Guide

URL standards

Updated on 12 July 2022

This guide sets out best practice for publishing URLs on dundee.ac.uk and any other website affiliated with the University of Dundee.

On this page

URLs should be structured and named in a consistent and logical manner to reflect the website information architecture. You should adopt a consistent approach to naming URLs to: 

  • help users recognise similar types of pages and navigate easily 
  • help search engines understand and index web pages 

URL best practice

Do:

  • make URLs clear, easy to read, and unambiguous
  • use hyphens to separate words
  • use lower case, not upper case or capitals
  • use meaningful word(s) that reflect the group or activity that the content represents
  • keep URLs to 100 characters and 5 words if possible
  • include the focus keyword of the page in the URL
  • use the verb stem where possible, for example /apply not /applying

Don't:

  • use abbreviations or acronyms unless the group or activity is commonly known by this
  • use any superfluous words, for example remove words such as 'a' and 'the'
  • use a trailing slash at the end of the URL
Examples

Don't use trailing slashes

dundee.ac.uk/campaigns/alumni-fund/  

dundee.ac.uk/campaigns/alumni-fund

Use hyphens

dundee.ac.uk/roombookings  

dundee.ac.uk/room-bookings

Keep it short

dundee.ac.uk/science-engineering/science-engineering-facilities  

dundee.ac.uk/science-engineering/facilities

Avoid abbreviations unless commonly recognised

dundee.ac.uk/ges  

dundee.ac.uk/geography-environmental-science

Group URLs

A group is a recognised part of the University’s organisational structure. Types of group include:

  • directorates
  • schools
  • divisions/departments
  • research centres/units
  • services

All groups should have top level URLs in a folder that follows dundee.ac.uk

For example, the School of Business URL is dundee.ac.uk/business

Naming conventions for common web pages

Use the table below to establish consistent page names for similar pages on the University website

Type of content Recommended URL
Contact information /contact
Events /events
Facilities /facilities
Stories, news /stories
Overview information about undergraduate and postgraduate courses /study
Information about undergraduate courses /undergraduate
Information about postgraduate courses /postgraduate
Information about staff /people
Information for staff /staff
Information for students /students

Promoting and communicating URLs

When communicating URLs, you should always use dundee.ac.uk/top-level-directory. For example, dundee.ac.uk/undergraduate

For marketing purposes please omit the https://www. part of the URL.

If you intend to promote a URL offline (for example, print or radio), then you should make it easy to type, memorable, and as short as possible (see short URLs below). It's useful to read a URL out loud first to decide whether it's acceptable.

Short URLs

Short URLs are available for marketing purposes. This creates a short URL starting with 'uod.ac.uk' which redirects to a page on the University website or other service.

Short URLs should:

  • be unique rather than generic
  • use hyphens to break up text

uod.ac.uk/summerschoolacademicskills  

uod.ac.uk/summer-school-academic-skills 

If you request a short URL that's rather generic it might already be in use so try to make it unique. Web Services will be able to advise whether a short URL is available.

Do not create a short URL for the sake of it, or just because its "shorter". Our URLs are designed to be easily read both in text and out loud if the above guidance is followed.

For example, dundee.ac.uk/undergraduate/history is simpler to read than uod.ac.uk/ughist

To request a short URL contact help4u.

If you work in External Relations Marketing, you must provide supply UTMs when requesting a short URL. 

QR codes

QR codes containing URLs are only for print and should not be used in digital campaigns.

Redirects

Redirects allow URLs to be automatically forwarded to another URL through a configuration file on a web server. It is best practice to create a redirect if you publish a new web page that is replacing an older version and the URL has changed. If a page has been deleted it’s also wise to create a redirect to a relevant alternative page. Redirects minimise 404 errors and also allow the website to be indexed properly by search engines.

Redirects are temporary and will be reviewed and updated regularly by Web Services.  

To request a redirect please contact help4u. The addition of redirects will depend on the operational and strategic objectives of the University and the needs its website users.  

Enquiries

Web Services

help4u@dundee.ac.uk