The internet is a vast and glorious web of information that traverses the globe, the internet is also a convoluted and confusing web of information that traverses the globe.
While the internet is undoubtedly the greatest invention of our modern time, it is so big that it is a bit difficult to navigate, even with the aid of search engines.
As such, when a business or a website releases an article, they may want to reference information in said article, so that readers can trace it back to the source that the writer found it from.
This is where hyperlinks come into play and without them, we would have to go through a whole series of loops just to get any information on the web at all.
But what are hyperlinks? And how do you use them? Today, we seek to explain hyperlinks away and give you the tools to use them for yourself.
A hyperlink, sometimes referred to as simply a link, is a reference to other data outside of the article or place where you found it.
By clicking on the hyperlink, you are then directed to the webpage where the previously said data is.
Hyperlinks can direct you to a whole page, starting at the very top, or just the part of the page that the link is referencing.
For example, if a hyperlink is referencing a recipe, then it may direct you to the top of the page, so you can look up the whole recipe.
However, if the hyperlink is to a Wikipedia article, it may just take you to the section it references, instead of forcing you to read the whole article.
While the link itself is on the page that references the content, there is an anchor text on the page that is being referenced.
This anchor text basically sets itself as a fixed position for the hyperlink to follow, as such, avoiding confusing or irritating side treks.
To do this, hyperlinks use a ‘hypertext system’ that is individual software for using and creating hyperlinks, independent of other software systems.
Using this software, you can create, implement, and use hyperlinks without the worry of going down the wrong pathway.
It may seem like there are only a couple of uses for hyperlinks: connecting web pages through text, and in a way you are right. This is the main purpose of a hyperlink.
Yet, hyperlinks are incredibly important and even though their purpose is limited, it makes it much easier to do several bigger tasks.
Most webpages you will see are filled with dozens, if not, tens of hyperlinks.
Everything that you dictate online could be subject to plagiarism, which is basically copying someone else’s work without crediting them, and the easiest way to combat this is through hyperlinks.
Let’s say, you write an article on the Peloponnesian war and use Wikipedia as a source – Wikipedia isn’t ever going to follow up on plagiarism claims, but it is a website everyone knows – you would need to reference them at the bottom.
It is much easier to put the reference as a hyperlink than write it out.
This is because the reader can then click on the hyperlink and go straight to the source for themselves, rather than having to go through the hassle of typing in the link.
Another use of hyperlinks is to link to things you are trying to sell or talk about.
If you are writing articles on perfumes you like, it is much easier to put a hyperlink to the perfume for the reader than trying to find it otherwise.
Even search engines use hyperlinks as their main point of search. If you search for something on Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, or Ecosia, then every single result will be a hyperlink to another page.
If it weren’t for hyperlinks, search engines wouldn’t exist at all.
So, hyperlinks all perform one function, being a link to different web pages through text, but if it wasn’t for them, we would still be typing out full ‘https://’ style into the search bar every time we went online, like in the early 2000s.
A hyperlink is normally a phrase that is colored blue (if it has never been used) or red (if it has been used before) with a line under it.
If you hover your mouse pointer over the hyperlink, a small web address will appear, showing you where it will take you.
To use the hyperlink, simply click on the underlined blue or red text. Once clicked upon, the webpage connected to the hyperlink will open.
If you went to the website by accident, or it isn’t what you wanted, then either clicking backspace on the keyboard or undo in the top left corner of the webpage will take you back to your original page.
To make a hyperlink in word or Google document type processors, it is quite easy.
You just copy the URL of the webpage you want to link (right click + copy), then go to your Word document and highlight the text you want it to connect to.
Once highlighted, right-click on the mouse, select link, and then the webpage that you copied should appear on the right. Click that and the text is hyperlinked.
For web editors, text editing apps, and e-mail clients, it’s a little trickier. Most have a built-in way to do this, but you have to find it first. For most, it goes like this.
Copy the URL of the webpage as before and go into the editor and highlight the text you want to hyperlink it to.
Once highlighted, go to the bottom of your editor and click the ‘Insert Link’ button or Ctrl + K. A popup will then appear asking what you want to link the text to.
Paste the URL you copied and voile, you have hyperlinked something in your editor.
Hyperlinks are the cornerstone of the internet, and without them, we would not be able to explore the web as easily or as freely as we can.