Links make up the web.

Links are a tool -- made up of a defined selection of text -- used to guide online readers to where they want to go.

Providing further information. If you just want to read the page you’re on, fine; you’re not losing anything. But if you want to follow the links, you can. That’s the great thing about the Web."—Nielsen & Morkes (1997)

Getting readers as quickly as possible to what they're looking for. They rarely land directly where they want to be.

Weinberger: Links can be used to dig further into the same topic, to explore the topic more broadly, to explore a topic that’s related but not the same, to see an example of a site that doesn’t understand the topic at all, to get further evidence that what the page says is right, to propitiate an acquaintance, to get paid for running an ad someone clicked on. His point was to say that there is such a wide variety of uses, it is impossible to determine whether they are good or bad.

Use links to provide depth and breadth within your site. Assume your readers haven't quite found what they're looking for yet. ("See also links are helpful)

To make meta-information public (date, phone number, contact information, URL) It is really annoying when a page I wish to cite doesn't have a date.

To add semantic meaning to a page. Search engines and users treat linked text as more important than the rest.

On long pages, put a set of links at the top of the page, linking to a spot further down on the webpage. This serves as a page organizer. Reminds me of Wikipedia pages.
Use a short summary at the top combined with links to allow the reader to choose whether the summary is enough, or if he or she wants to dig deeper through the link.

Link outwardly to other pages to establish credibility. I've done this.
Don't bring them to another site's home page, but somewhere more relatable to your own page.

Through supplementary description and context, make clear what the user will get from the link.
These tools are called lures or invitations.

Help people skip clicking -- give enough info to allow the user to know where the link will lead them.
Write Links that don't have to be followed -- don't waste the reader's time.

Match the link text that someone clicks on with the title of the resulting page.

Make the link the emphatic element in a sentence.
Trim unimportant information at the end. Move the most important information to the end of the sentence or paragraph, and less important information towards the left or beginning.

Write as if you are not using links. Often, you will incidentally have some hot text able to be linked. This is true for my blog. I hardly even consider what I will link until my article is completely written.

Write URLs that are human readable. True! It always sucks when you have to copy and paste URLs to someone, rather than simply telling them what it is.
Use dots to separate words when needed, not hyphens or underscores. Makes sense. People use periods much more often.

Write meta-tags explaining what content will be found on your page.

Provide different colors for visited and unvisited links. This has saved me many hours or research.

Links should be descriptive, unique, and start with key words. This helps readers scan more effectively.

Shortcut Links: provide quick access from the home page to important nodes located deeper in the hierarchy.

Systematic Secondary Links: connect a group of closely related nodes.

Associational Links: indicate a special relationship between two nodes.

Outbound Links: bring the reader to a different site to establish credibility of your own.

Navigational Links: Connect pages within a site

Hypertext Links: offer parenthetical material, footnotes, digressions, or parallel themes that the author believes will enrich the main content of the page.

Links attract the readers' eyes. They are usually made up of blue underlined text. The change in text signifies to the readers that this text is special, and they may want to look further into it.

Weinberger: Morality is an infrastructure of connection in which we allow ourselves to care about how the world matters to others. That is formally the same as a description of the linked structure of the Web.
When we provide links, it acts as a predictive favor to our readers, suggesting a possible useful tool of navigation. I didn't understand Weinberger's "morality" argument at all until I reached this sentence.

Links are cryptic and confusing

Too many links in a block of text can disrupt the flow of reading it. I can relate to this. There have been many times where I have read something online but left the page because I got lost in all the links.
Keep links out of the way, towards the beginning or end of the paragraph.

Links can break if a webpage is deleted or the URL is changed.

Links to download commands can be cumbersome. Tell the reader beforehand how big and what type the file is. Very important. There's nothing worse than when I accidentally download something I don't need, and I'm stuck waiting for it to get done just so I can delete it.

Embedded hypertext links can alter the context of information by dumping the users into unfamiliar territory.

If written poorly, links may draw the eyes of the reader from something important to something irrelevant.
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