UNB Marketing Blog
Tips and tricks from your university marketers

Don't click here: Words to avoid when writing for the web

Author: Lynn McLellan

Posted on Mar 28, 2017

Category: Web and Social Media

We’ve all done it. No one over 30 who’s ever edited a website is innocent.

If we wanted to add a link on our page to another site or document, we said “click here” to tell users exactly where to go to learn more. Simple and effective, right?

Not exactly. “Click here” is a throwback to the early 1990’s when many of us were still learning how to use a mouse and had to be told in plain language how to follow a link while “surfing the internet.” With dial-up.

Nowadays, web users often won’t read an entire page of text. They’re more apt to scan for headings and page links that are relevant to their search. A page full of “click here”s means they’re likely to miss what they came for.

Instead of: Click here to submit an application.”

We recommend: Apply now.”

Other words or phrases that are best avoided

1: Welcome!

When the web was just getting started, welcoming someone to your site was akin to welcoming them to your home. Going online was a much bigger deal at the time and we were so grateful for visitors that we’d often have a hit counter at the bottom of our page. Remember those?

Instead of: “Welcome to the Department of Economics”

We recommend: Removing that line entirely.

2: Link / Button / Menu

Much like “click here”, telling users how to access various elements of your site is a bit like telling someone how to operate a seatbelt. It can come across as insulting to their intelligence.

Instead of: “Click the links below” or “Choose from the menu on the right”

We recommend: Removing any mention of links, buttons or menus and simply including them without introduction. 

3: Coming soon / Under construction

If a particular section of your site is unfinished and not ready for public viewing, it’s best to simply omit it from the navigation until it contains helpful information.

Instead of: “Check back soon for updates.”

We recommend: Not publishing the page until it’s done, or if it’s already published, removing any links to it.

4: Website / Webpage

If you’re on a website, referring to it as a website (or webpage) is unnecessary and dated.

Instead of: “For more information, visit the Faculty of Science website.”

We recommend: “For more information, see the Faculty of Science.”

5: Displaying the full web address

This is more of a technique than anything, but it’s done often enough that it deserves a mention.

Instead of: “Please go to http://www.unb.ca/admissions/requirements for admission requirements.”

We recommend: “See our admission requirements for more information.”

A strong online presence is an essential component of UNB’s brand identity and our overall reputation. By following these guidelines and presenting a consistent UNB message online, you’re helping to build and strengthen UNB’s visual identity. Don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance with your web content. Email brand@unb.ca for help.