Are You Sending Your Visitors Away?

Β are you sending your visitors awayAre You Sending Your Visitors Away?

One of the main things that all we all want is traffic. After putting all your hard work (and sometimes money) into getting visitors to your website, you would have to be a complete loon to want to send them away, right? Well, I’m sure that none of us actually WANT to send our visitors away, but are you doing it without intending to?

Think of Your Links

I’ve visited many, many blogs and the majority of them are very well designed and are clearly doing their job well. But sometimes, I’ve come across a little issue with certain blogs regarding their outgoing links.

Now, if you have any ads or affiliate links on your blog you’re hopeful that people will click on them, visit the site or offer you’re linking to and that this will result in your making some money. Of course, this makes good sense and it definitely works. But at what cost?

Let’s imagine that you have a promotional banner or link on your blog and one of your visitors clicks on it. How does he/she get to the destination? I’ve made two demonstration pages to illustrate the point. Here’s where my post gets all interactive and gets you involved….!

First, I want you to click the link below. When you arrive at your destination, just click on the link that you find there and then we’ll continue:

Please click this link to be taken to the first demonstration page

Okay, good. Did you notice how you got there? You left this page and went straight to the linked one. Now, imagine if that had been a promotional link on your site. What would have happened? In order for your visitor to reach the destination, they would have had to actually leave your site. Now, I’m going to give you another link. See if you can spot the difference between how you reached the page via the previous example and how you get there by clicking on this one:

Please click this link to be taken to the second demonstration page

Β Great! So, did you spot the difference? That’s right, the second link took you to the page by opening up a new tab or window (depending on your browser configuration).

What’s the Difference?

So, why should you care about whether your visitors reach the destination in the existing window or in a new one? This simple infographic highlights your three, basic types of visitor and what objective you should have for all of them:

are you sending your visitors away

Yes, you want to keep your visitors on your website. Let’s take each of those three examples and compare how their behaviour could differ greatly according to whether or not they’ve left your site:

  1. Joe stumbles across your site. He isn’t blown away by your content, but he’s curious by one of your banners so he clicks on it. He isn’t interested in the offer that he’s clicked on so he leaves the page and that is possibly the last you ever see of him.
  2. Sarah visits your site and likes what she sees. Perhaps she’s even visited before. She reads your content and totally relates to it, finding it interesting, helpful and informative. She decides to click on one of your banners to see what you’re promoting and likes the look of the offer. For whatever reason, though, she doesn’t buy so she leaves the page and goes elsewhere .
  3. Brian stops by your site. Perhaps he’s a previous visitor, perhaps not. Either way, he’s interested by one of your banners so he clicks on it, likes what he sees and buys the product. He leaves the page and goes elsewhere.

No matter whether or not they buy through your link, the end result is the same in each case – they all end up leaving your site. Now whilst it’s true that they could come straight back or return another day, there’s a big chance that they won’t, especially if it’s a first, fleeting visit. Do you have a high bounce rate? This won’t help!

If someone wants to leave then they’ll leave no matter what you do, but you don’t want to help them along! You want to keep people on your site for as long as possible. There are lots of ways that you can encourage people to stay on your site, but by having your outgoing links open in a new tab/window, you are allowing your visitors to check out what you’re sending them to while keeping them on your site. They are much more likely to check out further content on your site if it’s still there waiting for them after they’ve checked out your link than they would be if they’ve left your site all together.

So, how is this done?

Are You Drawing a Blank?

are you sending your visitors awayOkay, so unless you already know how this is done, you may well be drawing a blank as to how to do it. But a blank is exactly what you want! No, not on the sense of being unable to find the answer, but rather as a piece of HTML code. Now don’t panic, I’m going to show you how to do this.

The most straightforward way to open a link in a new tab/window is if you’re using a WYSIWYG editor. Usually this type of editor will include a little icon that looks like the link from a chain. This is your hyperlink button. What you would normally do is highlight the text or object that you wish to use as a hyperlink and then click on the button. This normally brings up a little window where you enter the URL of the link. But also there is usually an option to select how you wish the link to open. In this case, you would want to ensure that you select it to open in a new tab or window. And that should be that. Simple, huh?

The other way is a little more technical but it’s very straightforward and I will show you some example of the code now.

In the first example link above, the HTML code looks like this:

<a title=”Demonstration Page 1″ href=”″>Please click this link to be taken to the first demonstration page</a>

This is just a basic hyperlink that, when clicked, uses the existing window to take the visitor to the destination URL. In order to make the hyperlink open a new tab/window you need this extra little bit of code:


That really is all there is to it! So in the second example link above, the HTML code looks like this:

<a title=”Demonstration Page 2″ href=”″ target=”_blank”>Please click this link to be taken to the second demonstration page</a>

Notice that the target=”_blank” instruction is placed just after the destination URL. Make sure that you leave a space between the URL and the target=”_blank” instruction.

What if you want to do the same thing with a picture, for example, a banner ad? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. It’s exactly the same instruction: target=”_blank”. So if you wanted to have a new tab/window open up when you click on button then you would do exactly the same as before, putting target=”_blank” straight after the destination URL.

So remember, you want to keep your visitors on your site for as long as possible. Not only does this help to keep your bounce rate down but it gives them the opportunity to check out more content, subscribe or click on further links that they likely wouldn’t have done if they’d have left when they clicked on your hyperlink.

*Note: The exception would be when internal linking to other pages on the same site, e.g. when linking to other posts on your blog. You want to make navigation around your blog easy and having all your internal links opening up in new tabs/windows each time makes things cluttered, confusing and annoying! So just think of it this way: internal links = no. Outgoing links = yes.

I hope that you have found this post useful. What other techniques do you use to encourage people to remain on your site? Please leave your tips in the comments section below. And don’t forget to rate and subscribe! πŸ™‚




Please follow and like us:
Pin Share

32 thoughts on “Are You Sending Your Visitors Away?”

  1. This is actually a big mistake I’ve noticed on many blogs, even ones that I thought the blogger should know better. For me, apart for internal links every other link on the site opens a new window. When I’m adding an affiliate code I always check if the link opens on the same page or not. If that is what it does, I simply add target=”_blank” to it.

    1. Hey Chadrack,

      Yes indeed, there are many bloggers who you’d expect to know better who end up making mistakes such as this.

      I do the same as you and make sure that all external links always open in a new tab/window. One thing I have implemented since I wrote this post is actually making ALL links open in new tabs, including internal links. The reason for this is that, even further than wanting to keep people on my site, when they land on a page I want to keep them there. Sure, I want them to explore elsewhere on my site but I don’t really want them to do that right in the middle of reading the current post, especially if I have a specific call-to-action that I hope they’ll follow.

      By also making internal links open in new tabs then I’m giving my readers the choice of exploring those other specific areas on my site but, at the same time, keeping them on the original post.

      Thanks very much for your comment, Chadrack.

      Glenn Shepherd recently posted…One Thing You Should Know About Joint VenturesMy Profile

  2. Christopher James

    Hopefully I’m not as I always make sure to offer quality content and build reader engagement.

    1. Hi Christopher,

      That’s awesome! So many people neglect that and then wonder why they struggle. But don’t forget – you want to KEEP people on your site. You could have the best content on the world but if someone, for example, clicks on an ad and leaves your site, there’s a chance that they may forget to return or simply not get around to doing so. On the other hand, you ensure that you links open up in a new tab or window then your visitors are free to visit the linked site but at the same time they’re remaining on your site πŸ™‚

      Keep on offering great content and building that engagement in all that you do.

      Glenn Shepherd recently posted…Get My Brand New, Free E-Book!My Profile

  3. Barbara Charles

    Hi Glenn,
    Just came across this article while visiting your blog. Great info and something I need to re-read. I’m familiar with html but feel I’m missing something here to implement. Need to read again so I guess you accomplished your task (of keeping me on the website) πŸ™‚

    Great post.

  4. Jeevan Jacob John

    Hey Glenn,

    As a blogger always make sure that I open links on new tab, but that may not be the case for my readers.

    Great tutorial here πŸ™‚ What you mentioned is an essential tool that we must all use.

    As for other tips, adding related posts widget to the blog is a good way to keep visitors on the blog. But, above all what matters is the content – if the readers are interested, they will stay (so we must also try to avoid distractions for our readers; our sidebars for instance, can act as great distractions. I have tested this out on my old blog, removed my sidebars and it had a good effect on my audience :D).

    Anyways, thank you for the tip!

    1. Hi Jeevan,

      Yep, “Content is king”, as they say. If your content isn’t up to scratch then it’s not going to matter much at all what the rest of your site is like.

      Many thanks for stopping by and contributing your thoughts πŸ™‚

      Glenn Shepherd recently posted…Your Business Needs YOU!My Profile

  5. Good post there. I think many people do all the hard work of creating unique and informative content, drive traffic through various sources and then place some ads on their websites hoping that the visitors click on that and make them some pennies through adsense. Although, this business model has worked for many people in the past, it is never a good business model. A successful businessman will try to retain his visitors and then offer them good and valuable information to build trust and relationship. A time will come when the subscribers themselves ask for some recommendations from the owner. I am striving to reach that level.

    Good post. Thanks.
    Neeraj Kulkarni recently posted…10 Must-Haves For Affiliate MarketersMy Profile

    1. Hi Neeraj,

      You’re absolutely right. Of course, all those things you mentioned can be profitable and important, but retaining your visitors and building that relationship with them is essential.

      I’m sure you will reach that level, Neeraj. You already have the correct attitude so you’re well on your way! πŸ™‚

      Thanks for visiting and contributing, I appreciate your input.

      Kind regards,
      Glenn Shepherd recently posted…You Have the Knowledge!My Profile

  6. Hi Glen,

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I find so frustrating when I’m reading a post or promotion and click a link only to leave the site, it’s even more frustrating that the link is near the top and I’m taken away from the rest of the content.

    You know the thing Glen, you’re reading a post and they link another one for further info, I like to open the page to read ONCE I’ve finished reading the one I’m on.

    It happens so much now that I right click every link and open in new tab and continue reading.

    I create all of my links to open on new page, even internal links (for reasons mentioned above).

    In my opinion it’s the only way to go πŸ™‚

    Thanks Glen,
    Barry Wells recently posted…The Money Is In The ListMy Profile

    1. Hey Barry,

      Great to see you again, thanks for visiting πŸ™‚

      I’ve got into the habit of doing exactly the same thing, right-clicking (or CTRL+left-click) to make sure the link opens in a new tab because I don’t trust the link to not drag me away from where I am.

      Thanks so much for your comment, it’s much appreciated πŸ™‚

      Glenn Shepherd recently posted…You Have the Knowledge!My Profile

  7. Thank you Glenn for that post, I always try to have external links open in a new tab/window, which as you explained is easy enough when using text links, however, I never new how to open links in a new tab/window when using images. Thanks a great help. Thanks again.

    Best regards

    John recently posted…There are only 2 ways to get traffic to your sites!My Profile

  8. My man Glenn that was a great post. You have definitely taught me something about how to keep my visitors on my site for sure. I have utilized in the internal linking within my site before but never thought about his when we are sharing additional resources that there is a way to keep them on your site.

    That was an eye opener for sure for me bro. By the way, you do did a super job with the graphics demonstration too.

    Jerry Handy recently posted…Finally, got some much needed family time!My Profile

  9. Glenn, I wrote a similar post a while ago about having affiliate & other banners on the thank you page of your squeeze/ sales page funnel open in a new window.

    If you don’t do that then, when your subscriber clicks on a banner, they may not be able to find their way back to your download/thank you page where you have more affiliate banners that you want them to click on.

    By the way I love your graphics. Did you create them yourself?

    Sandy Halliday recently posted…How To Get More Traffic To Your Blog With These Blog Promotion TipsMy Profile

    1. Hi Sandy,

      Thanks for bringing that out, it’s such an important point to remember.

      Yes and no regarding the graphics. I didn’t create them from scratch but I customised them myself. The cartoon style graphics were made in The Logo Creator from Laughing Bird Software and the infographic was made using the Infographic Templates Collection by Brad Gosse. I’m glad you like them. The infographic was my first attempt at doing one πŸ™‚

      Thanks for your visit and comment, they’re always appreciated.

      Glenn Shepherd recently posted…Latest UpdatesMy Profile

  10. Sherman Smith

    Hey Glenn,

    I couldn’t agree with you more. For the longest I couldn’t understand why my bounce rate stayed over 65% until I read a post on opening up a new window whenever a user clicks on a link on my post. This looks good on Google and it lowers your bounce rate since the original post stays open.

    Thanks for the value!

  11. Hi Glenn,

    Amazing post you did teach me some new steps and I do appreciate that I do enjoy your break down on the graphics.

    Glenn I do know it takes some time and patience in learning about vistors and to listen to comments and any ideas that they may provide towards their site. So Glenn thanks again and have a nice day.


  12. Boy do I ever agree with you on this one Glenn. I learned this lesson a very long time ago. When I’ve followed links that didn’t open to a new page, if I decided I wasn’t interested I would just close that tab totally forgetting that it wouldn’t take me back to their site. Their loss.

    I’ve even had some other very successful bloggers say to not put all your social information in your sidebar either because they’ll want to leave to go and connect with you there and once again, not come back. Okay great, so you’re connected with them now on Facebook but where would we prefer the conversations to take place? Our blogs of course.

    Great example here Glenn, thanks!

    Adrienne recently posted…How To Measure Your Blogs SuccessMy Profile

    1. Hi Adrienne,

      Yep, even your social media links should open up in new tabs/windows if at all possible. It’s all basic webmastery 101 really. It’s one of the first things I got into the habit of implementing when I built my very first sites way back in the 90’s!

      These days it’s so quick and easy to do without having to touch manual coding most of the time, yet so many people don’t do it. But like you say, it’s their loss. It’s a shame though, because they could be potentially losing out on so many sales, repeat visitors and subscribers when there’s really no need.

      Thanks for your valuable input, Adrienne πŸ™‚

      Glenn Shepherd recently posted…Five Tips for Taking ActionMy Profile

    2. Hi Adrienne,

      You make an excellent point about social media buttons. I’m considering removing mine from the top header. Paul Boag recommends not showing social media buttons at all until after your visitor has responded to a call to action. The logic is sound. ( ) He’s right… why would we send someone to another site until they’ve given us some way to keep in touch.

      – Cole
      Cole Wiebe recently posted…Blog Comments: Give to ReceiveMy Profile

      1. Hi Cole,

        Thanks for visiting and joining the discussion πŸ™‚

        I think social media buttons, just like anything, need to be implemented correctly. I would totally disagree with removing them altogether as I believe the benefits outweigh any possible drawbacks. But when placed, they must be placed for a purpose and, just like any other type of link, they should open in a new tab/window.

        I have all my social media buttons away from my main content (social media buttons, not sharing buttons – two different ball games). Most people, when first visiting a site, will head for the main content area. It’s usually only after they’ve had a look around when they’ll venture to the sides and then, perhaps, look for further ways of contacting/interacting with you or what else you have to offer.

        Thanks again for your visit πŸ™‚

        Kind regards,
        Glenn Shepherd recently posted…Four Figures in One Day! Why Not You?My Profile

  13. Hi Glenn !
    You’ve explained the logic very well !
    I’d to like a few points too .. Annoying advertisements that makes the user redirect to the advertisement page on visiting the page through the search engines can annoy visitors more than anything else .One more factor that can be responsible to drive the visitors away is difficult navigation of the website . Webmasters should always add a navigation bar to their websites/blog ..this would help a blog/website to get more page views too .Thanks for sharing the information Glenn .


    1. Hi Pramod,

      Nice to see you again, buddy, thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

      Those are good points, Pramod. I find it especially frustrating to land on a site that doesn’t have so much as a “Home” button. Good, logical navigation is a basic need for any site.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Pramod.

      Glenn Shepherd recently posted…Your Business Needs YOU!My Profile

    1. Hey Ashley,

      You’re right, it’s such a simple thing to do yet I’ve noticed so many people not doing it. There’s really no excuse when using something like WordPress because, as you pointed out, it’s a simple as ticking the box!

      Why people don’t do it may be that they just aren’t aware of it, don’t think if it or don’t care. Whichever the case it’s a good habit to get into doing.

      I do this on autopilot, so much so that I sometimes have to stop myself from automatically applying the technique to my internal links!

      Thanks for leaving your comment, buddy πŸ™‚

      Glenn Shepherd recently posted…You Have the Knowledge!My Profile

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge
Follow by Email
Visit Us
Follow Me