Subscribe to The Chicago Manual of Style Online
Q. An online course I am building has many references to external websites. How should these be presented? I have been told to use both the name of the website and the URL but neither one should be hyperlinked. This sounds a little weird to me. Is there an official “right” way to do this?
A. There is no official right way to do this. Sometimes URLs are spelled out online because the material is meant to be printed out—perhaps by teachers, to hand out in class—and the readers won’t necessarily have access to the internet while they’re reading. Sometimes URLs are spelled out because they serve as examples (such as at our website) and aren’t meant to be accessed. Try to find out the purpose of the material you’re working with. If it’s purely online content, then you might point out that using URLs instead of links is going to look amateurish.