Links and URLs

When composing a message, write URLs in full. For example:

Apply now at

URLs should be easy to read.

If you have a long, complex web address, you may want to set up a short URL. Find out how to set up a short URL if you have a GOV.UK domain.

We do not recommend using a third-party link shortening service because:

  • your users cannot see where the link will take them
  • your link might stop working if there’s a service outage
  • you can no longer control where the redirect goes

When writing an email, you can convert text into a link instead of writing the full web address.

Link text may be useful if you have:

  • long, complex URLs
  • unsubscribe links
  • emails that contain more than 2 links

If the recipient is not expecting to receive an email from you, we recommend using the URL instead of link text.

Link text should tell the recipient what action they need to take and where the link goes.

Never use ‘click here’, ‘click link’, ‘this link’ or ‘more’, as these do not make sense when read out of context.

How to add link text to an email

GOV.UK Notify uses Markdown to format link text.

To convert text into a link, use square brackets around the link text and round brackets around the URL. Make sure there are no spaces between the brackets or the link will not work. For example:

[Apply now](

You cannot use Markdown to add link text to a text message or letter template.

To see formatting instructions while you’re editing an email template:

  1. Go to the Templates page.
  2. Add a new email template or choose an existing email template and select Edit.
  3. Scroll down to see a guide to the available Markdown.