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A great many sites I've seen have pages titled "Useful links" or similar. I tend to regard this as bad practice: why have a link on a site if it's not useful? Essentially it feels like a category that is so generic as to be useless. Are there any other terms that would be more meaningful, or any other naming strategies that would avoid this problem?

  • It made a lot more sense in 1995. Not so much now. – DA01 Mar 6 '14 at 21:49
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I think by 'Useful Links' what is often meant is 'Additional References'.

Let's say I have a site about the plumage of ducks. There's all sorts of things that are useful to know about the plumage of ducks: patterns, the texture of the plumes, all sorts of cool stuff. I even have a database that allows you to enter various data points to determine what species of duck you may be dealing with, based on those qualitative and quantitative measurements.

However, because this site is focused around a very specific part of biology, there are other things that aren't directly related to duck plumage, for instance how the duck controls its plumage to achieve flight using its neuromuscular system, and other trivia that may be helpful in your observation or other work concerning ducks.

If I include this trivia, it distracts from the purpose of the site - duck plumage. So, I put this in an additional references page so that my fellow duck enthusiasts can consult these useful, but 'extraneous' references.

In this case, I agree that 'Useful Links' is a ham-fisted, Captain Obvious piece of copy; I highly suggest just calling it what it is - Additional References - despite being more syllables and more letters.

Of course, no site or situation is a cookie cutter, so there doubtless are some situations where 'Useful Links' is really the best copy for the situation.

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The answer really depends on where that link will take the user.

If the destination page is just a collection of random links that are not related at all, or in your word "useless", then no link title will help you to help the users predict where they are going. Therefore, the link title is not your problem, the problem is why you have a useless page for the users.

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