Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Verify Your Links!

BlogTipsBasilWhen you link to another site in one of your posts, you need to ensure you have a proper link.

By that, I mean you need to make sure you have the protocol specified, the domain name, and the specific page (if not the default "home" page of the site) that you're linking.

For example, let's say you want to link to a post that Harvey wrote over at Bad Example. Let's say his post about identity theft. Here's the full link:

Your link needs to contain all of that. If you want to link to Harvey's home page, you can link to

A specific page isn't necessary, because you're linking to the "home" page. The server tries to feed the home page to you if you don't specify a page.

But what if you decide to save seven keystrokes and leave off the http:// part? Well, you'll likely have problems.

Let's take Harvey's identity theft post. Remember, the full URL is (if you look at the code for this post, you'll see that this full link is coded as:
<a target="_blank"href=""> </a>).

Only, we're just going to use (if you look at the code for this post, you'll see that this full link is coded as:
<a target="_blank"href=""> </a>).

Go ahead and click each one. They'll open in a new window.

You'll see that the link that had the 'http://' in it opened the page. The second link (without the 'http://') would normally say "Page not found" (it doesn't, because 'not found' pages are directed to the home page on this blog; most site display a 'not found' message; see the Alliance HQ version of this post).

"Why is that?" you ask.

Well, that's simply the Web standard. If a protocol (such as 'http' which means Hyper Text Transfer Protocol; it's geek-speak for 'it's a Web page') is not specified, the assumption is that it's on the same server, relative to the local page.

What that means is, if you're on the front page of this site, then the "bad example" (so to speak) link (the one without the 'http' part) assumes you're referring to a page or directory (or folder, to you Windows types) on the current site, and that it has the full address of

Which doesn't exist.

If you include the protocol (the 'http' part), then it knows you're referring to a site. And you get the right page.

Why did they decide to make it this way? Well, there are all kinds of cool tricks you can use on Web sites because of this standard. They aren't used a lot on blogs. But here's a little secret: There's a lot more on the Internet than blogs.

Heresy, you say? Perhaps.

Still, that's the rules. And we got to abide by the rules.

So, if you find a post on another site that you want to link to (something that perhaps one of your favorite bloggers wrote) be sure your link is complete. That is, it has the 'http://' part.

It'll save you lots and lots of headaches.


  1. I'm Bouquet, You're Bouquet...

    |Posted at Don Surber and Basil's Blog....

  2. More than correct in this lesson! Frequently though, if it's a "hat tip" or something similar - I won't include the exact post because the entire "hat tip" site is one that people will enjoy reading. Probably just another one of my many weak techie points, although I more than not - add the post to any link! I like it when the person I'm linking to has "permalink" in their comment area. ;-) I expect 10 lashes if I do this - no doubt while in a hurry someday - I will - I promise! ;-D

    It IS frustrating when you go to a site for a specific reason leaving someone link and the information is nowhere to be found. Sometimes, even a search after you arrive at the link you can't find the info.


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