Tutorial 25: The Care and Feeding of Hyperlinks, Part I - HTML with Style | 3 | WebReference

Tutorial 25: The Care and Feeding of Hyperlinks, Part I - HTML with Style | 3

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Tutorial 25: The Care and Feeding of Hyperlinks, Part I

Raising the perfect link

A link can be specified in HTML using several methods: The LINK element, the A element, client-side image maps using the MAP element, and server-side image maps using the USEMAP attribute.

The first thing I'll make a point of mentioning is that you should avoid server-side image maps. The reasons were discussed in Tutorial 12 and do not bear repeating. Client-side image maps are easier to maintain, faster, and more accessible.

Another problem with server-side image maps is that search engines don't understand them. I've made a point of the fact that designing for search engines is a very important factor when making a Web page, and creating links that are visible to these engines is very important.

This argument also applies when considering other means of linking. JavaScript scripts, Java applets, Flash animations, and other such gimmickry all offer a way to create hyperlinks in your documents. However, you must bear in mind that a search engine robot crawling your site will be unable to find these links and follow them.

By this statement I do not mean to discourage you from using these technologies for providing navigation on your site. As we'll see later on, several of these offer very useful ways to make navigation better. However, you must always make sure that the use of these technologies supplements links that are visible in plain old HTML. As an example, you could use the contents of the APPLET element to provide vanilla text links, while the applet itself could offer a more sophisticated navigation tool. If you're using a DHTML technique such as DHTML Lab's Hierarchical Menus, you could use scripting to hide the default navigation links and display the menus instead if the browser supports them.

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Produced by Stephanos Piperoglou
Created: September 27, 2000
Revised: October 4, 2000