The whole basis of the World Wide Web was the ability to navigate from one document to another via hypertext links so users could navigate from one thing to another. Since then things have evolved but the principle is still the same, be it website navigation, social media sharing or referencing other online resources, links are what hold the World Wide Web together.
In the modern World Wide Web there are actually a variety of ways we can link from one resource to another. In this post we will look at the main ways people link to other web pages and the benefits of each.
The most common and basic link is a text link, where a section of text has had code added to it so that if a user clicks on that text it will take them to another page. Often (but not always) you will be able to see text links because they will be styled differently to normal text. Using a different colour and/or an underline are common ways to identify a text link.
Like text links, image links have had code added to them so if a user clicks on the image it will take them to another page. You can see this in action on most websites if you click on the website logo. It is common practice for website developers to make the main logo return visitors to the home page.
While not technically a link as such, redirects are often used to where a visitor is going. You will often see this when a company has several domain names and has picked one to be the main domain name. Many .net or .co.uk domain names redirect visitors to their .com variant.
Many URL shortening services seen on the social media platform twitter (like t.co and bit.ly) utilise very short domain names alongside a database of redirects to allow users to link to content with long URLs using the least amount of characters.
Iframes take linking one step further by allowing a web page to pull in content from the page they are linking to. Like a square of glass you are actually viewing a web page through the page you are actually on.
This can be used as an extremely effective way of embedding content such as YouTube videos on your web page as there it removes the need for complex editing of code. Many businesses have come about with the sole purpose of creating features and plugins amateur webmasters can use which operate through iframes in exchange for a subscription fee.