How to Open WordPress Menu Link in New Window

There’s a little known button concealed in the screen options menu that will allow you to have your links open in a new browser window.

Standard web practice is NOT to have links open in new windows as it is thought that in the end there would be to many windows open which will inconvenience the user.

It’s acceptable to have some external links, like social media open in new windows. Also links to documents like PDF’s is good practice to open in a new window.

So where is this mysterious function? Start by navigating to Appearance > Menus in the admin menu of your WordPress site.

Step 1

appearance-menus

1. Navigate to Appearance and click on Menus


Step 2
screen-options

2. Look up to the top right corner and click on the Screen Options tab


Step 3
show-on-screen

3. Check the box next to Link Target by clicking on it


Step 4
menu-item

4. Click on the menu item that you want to open in a new window and check the box next to “open link in a new window/tab”

It’s always easy when you know where things are.

Quick Steps to Create & Link NextGen Gallery

These three quick step lists should help you remember how to do the common tasks required to create and link NextGen Gallery.

Create and link a gallery to a page

  1. Create the gallery and upload your images
  2. Inside the gallery’s top task pane click the button that says add page.
  3. Go to Appearance > Menus and add the new page to the menu and save.

If you want the new gallery to also appear in the album

  1. Go to Gallery > Album
  2. Select the album from the drop down menu
  3. Drag and drop the new gallery into the album and save.

If you want to add a gallery to an existing page or post

  1. Open the page or post in the editor
  2. Place your cursor in the editor where you want the galley to appear
  3. Using the “Add Gallery” icon on the top row in the editor select the gallery you want from the drop down menu and insert, then update your page.

How to Copy and Paste a Link

You will find many uses for it so I am going to show you How to Copy and Paste a Link URL.

First it would be handy to know some internet lingo, specifically URL. URL is an acronym for uniform resource locator which is basically a web address. So when I say copy and paste the URL you now know it’s the web address.

Where to find the URL

All pages on the internet have a unique URL which can be found in the address bar of the web browser.

Browser Address Bar in Chrome
Browser Address Bar in Chrome

How to copy a URL

1. Navigate to the page you want and copy the URL by highlighting it all with your mouse, right-click and copy. It is now copied to your clipboard.

browser address bar copy

2. Now navigate to where you want to paste the URL and right-click and paste.

It is important to know that pasting a URL does not automatically add a hyperlink to it.  Nor should you be using a URL as the link text for a hyperlink. This is because most URL’s are not pretty and don’t have meaning. Read more about meaningful hyperlinks here.

Pasting a URL on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter will dynamically turn the URL into a hyperlink. That’s unique to them.

Now that you know where and what a URL is you’ll be able to copy and paste it in all sorts of places.  I’m now going to copy the URL of this page and paste it into Facebook, you can too.

Reasons to write blog excerpts

When you write blog excerpts you provide your readers a straight to the point summary and a reason to click-through to read the full post.

1. Write Blog Excerpts So They Appear On Archives

If your WordPress theme is set up to use excerpts you can craft a few sentences that will provide readers a snippet of what the post is about.

The problem with having a theme setup to use excerpts but then not write one, is that all the paragraphs run together when the excerpt is displayed. That’s because WordPress will grab the first 240 characters or so from your blog post and use it as an excerpt if none is available.

  • excerpts appear in category archives and search results
  • write blog excerpts to influence your readers to click-through
  • make searching and scanning easier for readers

Below is an example from this blog where I have used some HTML to format the excerpt and provide a to the point summary on what the post is about.

excerpt
In this example I used HTML in my excerpt to create paragraphs and line breaks

2. A well crafted excerpt can also be your meta description

An excerpt can be longer than a meta description so be careful what you write. The first 140 characters is all that will show in search engine results, making your first sentence the most important.

Where to write blog excerpts

excerpt-dialogue-box

To add an excerpt use the “Excerpt” dialogue box under the editor in WordPress. A sentence or two is fine and you can use HTML in the excerpt to make it readable.

The difference between a Meta Description and an Excerpt

If you write a meta description it will become the excerpt when sharing on Facebook or LinkedIn, not your excerpt. If you don’t write a meta description or an excerpt the first few sentences from the post are used and it all runs together with no styling.

excerpt-applied
Excerpt and meta description from my Open Book series page as it appears when shared on Facebook

The excerpt will appear with a thumbnail image along with the title and a link to the rest of the article.

It is good practice to write blog excerpts, it will help you focus and stay on topic when writing the full post. An excerpt can be used as the basis to write a meta description and will help your readers find what they are looking for faster. For these reasons what you write for your excerpt is important.

Create meaningful hyperlinks

Best practices to create meaningful hyperlinks and links to PDFs

By using appropriate link text you will create meaningful hyperlinks to internal and external web pages. Use these guidelines for linking to non-web documents such as PDF’s and email addresses.

Create meaningful hyperlinks

create-meaningful-hyperlinks
This is NOT a meaningful hyperlink
  • Links should describe what users can expect to find when they click on the link.
  • Use short, concise link titles. Links should not exceed 60 characters.
  • Avoid using “click here.” Visually impaired visitors often use auditory browsers, which will read the text aloud rather than display it visually so the link should have meaning when read out of context.
  • Do not use URLs as link text. Not only can URL’s from other sites be long, they can be difficult to read.

Text you can use to create a link title:

  • The name of the site the link leads to (if different from the current site).
  • Details about the information on the linked page and how it relates to the context of the current page. For example: to view the tutorial on creating links, see Artbiz’s WordPress tutorials.
  • A specific action, such as “Sign up for my newsletter”

Internal and external links

An internal link is any page that exists on your website.

An external link is any web page that exists outside of your website.

Open web pages in the same browser window. Most people rely on their Back button to go back to where they were, they can become confused when it appears grayed out, so they close the browser entirely. For this reason, open web pages in same browser window.

PDFs and non-web documents – open in a new window

pdf
Visitors can become confused when links to non-web documents offer a different user experience than that of standard web pages.

Usability studies find that when people are finished viewing PDF files or other non-web documents, they clicked the window’s close box instead of the Back button. If the document wasn’t launched in a new window, they have left the site completely.

Guidelines for linking to non-web documents:

  • Open non-web documents in a new browser window.
  • Warn users in advance that a new window will appear.
  • Use the following format, only linking the document title to the file:
    • Sample Guideline Document (PDF – 16 kB) opens in new window
    • Application Form (DOC – 3 MB) opens in new window
  • To open files in a new window, select the ‘Open in new window’ option in the WordPress hyperlink dialogue box.
  • Keep file names under 20 characters

Email links

Outlook-Email-SetupEmail addresses should be spelled out and hyperlinked when they are to open an email client. Clicking an email link and having a new page open with a form is misleading. Make it clear the link is an email link. For example:

If you want to direct people to your contact information contained on a contact page, tell them so. For example:

In conclusion:
By using the appropriate text to create meaningful hyperlinks visitors will understand what information the hyperlink may contain. Links that do what visitors expect them to do will increase the usability of your website.

This is the fourth of 4 articles dedicated to writing good content. To read the others follow these links:
Web Page Writing Tips
Scanning Web Pages
Using Web Page Heading Titles and Headlines

How to use Excerpts and Read More Tags

There are two ways to create summaries of blog posts; excerpts and read more tags. The results are quite different depending on the styling and coding of your WordPress theme. In this article I show visual examples of both and explain how to use Excerpts and Read More Tags

How the Read More Tag works

The Read More tag is added to the content at a place of your choosing. The tag is added in the visual editor of WordPress.

read-more-tag

Simply place your mouse cursor where you want the tag to appear and click the icon shown in the image above. Once inserted into the content it looks like the image below.

more-tag
Once inserted on the page it looks like this

Once the tag has been inserted it appears similar to the image below on the live site. When clicked the link takes the reader to the rest of the article.

read-more-tag
More tag linked to the rest of the article on the live site

What I like about the read more tag is that it maintains the post formatting, showing the full size feature image, the meta data and comment links at the bottom of the post.

The Read More tag is useful if you have long articles and your reading settings are set to show a number of posts on a page. This reduces the amount of scrolling and exposes your readers to more of your posts.

When using the read more tag it is important that the first few sentences provide the essence of the article because this will be what influences your readers to click-through.

How Excerpts Work

When you write blog excerpts for your posts you are providing your readers a teaser. These words can be quite different from the open sentences of the post.

If your WordPress theme is coded to use excerpts you can craft an excerpt otherwise use the Read More Tag as explained above.

The excerpt is a content summary, use this opportunity to influence your readers and give them a reason to click-through and read the entire article.

excerpt
Custom crafted excerpt

The excerpt will appear with a thumbnail rather than the full size image, along with the title and a link to the rest of the article, as shown in the image above.

Under the editor you’ll find the “excerpt” dialogue box. Write your excerpt here. You can use HTML to provide some styling to your excerpt.

excerpt-dialogue-box
The excerpt dialogue box is under the visual editor

Either way you chose to summarize your blog posts the important thing to remember is that it’s the opening sentence for the read more tag and the excerpt itself that are MOST IMPORTANT words. Chose your words wisely and you will have also created a meta description for search engines.

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