For several months now I’ve been lazily blogging here at WordPress. During all of that time, I have configured external web site links to open in a new tab/window while setting my internal links to open in the same tab/window. But, now I’m not so sure if that’s the best setup, and I need your help. (poll at bottom)
FYI: External links are those which take the user to a web page on a completely different site (such as this link to a Nazi-killing Chewbacca riding a giant squirrel); Internal links are those which take the user to a different page but remain on the same web site (such as this link to my about me page.)
As the blogger, I must decide whether or not to configure these links to open in the same window or to have the links open up in a separate window. The issue at hand is whether or not you (the bloggee) would prefer to have external links opened in the same window or not. Here’s why it has become an issue:
Not all web browsers are created equal. I really dislike Internet Explorer and I’m not alone. Many people have come to understand the limitations of this Microsoft product and have opted to use another web browser instead sticking with the default web browser provided with the Windows Operating System. I prefer browsing with Opera or Firefox.
When I use either of the latter two browsers, links that are configured to open in a new window just conveniently open a new tab. I love tabs. However, when I hopped on my mother’s PC today and logged into my blog with Internet Exploder (hereafter referred to as IE) and began clicking on external links, it proceeded to pop open several annoying browser windows instead of just opening a new tab in the same window.
I’m sure I could have figured out a way to configure IE to open links only in tabs, but that’s not the point. Even though Firefox is currently winning the browser popularity contest, a vast population of people unfortunately still use Internet Explorer and probably don’t know how to configure it at all. Therefore, since most IE users are the default setup kind of people who hate annoying IE windows popping up every time they click a link, my blog is obviously annoying to the majority of Internet Explorer users.
I don’t want to annoy my readers, so I’m considering changing all of my external links to open in the current window. Personally, I hate having to press the back button 20 times to find a page that I linked away from 30 minutes earlier, but that’s just me. The reality is that it really doesn’t matter what my preferences are; My readers are all that count. So, my question for all of you fine people is: What’s your preference?