Learn to Link or Die


I’ve held my peace for as long as I can, but there will be no more silence on this critical issue of the day. Here is the bottom line: you need to learn to make a link or you should fall into the grave early.

There is no getting by in life without this skill. It is a bloody outrage that people continue not to know how to do this. And yet it happens all the time. Very intelligent people who are not actually in fact dead get on blogs and forums and paste URLs hoping that they will send people to a particular website but they don’t know how to make it active so that someone else can actually click it and go to that website.

Then the administrator of the forum or blog has to go in and fix it, wasting his time. You have tried to help but in fact you are only leaving a path of annoyance everywhere you go.

It’s nothing short of incredible if you think about it. In 1995, you can sort of understand the ignorance.

“Why should I learn to make a link. I’ll leave that to the ‘webmaster’. I’m a ________ (fill in the blank) not an internet geek. It’s not my job.”

It’s been 13 years — nearly a decade and a half — since linking has been part of the functioning of the world and part of daily life generally. There are no excuses left.

Every person who lives and breathes and has use of his or her mental facilities should know how to create a web link. This is increasingly the bare minimum requirement of nearly every desk job on the planet.

I was present at a job interview recently in which the interviewer asked the job candidate: “Can you explain to me how to create a web link.”

Answer: “Well, you look for the text in blue and you click on it.”

Interviewer: “What I mean is that you are called upon to make a link active on a blog or webpage, either to go to a webpage or send an email. Can you tell me the code that you need to write?”

Answer: “To send an email, you type the address in the window in the area that says ‘To:’ You can put a link in the email.”

Okay, so it became rather clear that we have a problem here. And this is even true of some young people out of college, which is an astounding thing and doesn’t speak very well of the person at all. It doesn’t matter that the person is not being hired for a “tech job.” All desk jobs are tech jobs now.

In any case, look, learning to make a link takes you only a few seconds. Learn now!

All links start with a “less than” caret: <. They end with a “greater than” caret: >. In between we have the link itself. So the syntax runs this way: a for anchor, href for the signal that a link is coming, with a quote mark to designate the actual thing. All open things must be closed, so close your quote mark and close your caret.

<A href=””>

Now you need to decide what text your want to display. Let’s say you want the reader to see the words: great website. You next type those words, followed with a new open caret to close the anchor: </a>

Putting it all together, it should read

<A href=””>great website</a>

That’s the link. You do this enough and it becomes second nature. If you forget, you can go here.

Now that link you didn’t click was created using Word from the Microsoft Office suite. Working in Word, highlight the word or words you want to link, go to Insert, then Hyperlink. Then paste the link and hit enter. If you submit an article, you should just send in the article with these types of embedded links.

Many blogging tools offer what is called a Rich Text Editor. Here you need to look for a button that has an image of a chain. What does this do? It writes the code for you. If you look at the raw code, it will end up looking exactly like what I typed above.

The code above works for websites, images, sound files, or whatever.

If you want to make a mail link, you follow the same format but instead of http:// you use mailto:

If you are still reading, and you think, aw I don’t need to know this stuff, you are just plain wrong. You have to know this stuff. If you don’t in our age, it is really like not knowing your ABCs or not knowing how to use a knife and fork.

Many people have hoped to wait for some conditions under which they won’t have to learn these things. But it’s been 13 years and that time has yet to arrive. Even if the rich text editor does it for you, you still might have to fix the code or make corrections or something. It is still essential for living a normal life in these times.

I’m sorry to be the bearer of this news but, believe me, it is essential for your well-being. This is especially true for anyone with a desk job. Learn now. Don’t put it off another day. Or you can always make the choice to check out of the stream of life altogether.

Jeffrey Tucker [send him mail] is editorial vice president of

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