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The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.

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The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Content style guide

Links

Links should tell people what action to take, where to go next, or what information to expect when they select the link.

  • Use natural and descriptive language.
  • Hyperlink the most relevant word or phrase.
  • Don’t make the link so long that the relevant words get lost.
  • Avoid “Click here” as the CTA text.
  • Avoid generic CTA links like “Learn more,” “See more,” and “Read more” by themselves.
  • Don’t punctuate standalone CTA links. Exception: When the link text is a question.
  • If the embedded link text comes at the end of a sentence, don’t hyperlink the ending punctuation.
  • When a link opens a PDF, YouTube video, XLS or other file format, note that after the link in parentheses. Example: Download a home toolkit (PDF) from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Like this

Use natural language, and link relevant words

If your disability gets worse, file for a VA disability compensation increase.

Apply for a United States burial flag to place over a casket or coffin, or place with an urn. Learn more about burial flags

Not this

Avoid “click here” and generic CTA text

Click here to file for a VA disability compensation increase if your disability gets worse.

Apply for a United States burial flag to place over a casket or coffin, or place with an urn. Learn more

Use embedded text links to cross-link related, helpful information

Embedded text links are hyperlinks that are part of running text in body copy. We use them to link people to related, but not essential, information.

  • Because too many embedded links can be distracting or overwhelming to readers with traumatic brain injuries or other cognitive impairments, we try to not overuse them.
  • Link information when it will be helpful to the Veteran, and it’s related to the subject being discussed, not just for the sake of linking.

Use CTA links to call out actions

CTA links are standalone hyperlinks that are calls to an action, but that don’t warrant a primary button CTA.

We generally reserve button CTAs to launch an application, to sign in, or other primary, essential action on a page. But there are other kinds of actions that may call for a CTA as a text link, like downloading a form, learning about important information (like eligibility or copay rates, etc.).

Like this

In this example, the link is an action related to the topic, but it isn’t the primary CTA which is to use the online application.

You can apply online or mail your Application for Burial Benefits (VA Form 21P-530).

Download VA Form 21P-530 (PDF)

Not this

In this example, the action gets lost as an embedded text link.

You can apply online or mail your Application for Burial Benefits (VA Form 21P-530).