What does ‘Links Cannot Be Empty’ mean?

In the context of website accessibility, when we say “links cannot be empty,” it refers to the necessity for hyperlink elements (anchor tags in HTML) to contain text or an accessibility label that describes the link’s destination or function.

Here is an example of an empty link in HTML:

<a href="https://www.example.com"></a>

Here’s an example of a non-empty, accessible link in HTML:

<a href="https://www.example.com">Visit Example</a>

This link example above, correctly includes descriptive text for the anchor text, which a screen reader can announce.

This is crucial because screen readers rely on this text to inform users who are visually impaired about where the link will take them or what it will do. If a hyperlink is empty—lacking textual content—then the screen reader may announce it as “link” or “empty link,” which provides no useful information to the user. Proper link text enables better navigation and overall web accessibility, ensuring that all users, regardless of their ability, can engage with web content effectively.

How To Fix Links Cannot Be Empty

To fix empty links, website owners on different platforms can take the following steps:

WordPress:

  • Ensure that all link text is descriptive and accurately reflects the link’s destination or function. Avoid using generic text like “click here.”
  • Use the WordPress link editor to add appropriate link text. 

Squarespace:

  • Log into the Squarespace site and locate the area containing the empty link.
  • Open the link editor and add meaningful text to describe the link’s purpose. 
  • Ensure that Squarespace domain connections are properly configured to avoid any redirect issues that could lead to empty links.

Shopify:

  • Review the link in the Shopify page editor and ensure that the URL is correct and the link is pointing to the intended destination.
  • If the link is redirecting to an unintended page, such as the Squarespace homepage, investigate the cause and fix any underlying issues. 
  • Add descriptive text to the link to make it accessible for screen reader users. 

By addressing empty links on their websites, website owners can improve the overall accessibility and user experience for all visitors, including those who rely on assistive technologies.

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