Custom link groups for Service Pages

A flexible option for organizing content on Service Pages.

Summary

Custom link groups give you greater flexibility in organizing tasks and informational links on a Service Page vs. using default link groups. (As discussed in our main Service Page article, you can choose between custom and default link groups under the "Tasks and key info" tab.)

The latter format restricts you to adding links under sections titled “What would you like to do?” and “What you need to know.” You’re also far more limited as to which content types you can link under each section.

Custom link groups, on the other hand, allow you to create your own section titles and include all but links to Organization, Service and Topic pages under those sections. You can expose more links and documents overall.

This is not to say you should use the custom link groups format just to max out the number of links on a page. But this format can help to consolidate separate but overlapping Services Pages.

Examples of Service Pages using custom link groups include:

Service Page with custom link groups
Service Page with default link groups

Note that the following fields available on Service Pages with default link groups are not available on pages with custom link groups:

  • First time guide

  • Eligibility information

  • All tasks

  • Key information links

  • Additional resources (links and downloads)

Tasks and key info tab

Like with the default link groups template for the Service Page, you can fill in up to 3 Featured tasks. These fields are optional, but offer a way to highlight your most important resources. We recommend using them.

Enter a Featured task
Featured tasks on Service Page

Featured tasks appear higher up the page than other links, and also display on Topic Pages when your service is on those pages. (They’re the blue boxes on the gray cards.)

You can link to most content types in Featured tasks, with the following exceptions:

  • Contact info

  • Fee

  • Organization page

  • Service page

  • Topic page

Note that Featured tasks will display under the overall “What would you like to do?” heading in the horizontal blue bar. The title “What would you like to do?” cannot be removed or changed.

Link groups

Whereas Featured tasks are optional, you must create at least 1 link group. You can have up to 6.

You won't be able to save a Service Page using the custom link group template until you have created at least 1 link group and added at least 1 link or document.

Creating link groups entails filling out several fields. But the process really begins before that, with planning how you want to organize content on your Service Page.

You might want to map it out first in a separate document before transferring the information to the CMS. The content should be focused on a specific audience, as that will help to limit the number of links you display on the page.

Keep in mind that the link groups should allow visitors to:

  • Quickly scan the page to get an idea of what is offered.

  • Understand the general structure of the service.

  • Locate something specific by looking for a heading that matches the words or concepts they are thinking about.

  • Discover topics they might not have been looking for.

Consider organizing your content based on the order in which people would complete tasks, or by concept if your content is more informational.

The sequence of headers and links could be based on popularity of content, from general to more specific resources, or chronological.

Once you have settled on link groups, start by filling out the link group title.

Link group fields

The link group title will be shown as a header for a list of links. These titles are most effective when kept succinct and when the words used are those that your audience would use. This makes it easy for them to quickly find what they need.

Link group title and Link text

Add a link group description, preferably 1 sentence long, to elaborate on the link group title if necessary. If your link group title is simple and clear, you may not need a link group description.

These are especially useful when you have a longer list of links or documents.

Link group description

Each link group must contain at least 1 link or document, which you can add by clicking on the "Add document" or "Add link" button.

You can add either new or existing documents. If you’re adding a link, you can choose internal (Mass.gov content) or external ones. The link URL field will auto-populate with the title of a Mass.gov page as you start to type in the title. You can overwrite that title in the link text field right below if you wish. You're required to paste or type a URL into the field if you’re linking to an external resource and you must fill out the link text field just below.

As with Featured tasks, this section forbids links to other Service pages, as well as to Organization or Topic pages.

While custom link groups allow for up to 10 links or documents per link group, we suggest keeping the lists shorter, so as not to overwhelm your audience.

The links and documents on the page should:

  • Appear under the heading where visitors are most likely to look for them.

  • Provide entry points to more detailed topics or transactions. If there are additional pages on the same topic, use Information Details, Guide, Curated List, Binders, and other content types to provide deeper links.

More help

If you need additional help mapping your services on Mass.gov, reach out to the Mass Digital team by scheduling Office Hours.