The latest update for WordPress, which is WordPress 6.3, is causing a problem when adding hyperlinks and managing how they open.
Whenever someone asks if they should update their WordPress to the latest version, I always say yes. In addition to what we’d hope would be feature improvements, updates usually address security vulnerabilities. But WordPress 6.3, which just came out in August, makes adding hyperlinks an unnecessary challenge.
A hyperlink can serve as an important part of a blog post when it comes to SEO. SEO stands for search engine optimization. That’s a fancy way of saying the steps we take to make sure our sites rank higher in search results. When search engines see that you have meaningful hyperlinks to articles and resources that relate to the topic of your article, that tells them that you may be providing even more useful information.
Yoast, the plugin I use for SEO, recommends at least one internal link and one external link per article.
When I add an internal link like this one, which points to articles I tagged about WordPress, I have those links open in the same window. But when I add an external link, like the one in the first paragraph that points to a different site, I have that link open in a new tab. Many of us do that to encourage people to stay on our sites as long as possible. I would call it a fairly common practice.
But WordPress 6.3 changed how that works
Adding hyperlinks used to be simple before WordPress 6.3 came along. When you highlighted the portion of the text you wanted to appear as a hyperlink and click the little link icon, a little window would open. You would enter the URL and you could check a box to determine whether it would open in the same window (or tab) or in a different one. Everything you needed to do was right there. You never had any problem or confusion. Adding hyperlinks did not present a challenge.
Then WordPress 6.3 came along and turned the hyperlink option on its ear. When you now select the text for the hyperlink and click the link option, a much simpler window appears:
You add the link in the blue rectangle and then you click the little gray Link in the lower right. That’s all you can do. There are no more options. If you want the link to open in the same window, all is well: That’s what it will do.
But if you want the link to open in a new window or tab, thanks to the new upgrade, you have your work cut out for you. Once the link is in place, you have to click back on that hyperlink in the editing window. It opens another popup:
Note the little black pencil on the far right. You must click that to edit the hyperlink you just placed. That opens yet another popup:
This is how the window appears. You can’t resize the window. Keep that in mind. You then have to click where it says Advanced to open additional options. When you do so, the window expands vertically…but not “vertically enough:”
The first option, “Open in new tab,” is the one you want. You also have an option to make the link a “nofollow” link, which means search engines would ignore the fact the link is there. You can see there’s a third box, but you can’t see that option.
Note the vertical slider bar on the righthand side. Remember I said the window isn’t tall enough when it opens? Once you check “Open in new tab,” you then have to scroll down:
When you scroll, you see the third option allows you to mark a sponsored link as sponsored. You also have a big blue Save button. You click that and you now have a hyperlink that opens in a new window.
C’mon, WordPress! What’s this mess about?
There’s just no other way to say it, I’m afraid. This is just asinine. WordPress 6.3 fixed something that wasn’t remotely broken and did a thorough job of breaking it. Instead of a single window that served as a “one-stop shop” for adding hyperlinks, you now have multiple clicks, three different windows, and a scroll to deal with.
And that’s all just to make a link open the way an external link should open.
Normally, an updated version always changes something whether it needed a change or not.
This one completely blundered hyperlinks. Whoever came up with this workflow deserves a smack upside the head.
Yes, I’m still going to go through the extra steps to make external links appear as they should.
But no, I’m not going to be happy about it one little bit.
I can’t wait until WordPress releases an update to fix what they shouldn’t have screwed up to begin with.