A standard structure is established for the URLs of all common College site types using a base URL of www.imperial.ac.uk/. All sites within the Site Manager CMS are placed within the most relevant section of the information architecture. This structure has been developed to facilitate a clearer user experience for the College’s website visitors, ensuring that similar content is grouped together on the site without having to follow the organisational structure of Imperial.
A small number of top level folders have been created within Site Manager and all sections of the website will be placed within the most appropriate section. Read more about the College’s website information architecture here.
Creating URLs and URL redirects
All new sites created within Site Manager and all URL redirect requests will be reviewed on a weekly basis by the Web Operations Team to ensure their logical placing within the site information architecture and to maintain the uniqueness of URLs and avoidance of name clashes. To request a new site / URL, please contact Peter Gillings
If the new site is not at the top level of the College website, URL redirects will be considered where web addresses will need to be included in print material, presentations or regularly referred to verbally. Unless a special case is made, only site homepages will be considered for redirects.
Sites which have historically had a URL directly accessible from the College’s base URL, e.g. www.imperial.ac.uk/mechanicalengineering/ will have a top level redirect created to ensure historic versions continue to work. So www.imperial.ac.uk/mechanicalengineering will resolve to www.imperial.ac.uk/faculties-and-departments/mechanical-engineering
If you wish to signpost briefly a page deep within your site, it is worth considering using a free URL shortener which can also offer metrics on URL use. Both bit.ly and tiny.url offer customisable URL shorteners.
URL best practice guidance
When deciding on the URL for your site, and also for any sub sections of your site, consider the following guidance:
- If you’re using multiple words, separate them with hyphens to facilitate ease of reading for users and search engine optimisation e.g., www.imperial.ac.uk/mechanical-engineering
- URLs should not be acronyms, e.g., www.imperial.ac.uk/me (We may make an exception for sub-domain requests if the website's full title exceeds 40 characters.)
- URLs should not use the .ic.ac.uk domain
- Each page’s URL should describe the content of that page, yet be as short as possible. Try to keep them below 100 characters (in total) if possible and if you can, limit to 5 words
- When creating a page name, consider the primary keyword for the page and try to include it
- URLs should be lower case. Avoid MiXeD cAsE URLs
- Avoid using numbers in the URL unless the site is for a very specific timeframe (e.g. the 2020 conference) – they can be confusing for your users and can quickly date a site
- Don’t use spaces
- Try and ensure your URLs are memorable. If people can remember your URLs, they can also share about it with their friends or colleagues more easily
- Keep the language for section headers consistent with the rest of the website. The table below lists some common examples.
|Contact information; address||Contact us||Contact; Get in touch|
|General information; history||About us||About; Introduction|
|Research information||Research||Research groups; Our research|
|Information for prospective students||Study; Prospective students||Courses; New students; Future students|
|Information for undergraduates||Undergraduate||UG; Undergraduate information|
|Information for postgraduates||Postgraduate||PG; Postgraduate information|
|Information about staff||People||Staff|
|Information for staff||For staff||People|
|Industry connections||Business and industry|
|News||News||Updates; Bulletin; Announcements|
|Public Engagement||For the public||Local|
|Positions / opportunities||Opportunities; Jobs||Positions|
Applying for a URL exception
The Web Exception Policy details how to apply for a non-standard URL.