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Hyperlinking rules and conventions

Rebecca Giles -

Hyperlinks are a fundamental element of any web page. They create paths for audiences to travel, not only across our website, but the entire World Wide Web. Hyperlinking is an important part of writing for the web and should be added in your copy wherever appropriate.

There are however, a few rules and conventions to follow. Download the attached PDF for more comprehensive information on:

  • What should be hyperlinked
  • Using contextual hyperlinks
  • What text should be linked
  • Opening links in new windows
  • Punctuation rules for hyperlinking

Instructions on how to create hyperlinks are also found on the Web Support Portal. 




What should be hyperlinked? 

Hyperlinking is all about considering what information your audience is looking for and helping them to find it. If your audience may want to seek further information, based on what you have written, then you should provide them with a link to the relevant information.

Using contextual hyperlinks

Placing your hyperlinks in context, i.e. linking to something meaningful within your copy, has two main functions. The first is that it assists audiences in understanding what type of information, or where, they are being directed to. Secondly, using contextual links will make your copy easier to read, as well as help to create more seamless and effective transitions between web pages. Making the entire website more functional and facilitating a better user experience.

AVOID: “Click here to…” Your audience already knows how hyperlinks work.

What text should be linked? 

Try to keep links brief but descriptive. The words you select can make a real difference. 

When hyperlinking to new sites or documents, highlight the entire title of the site or document (including acronyms) you are linking to.

Example: Home to the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER), the most comprehensive facility of its kind in Australia.  

When linking PDFs, Word Documents or similar files, the entire title of the document as well as the PDF notification should be selected.

Example: How to create a hyperlink (PDF, 23KB)

PDF, DOC and KB, MB abbreviations should always be capitalised and should always be included. It is important for users to know what kind of file they are downloading as well as how large the file is. 

Opening Links in a new window

All external sites should open in the same window. Opening links in a new window is not good for accessibility. If users wish to return to your site they will use the back button (the second most used feature on the web after hyperlinks).

PDFs and Word documents are an exception to this rule. These should open in a new window and should contain the title ‘Opens new window’. 

Punctuation rules for hyperlinking

Never include ending punctuation in a hyperlink, i.e. commas and full stops.


Download the attached PDF for more comprehensive information. 

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