Using a hyperlink on your website

A hyperlink is a link between connected hypertext on a website. You click on a highlighted hyperlink for quick navigation to the connected hypertext.

This article looks at your website's outbound hyperlinks to a third party website and third party website inbound hyperlinks to yours.

Preferably you have set up an agreed relationship between the two websites which is transparent with business boundaries defined to protect corporate brands and valuable content published on the site(s).

A free hyperlink agreement template is available to E RADAR members.

5-step hyperlink action plan

Website Design, hyperlink

1: Get permission

Where an organisation wishes to link to a 3rd party website, permission should be obtained from the website’s legal owner. Failure to do so may result in liability. You could also check the copyright policies of the 3rd party website to check whether they address hyper-linking.

Action 2: Provide a written agreement

Otherwise, enter into a written agreement with the third party, signed and dated by both parties before creating links to their website. A short standard letter is one method. The agreement should specify the time period for which permission is granted, a description of the context/purposes for which the hyper-link will be used, the exact URL of linking and linked web pages, and should include appropriate exclusions and limitations of liability.

Action 3: Write a disclaimer

There should be an appropriate disclaimer posted near to the link which states that the organisation is not liable for any unlawful content posted upon the 3rd party’s website.

Action 4: Get written assurances

The organisation should also have a written assurance from the 3rd party website linked to, that the website does not contain defamatory, obscene or otherwise unlawful content.

Action 5: Don't deep-link

Deep linking is linking to a specific interior page or product on a 3rd party website that your visitor is interested in (as opposed to just linking to the home page of the website). Remember not to deep link without permission - the website to which you are deep-linking may lose revenue as a result of by-passing commercial pages.

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