open in the same window. She gives some examples and shows where you can set this in WordPress.

Watch our 5-minute video, or read the transcript below, to find out more.

Video transcript

[00:00] Hi, it’s Hannah from Wildheart Media here. In today’s Marketing Tips video I’m going to be looking at whether links in your website copy should open in the same window or a new tab. Now, it’s really good to include lots of links throughout your website, either to other pages on your website or to external relevant websites, because Google likes to see you linking to other relevant content and it will actually help your search rankings over time.

[00:30] Now, there are lots of different trends and preferences that come and go when it comes to opening links in a new tab or the same window, but what we always suggest at Wildheart is – as a general rule – any internal links that are linking to other content on your own website should open in the same window. And any external links that are linking to other people’s websites should open in a new tab.

[01:00] But there are a few exceptions to this, so let me show you some examples. So, this is one of our blog posts that we wrote about GDPR and email marketing and if I scroll down, you’ll see there’s a link here where we talk about an article from MailChimp. Now, because this is linking to an external website, if I click on it you’ll see that it’s opened in a new tab. And this is because we don’t want to lose people off our site, so once they’ve come over here and read the information they need, they can click back into this tab that’s still open and they can carry on reading the blog post. If we opened this in the same window we would have actually lost them off the website. The only way they can get back is to use the back button in their browser, but they might forget to do this, they might get a bit lost in what they’re doing, they might start reading other information on the MailChimp website, and we’ve basically lost them. So, that’s an external link so we open it in a new tab, so that our existing website is still open in the original tab.

[02:06] So, if I scroll down to the bottom of this blog post, you can see that our call-to-action (the button that we have at the bottom of this post) is to contact us – that’s what we want them to do next. And because that’s an internal link, we open it in the same window, because they’ve already finished reading the post and what we want them to do next on our site is come to this page, Contact Us. So we open that in the same window.

[02:35] So, one exception to this rule is, say you have a form like this one on our contact page, and you want to give them a link to the privacy policy, because you want them to agree to it. If I start typing an email address, you’ll see this checkbox appears down here saying, “I have read and agree to the privacy policy.” Now, although that’s an internal link, if we open it in the same window, again we’ve kind of lost them. They might have forgotten what they were doing, they might not remember to click back to finish sending this form. So, although that’s an internal link, we open it in a new tab so that they can come in here, read the privacy policy and just flip back to the original tab and carry on submitting this form. So that’s an example of an internal link that you’d actually want to open in a new tab.

[03:32] Another example where you would definitely want to open a link in a new tab is, for example, if you’re running a yoga business, or any other business where you have a booking system. Now, particularly for yoga and wellbeing businesses, that might be MindBodyOnline, or Tula, or a similar booking system. And, if you have a link that says “Book this class” or “Buy a class pass”, that link is going to take them into your booking system, which is essentially another website. So, again, you don’t want to lose them. You want to make sure that those links open in a new tab so that your website is still open in the original tab, so they can come back in, they can carry on reading, they can book other classes, and so on.

[04:21] So, I’m just going to quickly show you how to make sure your links open in a new tab or the same window. Now, the same principle applies whether you’re using the normal WordPress editor or whichever theme or editor you’re using. In our case we use the Tatsu page builder on our own website. So, I’ve just come in here to that same place on the GDPR blog post. Here is the link in the post and here it is in the actual editor. And if I just click on that link, you can see these options come up. This is your edit button. If you click on that you then get this cog symbol with your link options, and here is the checkbox that says whether you should open it in a new tab or not. And we do want this one to open in a new tab.

[05:04] So that’s basically all you do. This editing system is pretty much the same in most WordPress editors. There should always be an option to tick the box to say open it in a new tab, so that’s where you can decide whether to or not. Sometimes, you might actually need to enter the html itself, which is called a “target blank” and I will include the code for that in the transcript for this video: <a href=“” target=“_blank”></a>

[05:33] But otherwise, that’s basically our general guide on whether your links should open in a new tab or the same window. OK, I hope that’s helpful and if you need any help with your marketing, do fill out the form below this video, and we’ll include it in our next Marketing Tips video. Thanks and see you next time. Bye!

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