Forcing New Windows on Links Is a Sign of Weakness

Google became the most valuable website in the world by linking OUT from their website to OTHER websites. People find the site valuable because they provide fast and easy access to valuable information on other websites.

Give that, why would you think it’s a good idea to force visitors to open a new window (or tab) to view content at links from your website, (aka,, aka, aka [Seriously guys, you’re hurting yourself with the duplicate content & canonical issues.]

If you’re providing value, people will come back. If you’re not, you’ve only managed to hold onto people for an additional 2 seconds before they get the hint.

Show some pride in your work by dropping the [target=”_blank”] crap from your links.

9 thoughts on “Forcing New Windows on Links Is a Sign of Weakness”

  1. I completely agree — and I’d recommend for this post making one of those URLs an actual link to for fast and easy access to the site you’re critiquing.

  2. Besides than bigger social media buttons for twitter/facebook what purpose does that secondary page have other than to blatantly increase pageviews?

    Lets hope at some point the gets a 301 in there somewhere.

  3. I love websites that do this, especially if the link is on the same host.

    [Deleted rant]

    Million dollar idea: Create an LLC in Marshal, TX*. Patent “links that open in a new window”. Sling lawsuits at Microsoft and Cisco until they just give up and settle. Who’s in with me? 🙂



  4. Ed, do you consider this important mainly for search sites and commercial websites that keep statistics on pageviews? Or would it apply to all websites, including blogs? I personally don’t like changing the page if I click on a link, while reading a story, or a blog; not only is it cumbersome if either web page is high maintenance (a lot of flash crap for example), but I have to search to find my place when I return. So having both browsers open side by side makes my brain happier. To illustrate, from reading the comments I knew that your link would change the page, so I right-clicked and opened a new browser.

  5. Disagree totally. Links should always open in a new window when you’re at an aggregator site. Nothing irritates me more than aggregator sites that keep sending you away. If they just sent you to the Strib, by the time you get done clicking your way through the story, backclicking your way to the original aggregator page is a nightmare.

    Sites like Bloglines would be impossible to use if they took your advice altho I will admit that there are some benefits. If I took your advice, Norwegianity’s page views would triple almost immediately.

  6. @Mark, I feel like I have the control over deciding whether I’m sent away or not based on opening links in new tabs.

    @Amanda, your actions describe what I think is my point here. You decided you’d rather view content in a new window so chose to do so. My browsing workflow generally involves Cmd-clicking on links to open things in the background rather than waiting for them in the primary window. In cases where there is really only one thing to click on – thus, no reason to come back – I tend to click without Cmd, and that’s where I get burned by sites like, when they decide for me that it’s in my best interest to open a link in a new window.

    Sites like could implement an option to have all links open in new windows.

  7. Ed, obviously you don’t do most of your cmd-clicking with a cup of coffee in your hand, or while eating breakfast at the keyboard.

    I’ve been wrestling with this question for over six years now, and the fact that I disagree with you should suggest to you that this isn’t a matter of right or wrong, simply preference.

    BMTN has decided that it’s in THEIR best interest to open a new window. I don’t think they’ve really given a lot of thought as to what’s in YOUR best interest. (Although I’m pretty sure the Strib did a lot of research before deciding that autopage refreshes on an idle computer are in your best interest and mine.)

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