Are you driving traffic away from your site?

Today is a short post, but an important one. I want to talk about links.

Links are a great way to share content, direct readers to other places they can find you and promote other writers. But they have a dark side. If not used properly, links can actually drive traffic away from your site.

Now, there's a whole SEO aspect to links that has something to do with a magical Google formula taking into account the number of links in correlation to original content, blah, blah, blah. I don't really pay attention to SEO and I have no idea how this aspect of it works. If I have a link I want to share, I share it.

But there is a right way and a wrong way, and it's a simple as one button.

 That's right, the simple "Open this link in a new window" box. You should always, ALWAYS, check this box. I can't think of a single reason not to. When you do, the link opens in a separate window that when closed, lets your reader go right back to the page they were reading. If you don't check it, your page goes away and the link is opened. That means if your reader wants to go back to your content, they have to hit the back button.

That may sound simple enough, but here's the problem. What happens when they get to the new page and want to click on a shiny new link there. And then another. And another. You see the problem. In order to get back to your original content, they have to hit the back button so many times, they'll probably give up. Or worse, forget about your content all together.

So rather than play Russian Roulette with the back button, just adjust all your links to open in a new window. It doesn't take any more time time and can help readers get the most out of your site.