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Getting links to look pretty

BY: Samuel Fianko
A  link to a website
A link to a website

Since many are getting entangled in a web of love this season, we might as well have conversations around having some decorum when it comes to links in posts.

Have you ever gone through an email to probably register for an event or to fill out a form, only to see this bizarrely long link with an incongruent string of letters and numbers?

You may be thinking, “Can’t it be a short link that doesn’t turn you off from even clicking in the first place?” Truth is, it can be!

If you ever put together a document, message or even web post containing links, there is a way to make it look neat without the need for extraneous letters or numbers.

Of course, for clarity’s sake, let us try to understand what a link actually is, its origins and the need for it at all.

Links

Let us consider the Internet as a giant web of interconnected computers across the globe — that’s why it is called the Web, you know!

These interconnected computers beam their information on websites with which we interact when we visit them.

Now, just like having families in the real world, it is vital for websites to link to others in some way.

This allows for higher ranking in searches. Simply put, links redirect you to other credible sources in order to retrieve other related information.

It’s almost like the way you do citations when putting together an academic essay. It’s also very typical in Wikipedia articles to see lots of links redirecting you to other relevant information.

My objective now is to get you to insert links into your communications without losing your audience because of an incoherent string of jumbled letters and numbers.

So, when do you require links in a document?

Let’s say you’re sharing a presentation and there is the need for you to show a video on YouTube. In other words, you do not have the video file.

Chances are that the link to the video will look something like this: https://youtube.com/xyz123.

At least, this is not that long or boring. But could we make it look more presentable? Yes, we can! How do we do that?

Ways

There are a variety of ways to make your link look presentable. The easiest way is to go “Insert” and select “link”.

You can then paste the link and decide on which text to display for the link. Thus, the text you display will not be the link but rather whatever you typed.

So, let us assume that the link you put in there was the previous example we saw, and your sentence reads “You can learn more here.”

The word ‘here’ can be the text you decide to display. As such, anyone who clicks on the word ‘here’ will be redirected to the destination site of the link.

The other alternative is to use a URL shortener. Bitly is the commonest URL shortener.

If you have ever shared a Google Doc or Form, you will notice that the links are quite lengthy.

You can easily shorten the Google Form URL after creating it but for a Google Doc., you may need help with a URL shortener such as Bitly.

What do I even mean by URL shortener? URL means Uniform Resource Locator and it is just another name for a link.

So, if you want to shorten your link, just copy the link, and visit bitly.com. Then you can paste the link and create the shorter URL.

Creating an account on the site will help you to customise your link at the back-half. In other words, if the destination of the link is on the subject of love, it may look like ‘bit.ly/love’.

Another perk of using Bitly is that you get to track the number of clicks on your link at different points in time.

In essence, to make your document or post look neat, use the ‘insert link’ method or try out a URL shortener.

The writer is Community Manager, Interactive Digital. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.