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Saturday, 18 June 2011

External Anchor Links - Simplified

Location: Newcastle, NSW. Australia. Newcastle NSW, Australia


It isn't always easy to follow instructions in my posts, if some of the terminology is not known, before hand. I guess I am guilty of presumption that a certain level of understanding is present. That's where I can go wrong, and for that, I am sorry.

A perfect example is with Anchor Links. The terminology seems simple enough to me, now, but it wasn't when I started blogging, back in 2005! Of course, I understood what an 'Anchor' was, and what a 'Trigger' was, but not in the frame of reference for Blogging. To make it even more confusing, are the alternatives with Anchors and Triggers - whether, or not, they are for 'Internal Anchor Links' or for 'External Anchor Links'.

In this post, I will try to simplify the case for External Anchor Links. So, what we need to do first, is explain what exactly an External Anchor Link really is. OK?

The W3Schools, states ...
"Definition and Usage

The <a> tag defines an anchor. An anchor can be used in two ways:

To create a link to another document, by using the href attribute
To create a bookmark inside a document, by using the name attribute
The a element is usually referred to as a link or a hyperlink.

The most important attribute of the a element is the href attribute, which indicates the link’s destination."


An External Anchor Link is a link from 'somewhere' else, to a specific point 'within' somewhere else. In Blogging parlance, it is a link from one blog to a 'key word, or phrase, or image' within another blog, or post. Naturally, you can't set an anchor in a blog to which you don't have access.

eg: This is an 'External Anchor Link' to a photo of Tabasco Sauce, which is on my Recipes blog. It looks exactly like an ordinary hyperlink, doesn't it? Well, it is just that, on this blog. It is just a simple trigger point. You pull the trigger by clicking on it. The big difference is in the function of that trigger. It links to a specific 'Anchor Point' on the other blog, namely the image of the Tabasco Sauce, to which I have attached an 'Anchor'.

Here's a perfectly normal hyperlink - As my mentor in things blogging, the Nitecruzr, says;

"Anchor Links are simple. Make an Anchor, and then Link to it!"


The Trigger

So, what does that TRIGGER look like?

The trigger looks like any other hyperlink URL - except in one area. It also contains a specific address for the actual anchor point.


<a href="http://www.recipes.robertosblogs.net/2006/01/condiments-sauces-and-dressings.html#Linkhere13"target="_blank">Tabasco Sauce</a>

  • The trigger point is Tabasco Sauce.
  • The location (URL) of the Anchor point, is http://www.recipes.robertosblogs.net/2006/01/condiments-sauces-and-dressings.html
  • The target is #Linkhere13.
  • The trigger is the URL hyperlinked as : Tabasco Sauce


The Anchor

Now, on the other end of the Anchor Link, is the actual Anchor. It looks like:
<a name="Linkhere13">Plate 13.</a>

This Anchor is a 'blind' anchor (you can't see it, unless you happen to mouse-over it, and then, it would only display as a highlighted bit of underlined text), and it is telling the Trigger Link where to link to...exactly! In this case, instead of the actual image being the Anchor point, which I could have done easily, I used it's location - Plate 13.

Another example would be a fixed Anchor point in nearly all my blogs. If you simply add #Linkhere to any of my blog URLs, the trigger will take you to a small image atop the Main, or Blog Post Page Element, in that blog - not to the Header of the blog.

eg: http://www.blogging.robertosblogs.net/#Linkhere - will take you HERE.

Or, if you add it to the end of a post URL, it will take you to HERE.

Note: Don't add a forward slash / after a trigger link, or it will cancel-out the Anchor.
eg: http://www.recipes.robertosblogs.net/#Linkhere/ - will take you HERE

ie: The Top of the front page of the blog. See the difference?



Anchor Links are really as simple as that, folks! Make an Anchor point, and Link to it! They are great fun, and can be of great help to you and your readers.


See also: The Real Blogger Status blog post - "Putting Anchors, and HTML, in Your Posts"



My next post on Anchor Links is 'Internal Anchor Links'.

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