Wednesday, February 16, 2011

WotW: The Gospel of Links, part two -- text vs. image

Continuing on in The Gospel of Links, According to Lu (catch the first sermon here)....  let's talk about using text links vs. image links. What's the difference?

A text link is a piece of text (a word, phrase, etc) that is the clickable link and an image link is an image (any image) that is the clickable link.

You make a text link by clicking the the little blue Link button up in your toolbar and pasting in the URL to link to.

You make an image link by first inserting the image (using the little mountain scene button in your toolbar) and then clicking on the inserted image and selecting Edit Link from the little menu. (If you don't edit the link, Blogger automatically makes the image a link to the full-resolution version of the image -- fine for regular photo images, but annoying if you're expecting to get somewhere by clicking the image.)

And, in case you're a visual learner, a text link looks something like this and an image link looks something like this:

And, yes, both of those links are fairly shameless self-promotion. :)

Both types of links have their place, so when should you use which? That will depend on who you are and what your blogging style is (as well as who your readers are... and how well you know them). My general rule of thumb is that I don't include an image just for the sake of making it an image link -- so most of my links are text links. This seems to also be a common "rule" around the blogosphere as I've experienced it, but just follow the Golden Rule (as mentioned last week -- blog how you like to read) and you'll do alright.

The one BIG exception to this "rule" is blog buttons. Blog buttons are really just image links. Some are fancier than others (dancing letters and whatnot), but at the core, that's all that blog buttons are: images linked to somewhere. (If you need a crash course on making your own blog button and the correlating link code, go here and check out my marvelous two-part tutorial. :)

A reader who has been around the blogosphere much knows that a blog button is usually a link to whatever the button is advertising -- a blog, a shop, a tutorial, a blog series, etc.

So, knowing that most readers behave this way -- that is, they click on images that look like blog buttons (images that have text, most commonly) expecting to be taken somewhere but most likely they don't click on images that look like photo images -- use this knowledge to your advantage. Make any images that look like blog buttons links to whatever that text is referring. Otherwise, they'll be just like any other image in Blogger and a reader who clicks, expecting to see a tutorial or blog series, sees instead a larger version of the button. Been there, done that. Was very frustrated.

Here's a confession (tied to a bit of self-promotion): I first thought deeply about this concept last night. I'm hosting an awesome shindig at my place called Housewife MacGyver (see, there's the self-promotion, all linked and everything ;) and I've got awesome button-looking images for each of our monthly themes/challenges that I include in the posts (like the button seen above in my first act of shameless self-promotion).

But, DUH, Lorene -- I had never thought to make those images links. The button itself, nestled in my sidebar, is a link. But the monthly-theme images that closely resemble the button... weren't. BUT, once I realized how common-sensical it is, I spent a few minutes updating those (but let me know if I missed any!). It doesn't take long, but if it helps even one reader to get where he or she wants to be, learning more about Housewife MacGyver, then all my time is worth it. { / end shameless self-promotion... probably}

Next sermon: opening links in a new window or tab. It involves the fiery HTML... :) See you then!

Lu (or Lorene if you prefer) is the mom of one squirmy boy and the wife of a singing and dancing elementary teacher. She is the proud author of this weekly Wednesdays on the Web (WotW) segment here on Housewife Eclectic and spends the other days of the week blogging about crafts and whatever else comes up at just Lu.


Kari said...

Thanks for posting this information. I will admit I had no idea how to make an image into a link.

Brandy@YDK said...

great info. as always.

Stray Stitches said...

Thanks for those pearls of wisdom. This was very helpful!!

Cranberry Morning said...

Very, very helpful. Thanks - as always!

Megan Harmeyer said...

Great information! And I would've never been able to make my blog button without your handy tutorial.

Ann said...

Thanks Lu, what great timing you have as I just posted a book cover and had it in the back of my mind that I really should be making a link out of it. With your guidance I just did. Yay and thanks! Question... how do I get the image link to open in a new window? I tried inserting target="_blank" in front of ><, but it's not happening.

Gwen @ Gwenny Penny said...

Can you believe that I never knew you could make an image a link right in Blogger? I've been using photobucket for every image link I have! Thank you, Lorene!!!