When adding links to your WordPress site, the best practice is to open external links in a new tab. Why? Well you’re directing people away from your site never to return again. However, if you have the link open in a new tab (or window), once they’re done, your site will still be open and waiting for them. You want them to come back and keep clicking, don’t you?
I thought so.
Now there are a few different methods you can use to open your external links in a new tab, depending on where on your site they’re located.
In this post, I’m going to show you:
- How to open WordPress navigation links in a new tab
- How to open links in posts/pages in a new tab via the visual editor
- How to use HTML to open links in a new tab
- How to open all external links in a new tab
If you have a custom link in one of your WordPress menus, you can allow it to open in a new tab by doing the following:
Go to Appearance > Menus, select the menu and then click on the menu item in question, Do you see a checkbox labeled “open link in new tab?” If so, great! Click it then save your changes.
Now odds are you won’t see this little checkbox so we have to enable it. To do so, scroll up to the top of the page. See the tab titled “screen options” in the upper right corner of your screen? Click on it and a panel will open. Look for the “link target” box and check it. If you scroll down to your menu, the checkbox for opening the menu item in a new tab should have appeared. Check it, and you’re good to go!
Sidenote: Once you enable this option, you shouldn’t have to enable it again. It’ll automatically be there whenever you go to add a new link to your menu.
As far as links in posts and pages go, opening a link in a new tab is pretty straightforward. In the visual editor, highlight the text you want to turn into a link. Enter the link into the link field and then click on the cog wheel. The link panel will appear. Check the box labeled “open link in a new tab.”
Now if you’re a fan of the text editor or if you’d rather go in and manually make a link open in a new tab, add
target="_blank" to your link, like so:
In addition to working in your posts and pages, this will probably be your go to method for links in other areas of your site, such as text widgets, custom fields, or pretty much any where you can’t access the visual editor.
Now that you know how to set your external links to open in a new tab, what about all those other links in post archives? Do you really have time to check and edit each and every link? I’m guessing that’d be a no.
Luckily there’s a plugin available that will automatically open all external links in a new tab. No more going back and editing links. No more trying to remember to set it up in the first place. Simply install the plugin and you’re good to go!
Here’s how to set it up:
Go to Plugins > Add New. Search for “Open external links in a new window.” It should be the first search result (hint: it’s this one). Click install now then activate plugin. That’s it! Your external links should now automatically open in a new tab when clicked.
There you have it: how to open external links in a new tab. I just want to mention that while you may want to go crazy and set each and every link on your blog to open in a new tab, that’s only going to annoy your readers. Keep it only to links that take people away from your website.