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How one should link to pages that are outside the current domain?

Do, i simply make them target="_blank" and give them a different background color or add some icon to them to differentiate them from rest of the links that point to internal pages..?? - This one seems to be the most recommended but what about target="_blank"..

Or i should open an internal pop-up..??

Or i should avoid links to external domains..??

In addition, if i have same information under contact us, about us, etc. links on two different domains then should i replicate that information on both the domains or i should link to it in one of the above ways or in some other better way on one of the domains..??

I have followed this post and this one but still am not sure how this thing needs to get addressed..

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Hi Rishi, welcome to UX! You're asking a very general question. Each of the solutions you described can be the best under specific circumstances, and without knowing more about your case, we can't help you decide. Also, the two posts you mentioned do provide good answers to your question. The second part of your question also needs some more details before we can help you. –  Vitaly Mijiritsky Nov 16 '12 at 8:40
    
my one website is ioosd.com which is fine and the second website is lazeez.co.in whose about us, contact us links land under ioosd.com..so how it should be done.. –  Rishi Kalia Nov 16 '12 at 8:54

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

No, please don't because...

Should Links Open In New Windows?

No, they shouldn’t. At first glance the decision to open links in new windows or not depends on the given site and the preferences of its visitors. Visitors of the sites with heavy linking are more willing to have links opened in new windows than open dozens of links in new windows manually. Visitors of less-heavy-linkage-sites are more likely to open some specific link in new window to remain on the site and continue to browse through it afterwards. However, this is not true.

... and ...

The Top Ten Web Design Mistakes of 1999

2. Opening New Browser Windows

Opening up new browser windows is like a vacuum cleaner sales person who starts a visit by emptying an ash tray on the customer's carpet. Don't pollute my screen with any more windows, thanks (particularly since current operating systems have miserable window management). If I want a new window, I will open it myself!

Designers open new browser windows on the theory that it keeps users on their site. But even disregarding the user-hostile message implied in taking over the user's machine, the strategy is self-defeating since it disables the Back button which is the normal way users return to previous sites. Users often don't notice that a new window has opened, especially if they are using a small monitor where the windows are maximized to fill up the screen. So a user who tries to return to the origin will be confused by a grayed out Back button.

To emphasis this further, think about the user being in control. If you take away an option from the users, and make the decision yourself, that this link should open up a new window or a new tab, you have disqualified the users browsing behavior. You override an option that could be left to the user – and this really is bad user experience.

Bad User Experience on your site makes lower returning visitors, which lowers your revenue, and we don’t want that. We want to empower users, and we want them to return to our great site – and that’s why we never ever open up links in new windows or new tabs.

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i have provided links to my websites above..my concern is that user shouldn't feel like lost..he should have the feeling that he's on the very same domain where he wants to be..but at the same time i don't want to replicate same about us, contact us stuff on both the domains.. –  Rishi Kalia Nov 16 '12 at 9:01
1  
@RishiKalia But what about browsing historyuu and the back button? You probably already know that the back button is the most commonly used navigation on the internet?! –  Benny Skogberg Nov 16 '12 at 10:06
    
You don't think that articles of 1999 or 2008 are too old, today? –  chumkiu Nov 16 '12 at 12:36
    
@chumkiu Even though web browsing behavior have changed the last decade, and the use of the back button have decreased from 35% to 20% there are still a fifth of the users who use the back button - and those users can't be disregarded. –  Benny Skogberg Nov 16 '12 at 12:42

One solution that i can think of avoiding duplicate content on both domains is to fetch the content from a database..thus creating separate independent pages for both the domains and easing maintainability..so for the case discussed here i may remmove external links as i can keep content in the database..

But in general, i agree with Benny Skogberg's view that one should not take away an option from the users and thus leave it to users how they want the link to be opened..although i would add a small icon (as shown in Wikipedia external links) to those links which are of external origin to a domain..

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