Linkification

~ 31 July 2008 ~

This is something that’s been on my mind for some time now, probably a few years:

How do we select the particular words that are linked within a sentence or paragraph, and does it matter for the user?

Here’s an example:

John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ is on sale at iTunes for just $7.99.

How would you choose to link that up, and why? Is one more “effective” than the other, however you define that?

A) John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ is on sale at iTunes for just $7.99.

B) John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ is on sale at iTunes for just $7.99.

C) John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ is on sale at iTunes for just $7.99.

D) John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ is on sale at iTunes for just $7.99.

E) John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ is on sale at iTunes for just $7.99.

F) John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ is on sale at iTunes for just $7.99.

G) John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ is on sale at iTunes for just $7.99.

Cast your vote (or suggest an alternative) with a supporting argument.

 

283  Comments

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1   Chris ~ 31 July 2008

My vote is for D. The text “on sale at iTunes” not only describes where your being directed but it also alludes to what to look for when you get there (a reduced price).


2   Josh Hughes ~ 31 July 2008

If I had to choose, I’d go with A. If you look at *just* the link, I feel it gives you the most information about what it links to.

However, my inclination would probably be to just link the whole sentence. Why skimp? ;)


3   Jason Beaird ~ 31 July 2008

I would vote B based on personal preference alone. I don’t like really long links and the album title seems like the most specific and appropriate chunk of text to link.


4   Keith ~ 31 July 2008

Don’t think there is a right answer here, but my feeling is B is the best choice. That’s what I’d do…


5   Soroush ~ 31 July 2008

I prefer option B).

In my opinion, it is linking (‘pointing’) to the correct webpage (‘object’): the song, as the sentence is ultimately about the availability of that song.

If the artist was linked, I would assume that either there is information on him, or it links to his discography.

Linking to the words ‘sale’ or ‘$7.99’ puts the emphasis on the price, but I find that less important in this sentence!

So that’s how I see it. :)


6   Trevor Davis ~ 31 July 2008

Hmm, I think I would combine D and F.

John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ is on sale at iTunes for just $7.99.

Since the link is going to the iTunes store, I think that it is important to link the information about it being sold on iTunes. Then, I think since we are saying it is on sale, it gives better context to include the sale price in the link.

With that, I think I could probably make the case for A as well. I also think I could make the case for making the entire sentence a link.


7   Matt Jacobs ~ 31 July 2008

None of the above. I’d link the entire sentence. I’m not just talking about A Love Supreme or something being on sale for $7.99. I’m talking about A Love Supreme being on sale for $7.99.

If I had said, “There’s a bunch of great stuff on sale for $8, but you should check out John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’”, then I would just link to “John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’”.


8   Paul Mayne ~ 31 July 2008

I’ve struggled with this issue before, but in the past I’ve just done what feels right, not necessarily by any standard.

In this case, G feels right to me. Since you are promoting the sale of an item, linking the price seems most logical.


9   Jon Waring ~ 31 July 2008

‘B’ Just feels right.


10   Jake ~ 31 July 2008

I have to go with A, because it is the most descriptive.


11   Chad ~ 31 July 2008

I vote D. Its short, but not too short and is descriptive of what the link is pointing to; namely, a sale at iTunes. In addition by the time you get to the link, the item on sale at iTunes has been described.


12   Bill I ~ 31 July 2008

Of the choices listed above, I cast my vote for A. It states very clearly what you’re linking to, which is the album. The fact that it’s on sale might be the reason you’re linking to it, but it doesn’t really describe where the link will take you.

However, I think a better link would have been “John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ is on sale at iTunes” since it clearly states what you’re linking to and that you’ll end up in iTunes after clicking.


On a somewhat related note, “A Love Supreme” is also available via the AmazonMP3 store for the same price, and it’s 256kbps and DRM-free…


13   Yannic ~ 31 July 2008

I’m with Trevor


14   Matt ~ 31 July 2008

I totally think D. Like Chris said, the link lets you know where you’re going (especially if you’re gonna tinyurl the link, like you did).

My qualm with A and B is that the link text gives no context for where you’re going. Is it going to send me to a Wikipedia page about this historic album?

Choice E is better except that it doesn’t give you enough information about the link. Are you just sending me to the iTunes homepage?

For clarity of telling users where they’re going and what to expect when they get there, D is clearly right. “On sale at iTunes” tells you where you’re going (to a sale page at the iTunes website). The rest of the sentence gives the context of the link (that it’s a Coltrane album we’re talking about and how much it costs).


15   Kenzie Campbell ~ 31 July 2008

I think the link should reflect the target, so it depends on what you’re linking to. If this link takes you directly to the album page then I’d choose A.


16   Tim ~ 31 July 2008

I’m going to vote for D for the link to the sales site, reserving A for the instance of linking to information about the song itself, like a wikipedia page for the song.


17   Tony ~ 31 July 2008

I would vote for A. It is the most descriptive and for seo, it provides the most bang for the buck.


18   César ~ 31 July 2008

None of the above. I’d link “‘A Love Supreme’ is on sale at iTunes”. I want to know what and where


19   Steven ~ 31 July 2008

I think ‘E’ makes the most sense.


20   Adam ~ 31 July 2008

I gotta go with B. If you were linking to different stores then perhaps placing the link on the store is better. Everything that concentrates on the price seems too much like an ad.


21   DamianKD ~ 31 July 2008

My vote is for D, for the same reasons listed above.


22   Dave ~ 31 July 2008

I would say “John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ is on sale at iTunes for just $7.99. Check it out” ; )

Kidding aside, my first instinct was to go with B, but when I thought about it, I think D is more descriptive of where the link actually takes you.


23   marcus ~ 31 July 2008

With no further information, I’d have to go with the folks that say, link the whole sentence. Out of context, it’s hard to know what the relevant linkable text is. If this is in a paragraph talking about recent album purchases, then I would say A. If you’re talking about where to get different Coltrane albums, then B, etc.


24   Clayton Ferris ~ 31 July 2008

I’m with the B crowd. Adam makes a good point about when B might not be the best choice though.


25   Giovanni ~ 31 July 2008

John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ is on sale at iTunes for just $7.99.


26   Neil Bradley ~ 31 July 2008

My preference would be D as the text describes where the link is going to and the action that you may do once you get there.


27   Nate Klaiber ~ 31 July 2008

I would say D. It is descriptive of what you are advertising. You could then use the link title to be more descriptive of the link if you so deemed necessary.


28   treycranson ~ 31 July 2008

I say E, because the link is taking me someplace. That place is iTunes. I agree with Dave’s suggestion. A “Check it out” or “Buy It” message seems to make sense.


29   Mike ~ 31 July 2008

I would go with either A or D; D being the preference as it links directly to the item in addition to drawing attention to the sale of the item and where you’ll find it.


30   Chris Hunt ~ 31 July 2008

I’d vote D, for the reasons eloquently imparted by Chris and Matt above, and because it “feels right” to me.

I like César’s suggestion too.


31   Dan Donald ~ 31 July 2008

I’d vouch for D because that sounds more like a call to action, whereas A gives the impression of being a link to information about the album.

There’s the potential to even expand D to the end, encompassing the price, which promotes the face this is a sale.


32   Diana ~ 31 July 2008

I would be inclined to go with D, although it would depend upon the context of the surrounding text. Are there other albums for sale at iTunes being referenced? In that case, I’d go with A. Other Coltrane albums for sale online? I might go with B, then.

It might sound like a wishy-washy answer, but context really does help me determine what text to link. Overall, though, I’m leaning toward D.


33   Neil ~ 31 July 2008

I’m with Trevor’s suggestion as well.


34   Dan Donald ~ 31 July 2008

I’d vouch for D because that sounds more like a call to action, whereas A gives the impression of being a link to information about the album.

There’s the potential to even expand D to the end, encompassing the price, which promotes the fact this is a sale.


35   Imelda ~ 31 July 2008

I vote for A.


36   Thomas ~ 31 July 2008

I’d use B as this is the important subject in the whole sentence, but like Dave I’m tempted to link “click here” ;-)


37   Dan Donald ~ 31 July 2008

It is an amazing album too - good choice Cameron!


38   Jonathan Snook ~ 31 July 2008

Kenzie makes the best point and I’d like to reiterate: it depends what you’re linking to. If you’re linking to the album (and the link will be the same beyond just this sale) then use A. If it’s a link to a special sale page, then link that part up. I’d also think about restructuring the sentence such that the link makes sense and is more standalone. For example, if you’re linking to the album on iTunes (which just happens to be on sale), then something like “Get John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ at iTunes, on sale for $7.99.”


39   courtenay ~ 31 July 2008

Link up John Coltrane to his wikipedia page, link up the album name to an article you wrote about the album previously, or to a nice story about it, then finally link “on sale at iTunes” to the sale page. :)


40   Dan Donald ~ 31 July 2008

@Thomas
I’m of the opinion that having ‘click here’ is bad for usability and SEO, so I’d always try and use text describing the destination wherever possible, but it is tempting…
;P


41   Zachary Spencer ~ 31 July 2008

H) John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ is on sale at iTunes for just $7.99.

I think this format really encapsulates the information being conveyed. Noun-Verb-Location.

I know what I am looking at, I know where it is, and I know what I am expected to do with it when I click the link. This empowers the reader without requiring him to read all the text.

I dislike using “Get it” because when transferring your copy to print the location is completely lost. “Uhh, I don’t get it” becomes the readers dialogue when the link is not there.

Alternatively, I would link the whole sentence.


42   Chris ~ 31 July 2008

Link the whole text IMO.

Otherwise A. The name of the item is where the link should be, the price is descriptive. I think this confusion may come from style. A marketer would say highlight the good price with a hyperlink.


43   Rian ~ 31 July 2008

The implied goal of the sentence is to promote the sale (action) of the song (object). This requires links to two resources.

In the case of iTunes, the link-able resources are one and the same. In which case linking the track name is the most specific anchor for the reader.

I would recommend Option B plus the hAudio microformat.

The hAudio schema includes formatting the link to a sample of the track, an enclosure link of the full track and a link to a point of purchase.


44   Justin ~ 31 July 2008

John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ is on sale at iTunes for just $7.99. CLICK HERE NOW

With CLICK HERE NOW href’d and in a blink tag.


45   J.D. Myers ~ 31 July 2008

B … because that is the item of interest. “A” would work as well, but I feel it makes for too long of a link.


46   cruster ~ 31 July 2008

I’d go with A combined with D.

Roger Johansson has some good points on this topic in Click here and other meaningless link phrases.


47   Dan ~ 31 July 2008

I don’t really like any of those, I’d probably put a little button at the end of the sentence and use the little arrow-in-a-circle icon from iTunes.


48   Martijn ~ 31 July 2008

I would go for the link mentioned by Giovanni in comment 25, as it tells you where you’re going and what you’re going to find there (iTunes and song.)


49   Jeena Paradies ~ 31 July 2008

I would say:

John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ is on sale at iTunes for just $7.99.

It emphases the information which ist most relevant for the reader.


50   Will Kelly ~ 31 July 2008

I’d just link the whole thing. Just to pre-empt the client demanding that anyway. ;)


51   Erin ~ 31 July 2008

I vote for D - but I had to check where you were linking to first… if you were linking to the artist’s website, I would have chosen A - or if you were linking directly to that album on the artist’s web site, I would have chosen B. [Much like what other people have said.]


52   Keanen ~ 31 July 2008

I would pick D for the reasons mentioned above.


53   Stewart Curry ~ 31 July 2008

I would also agree with Giovanni (comment 25) as it connects what is on sale (the album, not the artist) with where it is on sale (itunes) and implies your destination - that album, on itunes.


54   Gareth ~ 31 July 2008

Who is this Trevor?

I’d go with A to be honest. For the above reasons already metioned by others.

Ta.


55   Phill Price ~ 31 July 2008

D, as the call to action is to go to iTunes and see it at $7.99, although I’d prefer it if the whole item was a link to be honest, better for ScreenReaders


56   Gareth ~ 31 July 2008

I just found Trevor. He has a good point. Im sticking with my orignal A though!


57   Steve ~ 31 July 2008

A.

Look at the keywords - all the words in the link are keywords that real people will use in searching. That’s what counts.


58   Erik ~ 31 July 2008

Combine D & F as someone mentioned above. The combination describes where that link is going and what you should expect upon arriving (ie: if it’s NOT what you expect when you visit that link then something is suspect).


59   clayton ~ 31 July 2008

The obvious answer is… there is no “best” way until you start testing all of the variations and see which anchor text is most effective for your particular visitors.

Anything else is just a guess or assumption.


60   John MacAdam ~ 31 July 2008

Always go with the first reaction, and mine is B


61   kean ~ 31 July 2008

It has to be A or D. A states the content of the destination while D states the destination website. These would have to be the most effective for visitors


62   Jon White ~ 31 July 2008

I’m all for “G,” as it’s the most explicitly tied to what makes up its unique destination (much like the linked date/time to indicate a comment’s permalink on certain blogs, which I like). “A”/”B” give me the impression that they’d link to the album’s AMG or Wiki article, while “C”/”D”/”E” seem too general to iTunes (or sales at iTunes).


63   Jason Armstrong ~ 31 July 2008

A or B as they are the subjects of the sentence. The rest of the sentence is incidental. Break the sentence into pieces (the links themselves) separate from the rest an see what makes the most sense by itself.


64   brad ~ 31 July 2008

I’m going with B, however I might consider removing the quotes from the link.

It’s more important to link text that describes what is on the other end than where you are going.

C-G don’t work because they impede the ability of a user to quickly scan the page for a link. A user sees “on sale” linked but now has to figure out what is on sale.


65   Scott McMillin ~ 31 July 2008

I’d have to go with A or B, but I think a lot of it depends on context. The problem I see with C through G is that they fail in the context of a list. The link in A or B is not only providing a cue for something actionable, it’s also providing emphasis for what is may be the more important piece of information. If it’s a list of 10 items that are all “on sale at iTunes” then the repitition of that link is not as useful in my opinion and would probably call for a header that says “on sale at itunes.”

If the list is all John Coltrane albums then B would be the best and the header might be “John Coltrane albums on sale at iTunes” and the link in the list could be ‘A Love Supreme’ for $7.99.

Ok, I just re-read Cameron’s original post and it says “within a sentence or paragraph.” Once again without quite knowing the context I’d probably have to say either link the whole thing or do D + F and add emphasis on the album title.


66   Steve Cochrane ~ 31 July 2008

D, or a combination of D and F.

It’s already been mentioned, but I’ll second that when the link is just for a specific subject like “John Coltrane” it implies to me that it would point to information about him, such as a Wikipedia page (same goes for “A Love Supreme” and “iTunes”). To me it seems like the reason that it’s being linked to here is because it’s on sale, so that’s what the link should correspond to.


67   Joshua Brewer ~ 31 July 2008

Gonna have to say at first glance my vote is “B”. However, I think that I might be inclined to go with “D” as it quickly reflects the fact that the link is going to open iTunes and pull up “A Love Supreme” which is on sale and I will only be charged $7.99.

I would also agree with Scott (comment #65) that adding empasis on the album title would be a very good idea.


68   Joe Rapoza ~ 31 July 2008

Option B is the best because that’s the main subject of the sentence.



69   Eddie Gonzalez ~ 31 July 2008

I immediately went to B. The song is the focus, not the artist, iTunes, or the price. The song is what’s being sold, so highlight the song.


70   Eddie Gonzalez ~ 31 July 2008

Oops. I meant album, not song.


71   Jared Christensen ~ 31 July 2008

Oh, great point for discussion! I would pick either A or B, as they link the actual item that will be browsed to on click.


72   Cameron Moll ~ 31 July 2008

Wow, didn’t expect this many comments this quickly. Some notable ones below.

Trevor Davis:

Hmm, I think I would combine D and F.
John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ is on sale at iTunes for just $7.99.
Since the link is going to the iTunes store, I think that it is important to link the information about it being sold on iTunes. Then, I think since we are saying it is on sale, it gives better context to include the sale price in the link.

Matt (#14):

My qualm with A and B is that the link text gives no context for where you’re going. Is it going to send me to a Wikipedia page about this historic album?

Paul Mayne:

I’ve struggled with this issue before, but in the past I’ve just done what feels right, not necessarily by any standard.

marcus (#23)

With no further information, I’d have to go with the folks that say, link the whole sentence. Out of context, it’s hard to know what the relevant linkable text is. If this is in a paragraph talking about recent album purchases, then I would say A. If you’re talking about where to get different Coltrane albums, then B, etc.

Jonathan Snook:

Kenzie makes the best point and I’d like to reiterate: it depends what you’re linking to. If you’re linking to the album (and the link will be the same beyond just this sale) then use A. If it’s a link to a special sale page, then link that part up. I’d also think about restructuring the sentence such that the link makes sense and is more standalone. For example, if you’re linking to the album on iTunes (which just happens to be on sale), then something like “Get John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ at iTunes, on sale for $7.99.”

Rian:

The implied goal of the sentence is to promote the sale (action) of the song (object). This requires links to two resources.
In the case of iTunes, the link-able resources are one and the same. In which case linking the track name is the most specific anchor for the reader.
I would recommend Option B plus the hAudio microformat.
The hAudio schema includes formatting the link to a sample of the track, an enclosure link of the full track and a link to a point of purchase.

clayton:

The obvious answer is… there is no “best” way until you start testing all of the variations and see which anchor text is most effective for your particular visitors.
Anything else is just a guess or assumption.

brad (#64):

I’m going with B, however I might consider removing the quotes from the link.
It’s more important to link text that describes what is on the other end than where you are going.
C-G don’t work because they impede the ability of a user to quickly scan the page for a link. A user sees “on sale” linked but now has to figure out what is on sale.

73   Matt Dempsey ~ 31 July 2008

This is an interesting debate I’ve often wondered about too. I agree with Chris, the very first comment, though (D). If you’re trying to get the link clicked, I think ‘on sale’ makes me want to click more.

Cheers,
Matt


74   gist ~ 31 July 2008

I thought I’d choose a combo of D and F - but then I changed my mind and I’d do the entire sentence.


75   Aaron Barker ~ 31 July 2008

As others have stated, it depends on the purpose of the link. Some of the purposes I haven’t seen mentioned are accessibility and search engine optimization (SEO).

If a screen reader is hoping from link to link as users often do, hearing “$7.99” doesn’t help at all. I would think that A would be the best for them with B as a close second.

For SEO it depends on what you want to promote. Again anything relating to the sale isn’t very worth while, but the A and B text is good SEO fodder.

Other then those hopefully new takes on the topic, I’d personally go with B, with the caveats that others have mentioned such as #38 Mr Snook


76   Chris ~ 31 July 2008

Option D: both a call to action and context.


77   Darren Hoyt ~ 31 July 2008

I’d choose D.

“on sale at iTunes” describes a destination and the link implies it will take me there.

I also agree about combining D & F.


78   Sam Hardacre ~ 31 July 2008

I agree that there is no real wrong answer although my personal choice would be D. For some reason it seems to have the most relevance


79   Jill - GlossyVeneer ~ 31 July 2008

I don’t think I’d pick any of them. I’d prefer to see the link text be:
“John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ is on sale at iTunes for $7.99”

Screen readers give users the option to go back through and have just the links read to them. Linking the complete sentence would be the most descriptive in that context.


80   John ~ 31 July 2008

I’d definitely vote for “B.” (Second choice would be “A.”) The reason is that links should communicate and make sense standing by themselves.

If a reader scans the content looking for a link (typically stylized to stand out from the rest of the text), they should be able to find what they’re looking for instead of seeing something like “iTunes” or “$7.99” and having to search the rest of the sentence to figure out where the link will actually take them.


81   Colin Scroggins ~ 31 July 2008

I think that A or B are both acceptable.

To me the core principle regarding linking is that the link text should uniquely describe the content it connects. C-G could all be said of many other options in the course of an article on music, while only A&B are truly unique. If I were writing an article on songs titled, “A Love Supreme”, then I would probably go with A, otherwise B.

While context (I am being taken to iTunes vs. Wikipedia) is nice, it does not outweigh uniqueness in terms of usefulness to me as a reader and can be simply included in the text without being linked.


82   Matthew ~ 31 July 2008

B seems correct, as it is the “actual” item to be purchased.

Side Note: Tabbing from your comment box takes you to the top of the page, not the “preview” or “post” buttons.


83   Gerard ~ 31 July 2008

A’s best, as it is the most descriptive and keyword rich. B’s ok too, but including the artist’s name leaves fewer questions as to what’s on the other side of the link. Plus you know it won’t get indexed for something random like “‘Baby Love’ by the Supremes.”


84   Able Parris ~ 31 July 2008

My vote is with Tim(16). Give 2 links. One an informational page like Wikipedia, and the other to iTunes.

One thing that I have seen that I think is bad practice, and worth noting, is linking multiple words in a row to different websites where it looks like one link, but it makes it easy to miss any of the other links.


85   Paul D. Waite ~ 31 July 2008

A, because it’s the best description of the resource being linked to.

Although I also like the previously suggested ‘link the entire sentence’ option, as I’m sending you somewhere to buy it.


86   Anthony Ettinger ~ 31 July 2008

I vote “A” because it uses unique text as the anchor that best describes the content you’re linking too.


Re-using the same “onsale now” or “price” as the link isn’t taking advantage of the anchor text…much like “click here” syndrom.


87   Jan Oberst ~ 31 July 2008

F plus B, like a few others already noted. It’s the very strong “buy now” if I already know about this album. But also the “more information” link if I’m just curious what you’re selling. I wouldn’t klick the Dollar link if I’m just curious.


88   Alex Wishkoski ~ 31 July 2008

This is a tricky example, and many good replies have already been made. I would either link the entire sentence, or as @#25 Giovanni.

Links that I write commonly have two distinct purposes:

1) A call to action…click this and such will happen.

2) Background information. A link to a resource I feel is essential information in the context of the copy.

I consider link creation an essential part of good technical writing. There are rules and best practices, but in the end it comes down to authorial intent. The author should be able to steer the reader while his/her intentions are perfectly transparent.


89   Dave ~ 31 July 2008

First thought would be to go with D. But I suppose it depends on how you anticipate the user digesting your content as well as what you are linking to. If you have a long list of linked things, then A might be better because while skimming it most accurately describes the content.


90   Todd Zaki Warfel ~ 31 July 2008

Links should provide context and indicate the action. ‘On sale’ provides action, but no context the same way ‘Click here’ does (not).

Your best bet would be to provide the context of what it is (B) and the assumed action from customers will be that that link will take them to a screen that will have the details and a preview of the album — one of those actions on the resulting screen will be to purchase. in this case, the context is the album name and the action can be assumed.

On the contrary, ‘On sale’ provides the action, but no assumed context. Not to mention that it’s pretty useless for 508/accessibility.


91   Rymaï ~ 31 July 2008

I would choose D because you must read the beginning of the sentence (the subject : “John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’”), to understand what YOU can do with it!

So, “about this song, I can buy it on iTunes now (for a certain price… but you’ll see this price on iTunes)”.

I think so !

PS: About the search engines… let iTunes do this job! ;) (You know, if you want to buy a song on iTunes, let’s search on iTunes ^^)

It’s another story if the link redirect to Wikipedia, for example, it seems to me that in this case the link should be on “John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’”, because, le link redirect to a “definition” (an explanation is more correct maybe) of the subject.

All is about the context…


92   John ~ 31 July 2008

Option B. The subject of the sentence is the artist’s work, ‘A Supreme Love’ and not necessarily the artist himself.


93   John ~ 31 July 2008

I disagree with the idea that there should be two separate links that take you two separate places. The sentence assumes the user knows who the artist is (and it probably follows a bio of some type), which suggests that the sole purpose for the link is to get you to buy the album. Linking to something other than a point of purchase would guide the user in the wrong direction.

That said, it also depends who is providing the link. Obviously a record label would want you to go straight to the point of purchase. However, a popular music blogger may want you to see the Wikipedia page.

Either way, I think one link is sufficient. If you give your users too many options, how will they every know what you want them to do?


94   Sam Sherwood ~ 31 July 2008

A or B works, depending on what you’re referring to as the object. It’s important to use the object’s name as the link, since the page you are linking to describes said object.

So, A strikes the best balance between Semantics and Marketing, in the end. Everything else is pure marketing tagging — good in the short term, bad in the long term.


95   Tom D ~ 31 July 2008

I’d also vote D + F - link the action and provide the price for context


96   Doug ~ 31 July 2008

Vote for D, that way if you add Amazon, or any other service down the road you can also link to them.


97   Brant ~ 31 July 2008

None of the above choices. I would link the whole sentence. Then I get all of the information I want; what, where, and how much.


98   Doug ~ 31 July 2008

Vote for E, that way if you add Amazon, or any other service down the road you can also link to them. (sorry wrote the wrong letter, first one should be deleted)


99   julien ~ 31 July 2008

yep! D definitely.


100   Patrick Mullin ~ 31 July 2008

It’s great to see all the different answers here. It seems based on the above comments, there simply isn’t a right answer. So I say do what you want. To help alleviate any confusion, you can add a “Title” tag to the link saying “Click here to buy John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ on sale at iTunes for just $7.99”.


101   Alex Penny ~ 31 July 2008

G.

You read all of the information about it. Now you just want to buy it.


102   Rex ~ 31 July 2008

D

Linking “on sale at iTunes” conveys the most specific accurate information about where the link goes.

A or B could link to Wikipedia or an artist website;

C could work but is a little ambiguous

E could just link to apple.com/itunes or the Wikipedia entry on iTunes

F or G probably link to the same thing as D but each requires a little more cognitive effort to connect the pieces of the sentence together.


103   Steven Hoober ~ 31 July 2008

Context is king. B if it’s part of a general discussion of Coltrane, so using his name as a key is useless. A if the music and musician is important, and his name is not repeated in another link.

E and G would be most useful in, say, a long discussion of the specific item (a blog post partly or entirely about it) and you want to tie it into a sales item. E is likely, but I’d probably make it a call to action like [buy it now at iTunes] and let the title be in the sentence. D doesn’t do this as “on sale at” risks a B.S. factor (not dissimilar from banner blindness).

The price, G, is only worth linking if it’s /obviously/ an actual deal. So everyone reading it goes “really, that’s cheap.” Else, skip it or at least do not make it part of the link.


The really interesting part is trying to label items in a list, without making them un-scannable. Tricky, especially to come up with rules content folks can follow after you walk away. But doable.


104   Kevin ~ 31 July 2008

I vote for A.


105   Kevin Suttle ~ 31 July 2008

I have to agree with those who chose D. Only because it let’s the user know where they are going and what they are going there for,.


106   Alex Miller ~ 31 July 2008

I’d go with D here. Over the years I’ve become very sensitive to “link width” (the number of chars in a link). Really wide link width is almost never good - just looks crappy. Really short width is also never good because it’s easy to miss and/or hard to click.

In between is a range of reasonableness and I typically choose in that range, keeping in mind that bigger link widths confer attention. So, if I’m writing a post about a link or the point of a sentence is some link (like here), I will choose several words and make a big link. If it’s more of a footnote or informational linkage, I typically go for one word.


107   DJ Lemon ~ 31 July 2008

(A) Clicking on the name just makes sense. There’s no chance of confusing the user where they’re going.

Having things like itunes being linked might create the assumption that you’re going to itunes.com. Having the on sale linked might create the assumption that you’re going to the on sale page. it’s like having tags that will send you to a page with similar topics.


108   Lauren ~ 31 July 2008

I think it’s difficult to have a valid response to this question because there is no context. It makes a big difference to me if this link were appearing on a personal blog for fans of the artist or if it were appearing on a site like retailmenot.com which highlights sales or discounts on various products across the net. Both of those instances might prompt largely different responses to the question. However, I do feel compelled to say, anyone who’s first instinct would be to link the entire sentence should really consider re-evaluating their decision-making process.


109   craig z ~ 31 July 2008

I’d agree that it’s all about context. The user’s expectations could be structured in different ways depending on the surrounding text, the kind of content they’re looking at, even the type of site they’re on and its design.


110   Christopher Fahey ~ 31 July 2008

I’d say D - it’s the closest description to what you will see when you click.

But I would go with B if the link was either (a) to a site with lots of information about the song (which iTunes arguably is), or (b) my own web site was all about referring people to good music *to buy*.


111   Jared ~ 31 July 2008

I vote: B
Perhaps, though, in the mark up you could attach it as a label to A as a point of reference.


112   Richard Davies ~ 31 July 2008

I’m torn between A and D. I’m not sure what I’d choose… it would come down to the actual context it’s used in and what I thought the users’ would find most helpful in that context.


113   pixeldiva ~ 31 July 2008

H) the whole thing

Because only then can everyone be sure that they’re getting all of the important information that they need to make a decision about whether they wish to follow the link, and what to expect when they get there.


114   Erik ~ 31 July 2008

It all depends on the context of the surrounding text, as some have pointed out previously. I guess I’d have to vote for either the whole thing or A…or B…or D. Ok, I’ll officially vote for D.


115   Jorge Luis ~ 31 July 2008

I’d pick A, it just looks and feels better. Plus i’m also assuming we already know its in Itunes by reading, so I click what i want and i expect it to be that album purchase info.


116   Richard Medek ~ 31 July 2008

I’ve always taken the stance that link text should reflect the action taken, versus what you see after you click on the link. For example, we press elevator buttons to call an elevator, hit a light switch to turn on a light, and click this hyperlink to do something here.

If I was writing the sentence I would probably try to phrase it in the manner of “Purchase John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme at iTunes for just $7.99.” Since that’s not an option (and the sentence just doesn’t read as well) I would vote “D,” which implies the action of visiting iTunes.


117   Miles Dowsett ~ 31 July 2008

I would definitely put it as:

John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ is on sale at iTunes for just $7.99.

For me I always feel that any link should hold some context if its original context was removed.

Although I feel this debate is gonna run and run and run…



118   Tiffany ~ 31 July 2008

I’m torn between D and F.

Because the link is bold, underlined and red, it naturally draws my attention. Since most of the time I am just scanning text anyway, I choose the text that you want stand out the most to link.


119   Michael Layne ~ 31 July 2008

B or E. B may suggest actually listening to a sample, but B is the primary subject. E is the true destination for the link and therefore is probably the best option, because iTunes is WHERE the link is taking you.


120   soryu ~ 31 July 2008

A lot of good arguments here already. I’m for D. I’d expect the musicians website or an in-depth article behind A and maybe a currency converter behind G. But option F is nice, too, if you want to stress the low price tag. So it might be different from context.


121   Olly ~ 31 July 2008

I vote D.

The link is to a store to purchase the song. If the link was on the Artist or the Song, I’d expect to go to the artist’s site or Wikipedia etc. Links on just the price don’t make much sense, neither does linking to the word iTunes — I’d expect to go to the Apple iTunes website.


122   B ~ 31 July 2008

Well, I think either D or A/B&D combo would be good. For screen readers that read link text, A/B&D tells what is on sale where, while D just says something is on sale. The price isn’t necessarily as important, since if you aren’t interested in the product you aren’t going to care about the price anyway. Knowing something you’re interested in is on sale is enough to get you to look to find out the price.

E - G are the worst. E looks like a link to iTunes (which, to me, just makes it seem like a cheap ploy to make me go to iTunes rather than trying to make a specific point), while F & G tell you nothing helpful. What good is a price that isn’t attached to a place or product? How do I know this is relevant to me in any fashion if the first thing that catches my eye is a random price that has no context?


123   Ethan Gardner ~ 31 July 2008

Assuming you want to publicize the link for a reason, choice A is the most meaningful to me. In this case, the user is looking for something specific and choice A is pretty close to how someone would likely type it into a search engine.


124   caseyg ~ 31 July 2008

I would re-write the sentence to be: “John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ on iTunes for just $7.99.

Screen reader software creates lists of links on pages for users to listen to. Writing the link like so would more accurately describe where the link would take you when it is taken out of context of the surrounding content.


125   Blake Haswell ~ 31 July 2008

B.

I’d also include a title attribute explaining that the link would take you to the iTunes site.


126   Bryan ~ 31 July 2008

I think link text should be a call to action that also describes that action. For that reason I like option D best. It tells me it is going to take me to iTunes to purchase the album.

But I have to agree with caseyg that “John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ on iTunes for just $7.99.” would probably be even better.


127   Anthea ~ 31 July 2008

D.

It is clear what to expect when the link is followed. I think it’s important to include “iTunes” in the link, as that is the referenced site.

Interesting question..


128   Frank F. ~ 31 July 2008

All sentece… because the setence without a letter doesn’t make sense.


129   Dean ~ 31 July 2008

I’d combine all of them and link the whole sentence and style it with a multicolor blink on/off and then launch popups when you hover off that hijack the browser and take you dark places you do not want to go. Say what? what’s wrong that? :p


130   Mark ~ 31 July 2008

John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ is on sale at iTunes for just $7.99.

Link ‘John Coltrane’ to Wikipedia or another source about him.
Likewise, linke “‘A Love Supreme’” to the Wikipedia article about it, or a similar source.
Finally link ‘sale at iTunes for just $7.99’ to the iTMS.


131   Ryan Parman ~ 31 July 2008

D: It seems to me to be the most sensible call to action.


132   JD Graffam ~ 31 July 2008

Links make sense as verbs. That’s a general rule I follow. But it’s always dependent on context.


133   Daniel Craig Jallits ~ 31 July 2008

I would go with D, because the text link implies that I am purchasing an item and where I am going to be directed to make said purchase.


134   Travis ~ 31 July 2008

From a SEO perspective, it would have to be A.

But from UX’s view, I would feel friendlier if the link is on G


135   Matt ~ 31 July 2008

My vote is for B.

I feel there are a couple of options but it is all based on where the link takes you. If you underline the artist (John Coltrane) I would expect it to take me to his artist page in the iTunes store. In this case you linked to a particular album so that is what I would prefer to have the link created from.

You could go link crazy (not recommended) and link to the artist page, the album page, and the 7.99 sale page - each having a distinct and different destination specified by the underlined text.


136   Denis ~ 31 July 2008

Giovanni’s version in comment #25 is the way to go.

And wouldn’t it be more effective to have some form of a poll for us to recount our votes in. I’m interested in the final tally.


137   Vernon ~ 31 July 2008

That all depends on your definition of “effective”.

If, by effective, you mean the most effective in usability, I think a link on the song title would make one believe that the link would point to info regarding the song, whereas the link applied to the “just $7.99” would imply the link pointed to the order.

Now, if you’re measuring effectiveness based on click-through I would vote for putting a link on the song-title and possibly a second one on the “just $7.99”. This double-link strategy would help to zone in on two different types of readers and thinkers.


138   Gerry ~ 01 August 2008

I would link “at itunes for just $7.99” mostly because without including the price it just seems like an unclosed sentence, left hanging.

And it would depend on your linking system. I prefer colored links over underlined because underlining everything seems too much like those corrals my teachers in grade school used to always harp on about.

The dotted underline in the example is just the right amount of emphasis, but even just the color wouold do fine.


139   Gerry ~ 01 August 2008

I would link “at itunes for just $7.99” mostly because without including the price it just seems like an unclosed sentence, left hanging.

And it would depend on your linking system. I prefer colored links over underlined because underlining everything seems too much like those corrals my teachers in grade school used to always harp on about.

The dotted underline in the example is just the right amount of emphasis, but even just the color wouold do fine.


140   Marko Dugonjić ~ 01 August 2008

B. Because that’s what you’re actually going to buy.


141   Bert de Weerd ~ 01 August 2008

I think I would link it as “John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ is on sale at iTunes”. That’s mostly all the sentence, but just not the price. In this way you can tell what it’s about and where we’re going.


142   Ollie ~ 01 August 2008

According to Czech rules for creating accessible web I’d use A) and would add additional info in the title attribute.


143   Mario ~ 01 August 2008

I would go with first - I tend to scan the text, and usually that means that I read links more often. Meaningful link (like A in your example) would be something I would look for.


144   Lee Theobald ~ 01 August 2008

I’d probably go for B myself. Although I think D is probably the best way to do it.


145   Tim ~ 01 August 2008

All of the above!

It depends on the context in which the sentence is being used.

If the context in on the artist, link the artist name. If the context is price, link the price.


146   OkkE ~ 01 August 2008

I’d go for B.

I don’t like long linked texts as shown in A. All the others don’t show what I’m going to get.

But it also depends on the context. If this was in a large article about the artist, I’d probably go with D, because the reader would know it’s about that (well a song from that artist) song.

If it was an article about what music I like, or about how cool iTunes is, I’d go with B.

Don’t think you can point out the one best way…


147   Frank Boës ~ 01 August 2008

I’d link the whole sentence. Because by clicking on this particular link you will most likely inform the user about his iTunes starting up and showing him John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’. The price isn’t so relevant for linking - but I go for maximizing the linked (and therefore clickable) area.


148   Aleksandar ~ 01 August 2008

Definitely D.

You’re referring to an album that’s on sale, thus those are the correct words to link up.


149   Stephen ~ 01 August 2008

A.

The price and the fact it’s on sale is ephemeral data whilst the link itself relatively permanent. I think I’m saying link to what it is in essence, not it’s metadata.


150   Carey ~ 01 August 2008

In an ideal world (in which we are trying to provide the best service to the visitor instead of squeezing sales) I would link (A) to Wikipedia (or some other information source) and link D to iTunes.

I would like to think that this would increase sales by providing people the information they (might) need aswell as a link to purchase.

In reality I expect this will confuse less technical users and decrease sales.

This would also need some kind of indication as to where the links are going (doing away with tinyurl would do for me, although perhaps a tooltip for less technical users)


151   Rich ~ 01 August 2008

Definitely D - the link text should act as an indicator as to where it leads.


152   Matt Balara ~ 01 August 2008

My personal choice would be B, because “A Love Supreme” is the actual thing that you’ll be directed to.

But decisions like this are usually made due to the context of the link and your intentions.

  • If I was John Coltrane’s manager, I’d go for A.
  • If I was an iTunes product manager I might go for D.
  • If the big deal is that it’s on sale, maybe F would be best.

I reckon there’s no “best way”, just a way that suits best what you’re communicating.


153   Paul Annett ~ 01 August 2008

I’d use ‘D’ - ‘on sale at iTunes’.

‘A’ and ‘B’ would link to details about the song. Semantically, ‘E’ would just link to iTunes (since the link just says iTunes), but that’s not very usable.

‘C’ (‘on sale’) would also work, but just wouldn’t be as usable as ‘D’ imho.


154   Tory ~ 01 August 2008

I’d have to go with ‘D’ as well. When I link, I try an use where your going as part of the link, hence why I choose ‘on sale at iTunes.’


155   Art Lawry ~ 01 August 2008

It depends on the desired action to me.

If the link is informational, link the text to what the information is about (like a wiki does).

If the point is to get someone to buy a product, link what you’re buying, where it’s on sale, and price (in this case I’d reformat my sentence to say “Buy John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ at iTunes for just $7.99.).

let context and action be your major deciding factors, but also realize that some scripts for mobile or accessible browsing will often emphasize links, so try not to take anything away from links that help someone only looking at the link.

“Buy at iTunes” doesn’t tell me what I’m buying.


156   Matt Rasmussen ~ 01 August 2008

B is my answer although A would be my second choice. The link should be on the “item” you want to refer users to.

I disagree with linking the whole sentence because long links look clunky. Conversely, linking to just the name iTunes in choice E is too short and doesn’t draw attention to the item you’re referencing, in this case, the song.


157   jbudd ~ 01 August 2008

I’m a fan of A. True it links to the album semantically but the rest of the sentence clears up any misconceptions of where clicking it, will take you, into the iTunes store.

The link in D, “on sale at iTunes” may imply that I will be taken to a “SALE” page on the iTunes store, and not directly to the Coletrane album.


158   Richard ~ 01 August 2008

Wow, lots of opinions going on here!

At first glance I would also have to go with option A. The reason being, I know what it’s linking to - if I read the rest of the sentence it can give me more information to see if it’s worht my click.


159   Andrew Meyer ~ 01 August 2008

OKAY,

I didn’t read all 158 comments, so maybe someone already said this, but my general thought is it comes down to what part of the sentence to you want to emphasize. Whatever part of the sentence is linked has an emphasis. If you want to draw attention to the name of the artist and song you’d do A, if you want to draw attention to the song title you’d select B, if you want to draw attention to how it’s on sale, you’d pick C, and so on…

Preference is really not an issue here as much as what is trying to be communicated.

Those are my thoughts.


160   valerio vaz ~ 01 August 2008

D) John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ is on sale at iTunes for just $7.99.

because the hyperlink defines the landing page, period.


161   Kirk ~ 01 August 2008

Would it be too simple to suggest that we link the subject of the sentence?


162   Melanie ~ 01 August 2008

The one thing nobody has said yet to support a longer link (my choice is to use A + ‘on sale at iTunes’) is that it not only gives the user more description as to where it’s linking to, but it also makes the link target bigger, i.e. Fitts Law, and therefore easier to click on. I think 5-7 words is a good length.


163   Jen ~ 01 August 2008

I’d go for D because I would assume the linked portion is where I’m heading. For A and B I could assume you are leading me to a sound clip of the album, or more information about the artist, but not necessarily the album on iTunes. If that makes sense :)


164   Lee Pilmore ~ 01 August 2008

It’s B. As this is the product for sale by a particular artist from a particular place at a certain price. B!


165   David Rapson ~ 01 August 2008

I prefer A because the album is the main subject and so most important imo. However C is perhaps more accurate in this case as it is the fact it is on sale that you are trying to draw attention to.

To Cameron, on a different note I just finished writing an article about designers who have done a good job of designing for themselves and on of those sites was yours Designing for yourself

Thanks for the inspiration


166   Josh Bryant ~ 01 August 2008

D


167   Will Parker ~ 01 August 2008

D - The text describes the object of interest, including the fact that it’s on sale. In most cases, the overall unlinked text should bear the burden of informing and entertaining the reader.

The LINK provides a navigational cue on the immediate result of clicking the link (you’ll go to iTunes for the item on sale), as well as the functionality to do so. No other text is required in the link.

A - doesn’t provide cues to what’s at the other end of the link (Wikipedia article? A big picture of John Coltrane?) and doesn’t directly refer to the point of the text.

B - Slightly better than A, because Coltrane fans will recognize the link as an album name. People new to Coltrane may not.

C - Closer yet, but refers to the sale condition, not the product on sale.

E - Good enough, I suppose, but doesn’t refer directly to the sale condition.

F - This would be my second choice

G - Placement is everything. Focusing on the price at the end of the sentence has a faint whiff of spam to me.


168   Meredith ~ 01 August 2008

I vote D. also. While I kind of prefer the “on sale,” “on sale at iTunes” lets users know automatically where the link will take them and also gives them an action item. I generally prefer to create hyperlinks on actions/verbs, if a full sentence is involved.


169   Dan Wilt ~ 01 August 2008

Definitely A out of any of them.. However, I’d most likely link the entire thing because it’s all important.

I’d add a nice little thumbnail of the album via float to the left of it, too. :)


170   Adrian Turner ~ 01 August 2008

I vote D. On sale tells me that its available and iTunes tells me where I am going to purchase it from.


171   ben stewart ~ 01 August 2008

I think I would use “B” for no apparent reason other than preference.

I would probably suggest that other people use “A” or just make the whole sentence a link.


172   Josh Read ~ 01 August 2008

I would go with A for the most descriptive or G for the most succinct.


173   herval ~ 01 August 2008

Would go with A - or B, but with a different link on John Coltrane’s name for his own profile (all albuns). Not the best approach, I guess, but I like when I see that kind of linking (where you can go straight to the content or you can see more on the author)..


174   Stephen ~ 01 August 2008

I vote D. It describes the action:: “on sale”, and the destination: “iTunes”. B is a close second choice.


175   Shane ~ 01 August 2008

I vote B:
Because sometimes I enjoy going link crazy, so I would leave myself open to link the artist “name” to their website or some other appropriate page giving a reader more in depth knowledge if they don’t know WHO the artist is. So linking the actual title of the song would make sense to have that go to the actual place to purchase the song.

My next vote would be “D”

**Correct me if I’m wrong** but I feel “B” would also help as far as search engine optimization goes, or rather be more search engine friendly. So if say someone runs a search for that song title your blog post may come up in the list, and perhaps your post will help persuade someone to purchase the song, or just drive more traffic to your site.


176   Tom Watson ~ 01 August 2008

When I link things up I do it like B. I don’t necessarily think there’s a correct answer though.


177   Adrian ~ 01 August 2008

There’s no right answer to that question because it depends on the context of where that sentence would appear. For example, if the rest of the paragraph described the person, John Coltrane, then I would think the link should go on his name. If the rest of the text is talking about that specific album, the link should be, “A Love Supreme.” Your question doesn’t say but I take it we’re assuming the link goes to John’s iTunes album, but the link placement would obviously change if it were linked to say his personal website.


178   Luca ~ 02 August 2008

B is more specific


179   Tomo ~ 02 August 2008

I agree with Matt Jacobs definitely, I’d link the whole sentence, but perhaps without the price as it might change and is not a neccessity here.

I would think about the most appropriate title for the webpage I’m linking to, and use a phrase that is as close to it as possible.

IE:
John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ is on sale at iTunes for just $7.99.”

and perhaps ad an emphasis on the price, just without the link, like so:

John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ is on sale at iTunes for just $7.99.

Not only is this the most descriptive, it is easier to click, and web spiders will probably index the link with more relevance to this specific song of this specific author, rather than just a part of the phrase.

I believe it’s inpollite to deliberately emphasize just the song title so you’d get more hits from Google for it, because people might be looking for the same song by another author and you’d be misleading them.


P.S.
Great topic Cameron, too many people create links in a totally bad manner.
I’d kill someone who puts uses 3 words, one next to each other to link to 3 different locations. :)


180   Jeremy ~ 02 August 2008

I would favor B or D, but it depends on what you want to highlight in the sentence; what’s being offered, or where to go.

Option B indicates what exactly is being offered to the user; the album ‘A Love Supreme.’

Option D indicates where the sentence is directing you to go, with the added hook ‘on sale.’


181   MediaUpstream ~ 03 August 2008

B) John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme’ is on sale at iTunes for just $7.99.


I’d go with B, but I would add all of the text to the title attribute of the link.


182   Jim Whiteside ~ 03 August 2008

In the context of the sentence as a whole, ‘D’ makes the most sense in that you get the best indication of what happens when you follow the link.

But for Accessibility etc. (e.g. screenreaders) you should consider the link out of context and as the link text does not include information of what’s for sale at iTunes I’d add the entire sentence as title attribute of the link.

The alternative would be to make the entire sentence a link, which would work with the link in and out of context.


183   Aaron Trubic ~ 03 August 2008

I’d have to go web 1.0 and link the entire sentence. It leaves no room for individual interpretation. In the end, you want the click.

I would also include the entire sentence in the title attribute.

I’d also have to agree, in part, with those that want to know in what context the sentence is displayed. BUT, like I said, if you WANT the click, link the whole thing.


184   Barry Bloye ~ 03 August 2008

I vote D, as that’s where the link is going (the album ‘on sale at iTunes’)

If it were a link to something about the album in general I would choose B.


185   Brad Bonham ~ 03 August 2008

Don’t even add a link. Make ‘em EARN IT!


186   Jason Foss ~ 04 August 2008

Just goes to show how there is really no “right” answer here.

I’d go with A, or possibly the whole sentence. Third choice would be B.

See! Eggs in 3 baskets. Talk about sitting on the fence!


187   Christos Chiotis ~ 04 August 2008

For me D. It gives a link exactly to the place to buy. If you put the link to the Album name, it looks that you are linking to a page with more info about the artist and the album.


188   Tomasz Staniak ~ 04 August 2008

Due to the emphasis you put with the style and way people read the page (skim/scan) I see neither of the choices to be the ideal.

For the closest one I’d go with A as it’s most descriptive and the title of what you are selling is the most important (eye-catching) here - especially when this will be a long list of different items (albums/prices).

The best would be to link the whole sentence without the price. B would be the third choice.


189   Drew ~ 04 August 2008

B or E. Either linking it by item (album title) or the location in which it can be purchased (iTunes).


190   Michael ~ 04 August 2008

What is it that you are buying, or are interested in buying? It’s pretty clearly A.


191   helaene ~ 04 August 2008

B


192   Robin ~ 04 August 2008

I would have to go with A or B; link the subject of the sentence, since this is what you are talking about. - I guess it’s the grammar nerd coming out in me.


193   Jeff Bridgforth ~ 04 August 2008

A. What I want in the end is John Coltrane’s version of this song. Great it is on sale but what I care about and what will catch my eye and want me to take action is A.


194   Brian Peppler ~ 04 August 2008

Either A or B. A is the most descriptive and user friendly, but it could become repetitive if there are links to additional Coltrane albums within the surrounding content.


195   stealingsand ~ 04 August 2008

It really is all about context and what you’re trying to sell. Selling Coltrane? Price? iTunes availability?

If it’s on a page about Coltrane it’d be repetitive to link from “John Coltrane”.

Or, well, it’d be repetitive to even include “john Coltrane” so maybe I’ve just painted myself into the corner.


196   Christian Watson ~ 04 August 2008

Great comments, but it’s hard to tell which option(s) is the most popular.

So, just for fun, I turned this question into a poll.

Vote now!


197   Rich ~ 04 August 2008

A lot of opinions and nobody is getting to the point: The sentence is not written in active but passive voice (or perhaps pseudo-active because “on sale” is an adjective, I’d bet). Rewrite the sentence to introduce who is doing what and then link respectively.

My vote: “iTunes is selling John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ for just $7.99.”

I would also be nit-picky to say I wouldn’t link the quotation marks around the album name because the quotation marks aren’t part of the album name, but a signifier that what is enclosed within the marks is the album. Likewise, the link to that album is also a signifier.


198   Pokoje Zakopane ~ 05 August 2008

I vote B


199   ~ 05 August 2008

None of the above. I would use, “‘A Love Supreme’ is on sale at iTunes” as the link text


200   Tyler Thompson ~ 05 August 2008

A.


201   Joe ~ 05 August 2008

Hey Cam…in a separate example, what about the old standard “Click here for more info”? I’m asked to add that a lot (because apparently linking the preceding text isn’t enough in 2008). what part would you link there?

“click here”…
…”here”…
“Click here for more info”
or avoid this archaic language altogether?


202   Melissa Johnson ~ 05 August 2008

A or B. I’m waffling.

Probably A.


203   Viktor Reiter ~ 05 August 2008

I vote for A or B

Marking “‘A Love Supreme’ is on sale at iTunes” completely as a link would do the job well.


204   JaX ~ 05 August 2008

I vote for A. Links should have more descriptive text, rather than less for SEO reasons. Google will give you a higher pagerank for these keywords if they are all part of the link.


205   Mark Priestap ~ 05 August 2008

I haven’t read the other comments (sorry)..

My vote: Any of the above depending on context.

If it’s implicit that you’re linking to sales (under a heading “sales”), then I’d link to the name of the song. That way it’s not redundant and that’s what people are looking for.

So, I’d link to the word(s) that a) people are looking for and b) is consistent with the way you link other things.


206   Gen Gurczenski ~ 05 August 2008

B - feels right


207   Roger ~ 05 August 2008

B is best from these options, but A would also work if “John Coltrane” linked to the artist’s profile in iTunes, and the song title linked to the “sale” page.


208   ~ 05 August 2008

B is first choice…A is too much.


209   ~~ ~ 05 August 2008

B. It’s the subject.


210   Tim Stanley ~ 05 August 2008

I ask myself similar questions.
B - it’s the main topic of the link.
A - maybe, but my opinion is B is better.


211   Wiley ~ 05 August 2008

The only real jazz way:

A Love Supreme

A Love Supreme

A Love Supreme

A Love Supreme (At iTunes)


212   DRG ~ 05 August 2008

I’d link the whole sentence to make the most of:

1. feedforward for the link text when it might be out of context (e.g., with some assistive technology) (comment 79 from Jill was the first I saw on this idea here)

2. clickable area (as per Fitts’ law) (see comments 147 and 162)


213   Rob Enslin ~ 06 August 2008

Of your choices available I vote ‘B’.

When I insert links on a page I remain conscious of context. What is the nature of the website that carries this paragraph with a link in it? And, what or where do I want the visitor to go? Here you want the visitor to see the item for sale so I’d structure it:

John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ is on sale at iTunes for just $7.99.

I like your post - it demonstrates how often we take seemingly simple tasks for granted without giving much thought to it.


214   angusf ~ 06 August 2008

A


215   Cola ~ 06 August 2008

Of the choice available, I vote A.


216   Gerry Quach ~ 06 August 2008

A), because it is the most contextually relevant phrase to link. A is better than B because the longer phrase gives you a bigger area to click on. Author + Title is also more specific than just Title.


217   Niels Matthijs ~ 06 August 2008

I’d say there is no answer really. It all depends on where you want to lead your visitors.

If you link the artist and/or album in the text above, I expect to go to a page about that artist/album, I don’t want to end up on iTunes

So basically I’d choose A if you want your visitors to go to an informative page, and I’d choose E (prossible with an expanded title) if you want them to go to iTunes.


218   chris ~ 06 August 2008

D for definitely


219   Jason ~ 06 August 2008

A - if you’re doing it for SEM for the other guy

D - if you’re doing it for your users. I believe in telling the user where they’re going, and why. To me it just seems like good business to tell your users, “if you click here, you’re going TO iTunes BECAUSE its on sale.


220   Kevin ~ 06 August 2008

To me, “D” is the most safest.

Great post, Mr. Moll!


221   Justin ~ 06 August 2008

B is the best answer as it’s actually what you’re linking to. Think about it this way if you had a new product page you wouldn’t link to the new as new can vary with each new page. What you’re linking to is the product page. If I had a product foo I would name the page foo.xxx and then the link would be to what I’m pointing to, foo.xxx.


222   Matthias ~ 06 August 2008

Its “A”!

Because it’s all about the music…


223   Matthias ~ 06 August 2008

Its “A”!

Because it’s all about the music…


224   Leonardo S. R. ~ 06 August 2008

What context? What I wanna tell?

A + B + D.
[John Coltrane’s] [‘A Love Supreme’] is [on sale at iTunes] for just $7.99.

[John Coltrane’s] go to bio;
[‘A Love Supreme’] go to lyrics;
[on sale at iTunes] go to shopping.


225   Maggie Wolfe Riley ~ 06 August 2008

I like B as most informative (yet specific) for a quick scan. Except if you’ll get redirected to iTunes, and I always hate it when I think I’m going to an artists’ site or album description page and suddenly iTunes opens up, so in this case, that makes D most appropriate, for the reasons Chris outlined in the first comment, and which Neils and Jason expanded on later.

(The reason I hate it when that happens is that my laptop’s hard drive is too full and so I moved all my music to an external drive, and now when iTunes opens up and I’m not connected, I get an error message. Need a bigger hard drive. I want my laptop to act like a desktop. And still go with me wherever I go.)


226   Paul B. Riddick ~ 06 August 2008

If I was forced to vote, I would choose A, however I think you overlooked a more sensible option, linking the text “‘A Love Supreme’ is on sale”.

From a usability/accessibility perspective, this makes the most sense, because it’s infortmative when the link is taken out of context - You still have a fair idea where you’re going if you click the link - It implies that you will go to a location where you can learn more about this product(Inc where to buy etc.). “Is on sale” and “$7.99” alone however, are uninformative to the end user when taken out of context.


227   Ryan ~ 06 August 2008

A. It can stand alone.


228   Nate ~ 06 August 2008

I like B. B is the subject of the sentence, therefore, it makes sense to have that be the focus of the hyperlink.


229   booyah ~ 06 August 2008

my 229th most important vote is for linking the whole thing, or D.

But then a client will just go and remove the whole link and put a ‘click here’ link at the end :(


230   Bruce Bowden ~ 06 August 2008

The solution I use is:
Link the whole sentence but;
Add a span on the album title so it is the only section that shows as a link. The rest of the sentence shows an underline only on hover.

The whole sentence is needed to carry the import of the link but all that blue underline doesn’t look good.

See latest news items on http://casa.gov.au for an example


231   Scott Limmer ~ 07 August 2008

I would suggest linking the whole sentence. Users scan bodies of text, so when a link jumps out at them it needs to be self explanatory.

Long link titles aren’t bad. In fact, they’re better than short ones if they properly describe the information on the linked page.


232   Julian Gruber ~ 07 August 2008

I think, it depends. If the price would be super-low, I would underline: “At iTunes for just $7.99”. Otherwise, I would stick with version D or B. D is self-explanatory and B..hmm would also be appropriate, if you linked to more stuff, which can be bought on iTunes.


233   Tony Chester ~ 07 August 2008

A is my vote. It tells the visitor exactly what he’s clicking on and it’s an SEO friendly link to boot.


234   helios ~ 07 August 2008

D is my option. If you’re linking to the iTunes page that sells it for $7.99 it’s the clearest link.

The page you’re being redirected to is not the disk page (@ John Coltrain’s site by example, or in Wikipedia, or whatever) but it’s the page that sells it for that price.

Adding more to the link (like “for $7.99” is messy. And again, it’s the page that represents this relationship:

[iTunes] —— sells ——> [Love Supreme…]

“price” is an attribute of the relationship (as I understand it, I don’t think iTunes sells it for two different prices!), so if a page represents an entity, and the page represents the relationship I said before, “on sale at iTunes” is the best option.


235   Kevin McDaniel ~ 07 August 2008

I’d have to say B, it’s very specific. A is more descriptive, but it’s harder to read.


236   Jack ~ 07 August 2008

The correct choice, at least in terms of Search Engine Optimization, is A. Google looks at what text is linked to rank its relevance. For example, Acme 5000 Power Ray for sale. Click Here! If you link “Click Here!”, you gain no benefit from the hyperlink. Your link is useless. However if you link the proper title, you’ve just improved standing. This is the way it’s supposed to work, rather than spam link-baiting. Just my two cents!


237   Bryan ~ 07 August 2008

From the list, vote for B.
Since there is no call to action, it seems to be the most distinct part of the sentence.

From alternate options, I’d go with #25 Giovanni’s selection.


238   Quote Catcher Website Design ~ 07 August 2008

I’d go for D. It’s the most descriptive. It tells you where you are going and what you are going for. To itunes to Buy the song.


239   Bloggin Superstar ~ 07 August 2008

A & B: look like links to more information about ‘A Love Supreme’

D: my choice, as it very clearly indicates a link to the sale at itunes


240   Marcus ~ 07 August 2008

Haven’t read all the posts but for my two pence worth it would be (a)”John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ is on sale at iTunes for just $7.99.” The link makes the most sense when read out of context, the base requirement for a link phrase.
You could say the same of (b)”John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ is on sale at iTunes for just $7.99.” as this makes complete sense in and out of context but the inclusion of the price in example (a) gives the user the most amount of information out of context.

The real context for the link is the site itself. What are we promoting/linking and what is the user looking for? Are we a music site linking to artists, songs and providers or are we just posting a quick link to some cheap tunes on a blog?
The same question can be applied to example (a) and (b) above as site wide context would be the difference between the choice itself and a further site wide linking policy.

Any views?


241   patrick h. lauke ~ 07 August 2008

coming in late, and perhaps this has already been said in the oodles of comments, but…how about making the entire thing a link?


242   Jen Germann ~ 07 August 2008

It would totally depend on the context of the rest of the story or the content of the website or theme of the article or in whatever the link finds itself. If it’s an article about John Coltrane and you were directing people where to get his music, then iTunes is linked. If you were listing John Coltrane’s albums, you would likely want to link only the album name.

I see linking is another way to emphasize a word, phrase or idea. It gives credence and support to your argument. So whatever you want to emphasize or cite, whatever is the most important concept, that’s what you link.

That’s my two cents at least …


243   Justin Lilly ~ 07 August 2008

John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ is on sale at iTunes for just $7.99.

I think this is separated into several contextual bits:

[John Coltrane]’s ‘[A Love Supreme]’ is [on sale at iTunes] for [just $7.99].

…with, in order, links to Wiki Bio, Wiki Discography, shopping link, price comparisons.

Pick which you think is most relevant to what you’re linking to.


244   Steve Williams ~ 08 August 2008

WOW, Why are people saying, I would go for A, or I would go for D. They are all wrong!

Either link the whole line (as many suggesated) or

link just ‘A Love Supreme’ is on sale at iTunes.


245   David Bloomfield ~ 08 August 2008

I would go with A as it is the most descriptive link text when read out of context.

However it doesnt really tell the user where the link is going so maybe having all of the text

“John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ is on sale at iTunes for just $7.99.”

as a link may work better.


246   Adopted Domain ~ 08 August 2008

B or E. That said, you’ve got to be allowed to be creative with how you use your linking - there’s so much info out there that you could link to almost any word in any content. So, linking is like a kind of punctuation - emphasising, or justifying important points, and showing readers what the author thinks might be worth findout more on. And then there’s the old unexpected or contrary link gag…


247   Murphy ~ 08 August 2008

After reading over this several times, and assuming that only one part of the sentence would be linked, I’d go with C. The important part of the message is that the album is “on sale,” it’s the reason why a person would care about this link.

None of them are really wrong, however I would think that A & B would link to the John Coltrane page, and the rest would put the album in my cart. Then I’d test to see which one got the most sales.


248   Niamh Mallon ~ 08 August 2008

B. ‘Cause that is what you are actually getting.


249   Mark Howells-Mead ~ 08 August 2008

None of the above, though B is the closest. I’d link the words “A Love Supreme” without the quotation marks, as that is the name of the item being linked to. If you’ve not already mentioned the artist in a previous sentence, then I’d also (perhaps) link the name, without the apostrophe or ‘s’, to his biography or website.

I know, I’m pedantic.


250   Ben Buchanan ~ 09 August 2008

Option A and at a pinch option B. Really, the whole lot should be a link in order to provide full meaning when the link is read on its own.

Options C to G all basically break WCAG 1.0 and shouldn’t be used. Even if you don’t care about standards and accessibility (and you should! ;)) I still think A, B or “all linked” is the best option. The others all have issues with logic, readability or longevity.

I’m not really sure why people shy away from using longer phrases as link text. It feels quite natural when the copy is written well; and the big click area just makes it easier to hit the link.


251   Ruben ~ 09 August 2008

I am with Justin (#143). Others already stated that it depends on what part you want to emphasize and thus link to. The solution offered by Justin seems the most logical in that regard.


252   Mike ~ 10 August 2008

Definitely “D”


253   Jason King ~ 10 August 2008

Personally I prefer B.

A makes more sense but it feels long-winded.

But with either A or B people might think that’s a link to information about the album, not to a sales site.

So maybe D is the best choice.

Head hurts.


254   Corey Dutson ~ 11 August 2008

I’d probably go with D. Thinking it over, that’s how I do a lot of my linking so that’s the option I’d have to go with.

If i was going to link the artist, I’d probably link to their site, not the song itself.


255   Mike Bobiney ~ 11 August 2008

As a user, I would choose letter “D” as this serves as a more descriptive way of telling me that I’ll be taken to iTunes and that the item is on sale. Although I may have also included the price in the link as I believe that this gives more meaning to how much of a deal the sale is.


256   Wishmylove ~ 11 August 2008

I think “G” is the best.


257   Jonathan Faustman ~ 11 August 2008

Going to have to go with B followed by D.


258   Michael ~ 12 August 2008

I would go with A. As many others have already pointed out, it describes exactly the item/product/page that you would be going to if the link was clicked on. I might also add “is on sale” to the link just to give those viewers who skim sites a chance to see that this item, indeed, is on sale.


259   Stu Collett ~ 12 August 2008

I would go with B, but make the ‘iTunes’ a link as well. I think that makes the most sense?


260   thisisjazz ~ 13 August 2008

A and E
What is on sale and where to get it (the price is less important)


261   Misty ~ 14 August 2008

I think the “call to action” in this instance is “for just $7.99.”

In fact, you could leave off those words, and still have a complete sentence. They seem to exist solely to direct a person towards the appropriate location for purchase.


262   jiimiona ~ 14 August 2008

+1. Who more? :)


263   smartgun ~ 14 August 2008

I’m with Misty (F), or maybe even G. That $7.99 is the price label on the product, and it’s the least intrusive example. Get your big ugly highlighted links out of my way - I’m trying to read here!


264   SimonMc ~ 14 August 2008

Decisions, decisions. Oh I don’t know. I am one of those people who just sees a link and clicks it. For SEO purposes I would go with D but to be honest unless you did some kind of multi variat split testing on a pretty large sample of surfers you won’t get the difinitive answer.


265   rebecca smith ~ 14 August 2008

“A Love Supreme” (option B) sounds really intriguing.

Just checked itunes and they link the title (and the artist) they don’t link the price.


266   Matt ~ 15 August 2008

(A)or(B) if you’re attempting to market to search engines, otherwise (D) is the natural winner for me.


267   Lindsay ~ 15 August 2008

Definitely (A).

While the price, seller, etc. are important there is just something about clicking on the thing you actually want. I do want the $7.99 price and I am happy to spend my money with iTunes if they are the ones that have this price… but the thing that I really want is the music, so that’s what I feel like I should be clicking on.


268   Paul Redmond ~ 15 August 2008

I would trash C,D,E,& G.

In my opinion the difference between A,B, and F would be trivial if non-existent.

I prefer A because it sticks out the most, but don’t think that B and F would loose any linkers in comparison.


269   Simple ~ 15 August 2008

I think I would go for option A as it probably has the most SEO benefit for the author and is also relatively concise for the user.


270   Simple ~ 15 August 2008

I think I would go for option A as it probably has the most SEO benefit for the author and is also relatively concise for the user.


271   Ionut ~ 18 August 2008

Hey Cameron,
I think the best option is A, because it points to the object.


272   Flug Thailand ~ 20 August 2008

I´d decide for A) or B). Because this is what the user is searching for, the Keywords the user is searching for is linked and that´s an advantage great for SEO and thereby for the user of course. Regarding to usability only version D) is nice.
Regards
Flug


273   Rob L ~ 24 August 2008

I’d say B. I would say that in terms of usability, the link should reflect the content you are going to get when you click(you’re not going to get $7.99 when you click.). Context, however, could and should affect your decision. If you are listing several items with the same name, including the creator’s name or the price in the link is a helpful visual guide for the reader. Let’s remember that people typically scan through Web page text, often focusing on just link text, and putting the right words in the links supports this behavior.


274   Kevin Futter ~ 26 August 2008

I was going to say B, but having read some of the other responses, I agree that D has the best semantic fit in terms of the context of the sentence. Option B could take you to any page on the web about the album. Option D is clear about taking you to the album’s home on iTunes. Context is everything!


275   Mark BO ~ 26 August 2008

I believe E to be the link I use to sell the album. As a customer ready to buy, I perceive iTunes to be a reputable place to buy and be serviced, the most likely to be using all the latest technologies available for an efficient, hassle free purchase. All the details; what, where, how much are in the statements, it’s time to git ‘er done.

Another great way is to come up with a forum on which method is best to use to sell this album, I’ve bought 7 copies of ‘A Love Supreme’ and I never heard it before today :)


276   Ripbud ~ 26 August 2008

Um…
I don’t think I can answer this without knowing where this text would be. If it was in a blog I’d say B - but if it were at the end of a blog and just linking to it - i don’t think I would have worded it like this at all it would say title etc and then end with “iTunes” link to go get it.
Oh i guess I answered…


277   Ian Lloyd ~ 28 August 2008

A - Linking to ‘A Love Supreme’ alone begs the question “By who?” Ther have been several songs with that title, but this is John Coltrane’s version.


278   Barbi ~ 31 August 2008

My coworkers and I recently had a similar discussion. I’d love to see a running total on the responses/votes here.


279   Tim Jahn ~ 31 August 2008

Choice “B” feels right to me in this situation since this choice highlights the product being focused on.


280   Q5 Webdesign ~ 05 September 2008

I vote “A”. The name is important!


281   cpsmyth ~ 15 September 2008

My vote is for “A”. From what I have learned about SEO, “A” is the most appropriate answer as it has the most relevance to the URL that it is going to.


282   bmoremu ~ 09 October 2008

I really wish you’d inserted an actual poll so we could see the results. Very interesting to see how many different responses there are.


283   Martin Vrkljan ~ 30 November 2008

I’d go with A, too.

You’re linking to a site which sells a particular item, a song in this case - something that is uniquely identified with two things; the author’s name and the song title. To me personally, placing the entire sentence in a link looks more like an article title or a news heading. I’g do with A and perhaps emphasise the word ‘just’ with italic type.

And as cpsmyth noted, search engines would appreciate that format the most.




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