Linking – content pattern

Acas's content should be the first point of information for people. Linking to GOV.UK or other external sites should be supplementary only.


  1. Link to Acas content in the first instance and where appropriate.
  2. GOV.UK, NHS, Citizens Advice and other official government sites or organisations are usually the best sources of information if we've exhausted Acas.

Types of links

In body text on the Acas website, we use links in a few different ways.

Call to action links (CTAs)

A call to action link tells the user to do something.

The link is:

  • an instruction, beginning with an active verb
  • on its own line

As the whole thing is linked, it's more like a button or list item than a sentence – the text might not make sense as a sentence if it were not a link. So it does not need a full stop.

For example:

Find out more about reasonable adjustments

Calls to action actively ask the user to leave a piece of content and to go somewhere else. Use them:

  • at the end of a section
  • where it's important users follow the link to continue their journey
  • sparingly – avoid having lots of calls to action on a single page

Passive links

Passive links help inform the user, but do not instruct them to do something.

The link:

  • is part of a sentence
  • stops before punctuation – for example, do not link a comma or full stop that follows a linked word

For example:

The employer must make reasonable adjustments for disabled employees.

Passive links do not need to begin with a verb. If you want to instruct the user to do something, use a call to action link.

Lists of links

Consider whether you need each link – do not have long lists of them.

If the user might need to follow a different link depending on their circumstances, you can group call to action links in a list.

Put the action in the preceding line, followed by a colon. This takes the verb out of the link, but is better than having multiple call to action links with the same beginning, one after the other.

Example: two things that are closely related

Find out about:

Example: national guidance

Read the government advice:

Navigation boxes

We use navigation boxes on landing pages to link to other content on the website. 

Use the content pattern for navigation boxes

Writing links

Well-written, descriptive links are very important for accessibility. They're also good for usability more generally.

Matching the destination

Read the heading of the page you are linking to. When you write the link text, try to use the same words and phrases.

If the heading on the destination page is the same as (or similar to) the link text, it will help reassure the user that they have gone to the right place.

Examples of descriptive links

Linking to the page titled 'Ordinary parental leave', a good call to action link might be:

Find out more about ordinary parental leave

A less good call to action link might be:

Find out more about taking unpaid leave to look after your child

If the definition is important, you could use it before the link:

You can take unpaid leave to look after your child. This is called 'ordinary parental leave'.

Find out more about ordinary parental leave

A passive link to the same page might read:

You can take ordinary parental leave to look after your child.

Describing actions in call to action links

Call to action links begin with an action.

Describe the action the user intends to do when they follow the link.

For example:

  • find out...
  • check if...
  • use the...

Avoid 'see' and 'view' – not everyone will see or view the content. If there is no more descriptive action, you can use 'read'.

External links

If you're linking to another website, you should mention the website or organisation in the link text. Users should not be surprised to leave the Acas website.

For example:

Find out about covid symptoms from the NHS

Find advice on risk assessments from the Health and Safety Executive

Use the National Minimum Wage and Living Wage calculator on GOV.UK

Links to downloads

When linking to PDFs, Word documents, or other downloads hosted on the Acas website, include the file type and size. For example:

'Download a letter inviting an employee to an investigation meeting (DOCX, 16KB)'

Do not link directly to downloads on other websites unless there's no alternative. Link to the HTML page that the download is attached to and follow the pattern for external links.

Duplicate links

Avoid linking to the same destination more than once on a single page.

If you cannot avoid it, make sure you use the same link text. Users might be confused if two differently worded links point to the same page.

Do not use the same link text to link to different destinations.

Linking to Acas training

Find out more about how we link to Acas training from advice