An Easy to Fix Error Driving Traffic Away From Your Website

Have you ever had the experience where you are looking around a website, you click a link to find out more about a certain recipe, product or upcoming event – and then…. Huh?  What happened to the original website I was on?  How did I lose that website as an option?… What was their name?

Image of window with ivy and flowers.
Should you link to a “new window” or an “existing window”?

When adding a link to your website – watch for wording such as “open in this window/frame” or “open in a new window.”  Sometimes both choices are offered, sometimes only one is indicated and the other is considered the default.

A Link To Another Part of Your Website

These are great.  Links to a related blog post, your e-newsletter sign-up, upcoming events, a specific product or service are all wonderful ideas.  Allow these to open In the existing window.  They keep visitors clicking and lead visitors along the path of increased knowledge and to making a purchase.


Use these sparingly on your website.  Event posters with lots of graphics, downloadable forms or detailed documents are suited to being pdf’s.

Always have pdf’s open as a new window.  A pdf is usually a dead end so don’t drive traffic away and leave it there.

Make sure the key details or a summary of the document are included on the website itself.  For example, if it is an event poster make sure you note the event name, date, time, location, and contact info on the related web page as well as on the pdf.  If the pdf does not open for some reason visitors still have the key details.  Generally, it will also make it easier for search engines.

Links to Social Media

Your website is the foundation of your website presence so direct traffic to social media accounts using a new window.  After they connect with you and perhaps gotten lost reading updates (haven’t we all done it?)  ….. your website will still be open in their browser – inviting them to return and read more!

Links to Other Businesses or Organizations

Never open these in the same window.  If you do, once the link opens your website will disappear from their browser window.  Open these in a new window.

Carefully consider who you are sending traffic too.  How are you benefitting from listing this business or organization?  Are you a member of the association listed?  Does it add credibility to your business?  Do they send traffic to your website?

But they’re my friend! 

Sometimes a small group of business friends will include links to each other on their websites.

Unfortunately, links to other websites can drive traffic away from you, and distract your website visitor from focusing on you, your products and services.

A middle ground might be to remove your “Other great businesses” section and instead have your colleagues write a guest blog that you can post on your website.  Include a link at the bottom of the post to their website.  Make sure to provide them with a guest blog for their website as well!

If you are including a link to them, they should be including a link back to you.

At minimum, always have this link open in a new window.

So check it out!  Cruise your website and watch for links that should be updated.

Don’t have a lot of links on your website?  Look for spots to add them to encourage traffic to move around your website and keep visitors there longer.

Remember the ultimate goal is for your website visitors to learn more about you and move closer to making a purchase.

For more website advice check out Tips to Help You Get the Website You Need.

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