URLs for consolidating department names

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URLs for consolidating department names

Sr Kathleen Mary Burns
We are in the process of implementing academic restructuring and will be consolidating several departments.  Some of the new department names are impossibly long when you consider making them into URLs on the website.  I am wondering if some of you have faced this issue and how you have solved it.

Here are some of the deparment names we are working with:

- Athletic Training, Exercise Science, and Nutrition

- Computer Science, Mathematics, and Science

- MPA Program and PhD in Human Development

We used to  have relatively simple names and have URLS for them like www.marywood.edu/science

Any suggestions will be appreciated.

Sr Kathleen

--
Sr. Kathleen Burns, IHM, EdD
Director of Web Development
Marywood University
2300 Adams Ave
Scranton, PA 18509
570-348-6211 x 2340
[hidden email]
http://www.marywood.edu


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Re: URLs for consolidating department names

Mosinskis, Peter

Hi Sr Kathleen,


We've tackled this two ways:


1. Abbreviations. Not great for SEO but it work. Pairing this with #2 helps overcome this somewhat. 


2. Using a URL shortening service. We have our own URL shortening service (http://www.csuci.edu/ti/web/shorturl.htm) that creates SEO and print-friendly URLs for web sites. 

For example, if you had your own service you could map to any cryptic or ugly URLs:


go.marywood.edu/math could point to deep link in Math site

go.marywood.edu/nutrition could point to top-level page in new combined site

go.marywood.edu/mpa ... a different destination

etc.


Hope this helps. 


Peter


___________________________
Peter Mosinskis, PMP
Director of IT Strategy
Division of Technology & Innovation (T&I)
California State University Channel Islands (CI)
One University Drive
Camarillo CA 93012 USA
+1 (805) 437-8587

From: Sr Kathleen Mary Burns <[hidden email]>
Sent: Monday, June 5, 2017 1:06 PM
To: UWebD
Subject: [uwebd] URLs for consolidating department names
 
We are in the process of implementing academic restructuring and will be consolidating several departments.  Some of the new department names are impossibly long when you consider making them into URLs on the website.  I am wondering if some of you have faced this issue and how you have solved it.

Here are some of the deparment names we are working with:

- Athletic Training, Exercise Science, and Nutrition

- Computer Science, Mathematics, and Science

- MPA Program and PhD in Human Development

We used to  have relatively simple names and have URLS for them like www.marywood.edu/science

Any suggestions will be appreciated.

Sr Kathleen

--
Sr. Kathleen Burns, IHM, EdD
Director of Web Development
Marywood University
2300 Adams Ave
Scranton, PA 18509
570-348-6211 x 2340
[hidden email]
http://www.marywood.edu


You are currently subscribed to [hidden email].
To unsubscribe send an email to [hidden email] with the subject line unsubscribe uwebd. Leave the message body blank. If you experience problems, contact list owner Eric Kreider at [hidden email]. More information is available at: http://www.uakron.edu/webteam/university-web-developers.dot




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Re: URLs for consolidating department names

C. Daniel Chase-2
In reply to this post by Sr Kathleen Mary Burns
Sr Kathleen-

At my former institution, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, we had several units that were similar. Life was simple in the early days when not all departments even had a website! Now it’s a little more complex. 

I always think of the longest name that I recall from those days… College of Health, Education and Professional Studies. It went through a few variations too… But, I just checked and that’s still what it is today. 

Your best friend will be an easy URL shortening tool like YOURLs (https://yourls.org/). While in the early days, I maintained an include file of Apache redirects, today it’s easy to add custom shortcuts and direct them to where ever they need to go. For example the above College we affectionally knew as CHEPS. So, it has a short redirect of http://utc.edu/cheps . Several of the college’s units are housed under the college-wide heading, but larger units have their own top-level name, for example Health and Human Performance which is part of CHEPS: utc.edu/hhp 

An example of having a shortcut with the short name redirect to a sub-section is utc.edu/geology which is now part of Biology, Geology & Environmental Science. (It was part of Physics when I was last there!) An example of how easy it is to rearrange as needed if you must.

Don’t be afraid of long names, they are good for SEO. Just spell out all words (dropping connectors like the, and, of, etc.) and use hyphens between. Then make shortcuts that make sense and for old names.

YOURLs is very useful for adding media tags for marketing too.

Let me know if you need any other assistance.

-Dan

Lead Web Developer, SUNY Empire State College

--
C. Daniel Chase                                                  KK4WVM
http://about.me/danchase                           (423) 305-2255

On Jun 5, 2017, at 4:06 PM, Sr Kathleen Mary Burns <[hidden email]> wrote:

We are in the process of implementing academic restructuring and will be consolidating several departments.  Some of the new department names are impossibly long when you consider making them into URLs on the website.  I am wondering if some of you have faced this issue and how you have solved it.

Here are some of the deparment names we are working with:

- Athletic Training, Exercise Science, and Nutrition

- Computer Science, Mathematics, and Science

- MPA Program and PhD in Human Development

We used to  have relatively simple names and have URLS for them like www.marywood.edu/science

Any suggestions will be appreciated.

Sr Kathleen



You are currently subscribed to [hidden email].
To unsubscribe send an email to [hidden email] with the subject line unsubscribe uwebd. Leave the message body blank. If you experience problems, contact list owner Eric Kreider at [hidden email]. More information is available at: http://www.uakron.edu/webteam/university-web-developers.dot




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Re: URLs for consolidating department names

Adrian J Cooke
In reply to this post by Sr Kathleen Mary Burns
Hi Sr. Kathleen,

One way we've dealt with this is to make short URLs that redirect from multiple keywords.

For example, for https://www.syracuse.edu/life/faculty-staff we've made both of the following available:


Another way is to provide a link to a landing page and change your verbal instructions accordingly.

For example, instead of "Visit us at www.marywood.edu/science" you might say "Visit www.marywood.edu/academics" and click on "The Longest Department Name in the History of Higher Education". 

It depends somewhat on which use cases you are shortening for: print, audio, social media, etc. I've found these approaches useful both for print and for cases where URLs need to be spoken aloud. 

Many users will rely on search, so you may only need to get them close and allow them to navigate from there. 

Regards,
Adrian
--

Adrian Cooke
Senior Web Information Architect
Office of Marketing and Communications (Online Platforms)

315.412.8188
[hidden email]

111 College Pl Rm 1-205, Syracuse, NY 13244
syracuse.edu

Syracuse University


_____________________________
From: Sr Kathleen Mary Burns <[hidden email]>
Sent: Monday, June 5, 2017 16:07
Subject: [uwebd] URLs for consolidating department names
To: UWebD <[hidden email]>


We are in the process of implementing academic restructuring and will be consolidating several departments.  Some of the new department names are impossibly long when you consider making them into URLs on the website.  I am wondering if some of you have faced this issue and how you have solved it.

Here are some of the deparment names we are working with:

- Athletic Training, Exercise Science, and Nutrition

- Computer Science, Mathematics, and Science

- MPA Program and PhD in Human Development

We used to  have relatively simple names and have URLS for them like www.marywood.edu/science

Any suggestions will be appreciated.

Sr Kathleen

--
Sr. Kathleen Burns, IHM, EdD
Director of Web Development
Marywood University
2300 Adams Ave
Scranton, PA 18509
570-348-6211 x 2340
[hidden email]
http://www.marywood.edu




You are currently subscribed to [hidden email].
To unsubscribe send an email to [hidden email] with the subject line unsubscribe uwebd. Leave the message body blank. If you experience problems, contact list owner Eric Kreider at [hidden email]. More information is available at: http://www.uakron.edu/webteam/university-web-developers.dot




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RE: URLs for consolidating department names

O'Neill, Michael J
In reply to this post by Sr Kathleen Mary Burns

Hi Sr. Kathleen!

I can sympathize with your struggle. Often there’s a lot of identity issues tied up in such a reorg, and various departments might object to any given URL path. You might try a two staged approach:

 

Part 1:

 

Go for the “human readable” approach for the URL structure, but go in knowing you likely won’t make everyone happy. Framing the discussion along the lines of the following may or may not help: “We have to have a URL structure that humans have fighting chance of remembering/typing. Labels will not be perfect for everyone, but they should be sufficiently broad so as to include all the disciplines contained in the new departments.” 

 

Under that aegis, you will at least get you to something like the following structure where the content lives (plus you’ll give your stakeholders an understanding of where you are going, the opportunity to provide suggestions, etc…).  Some examples:

 

·         /health-and-fitness/

·         /math-and-sciences/

·         /human-development/

 

Part 2:

 

Map some 301 redirects for the previous atomic level department names.   For instance:

·         /athletic-training/ ---> 301 Redirects to ---> /health-and-fitness/

·         /exercise-science/ ---> 301 Redirects to ---> /health-and-fitness/

·         /nutrition/ ---> 301 Redirects to ---> /health-and-fitness/

 

This way your Nutrition professors (for instance) could still use www.marywood.edu/nutrition in print or in speech when directing people to the department website. You could get even fancier with some rewrite rules that would redirect www.marywood.edu/nutrition/interiorpage to www.marywood.edu/health-and-fitness/interiorpage... That might be overkill to start with, and you’ll have to commit to keeping the redirects around for quite some time.  Sometimes people just need some time to adjust to the change of department identity...

 

Still, this general approach might give you the flexibility to make the best calls possible for determining your primary URL scheme, yet still provide your stakeholders, department staff (and even students) with an easy and familiar way to access the department pages based on a URL related to their discipline.

 

-Michael

 

From: Sr Kathleen Mary Burns [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: Monday, June 5, 2017 3:06 PM
To: UWebD <[hidden email]>
Subject: [uwebd] URLs for consolidating department names

 

We are in the process of implementing academic restructuring and will be consolidating several departments.  Some of the new department names are impossibly long when you consider making them into URLs on the website.  I am wondering if some of you have faced this issue and how you have solved it.

 

Here are some of the deparment names we are working with:

 

- Athletic Training, Exercise Science, and Nutrition

 

- Computer Science, Mathematics, and Science

 

- MPA Program and PhD in Human Development

 

We used to  have relatively simple names and have URLS for them like www.marywood.edu/science

 

Any suggestions will be appreciated.

 

Sr Kathleen

 

--

Sr. Kathleen Burns, IHM, EdD
Director of Web Development
Marywood University
2300 Adams Ave
Scranton, PA 18509
570-348-6211 x 2340
[hidden email]
http://www.marywood.edu



You are currently subscribed to [hidden email].
To unsubscribe send an email to [hidden email] with the subject line unsubscribe uwebd. Leave the message body blank. If you experience problems, contact list owner Eric Kreider at [hidden email]. More information is available at: http://www.uakron.edu/webteam/university-web-developers.dot




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Re: URLs for consolidating department names

Matt Herzberger-2
In reply to this post by Sr Kathleen Mary Burns
Kathleen-

It sounds like you are already past this point. So may not be doable, that and your names seem like common terms. But I would add for anyone else, if you are going through department renames it may be worth doing early SEO research to inform the actual department name. For example "accounting" vs "accountancy" or "advanced bean counting". Where accounting is the more commonly searched name. 

-Matt

On Mon, Jun 5, 2017 at 3:06 PM, Sr Kathleen Mary Burns <[hidden email]> wrote:
We are in the process of implementing academic restructuring and will be consolidating several departments.  Some of the new department names are impossibly long when you consider making them into URLs on the website.  I am wondering if some of you have faced this issue and how you have solved it.

Here are some of the deparment names we are working with:

- Athletic Training, Exercise Science, and Nutrition

- Computer Science, Mathematics, and Science

- MPA Program and PhD in Human Development

We used to  have relatively simple names and have URLS for them like www.marywood.edu/science

Any suggestions will be appreciated.

Sr Kathleen

--
Sr. Kathleen Burns, IHM, EdD
Director of Web Development
Marywood University
2300 Adams Ave
Scranton, PA 18509
<a href="tel:(570)%20348-6211" value="+15703486211" target="_blank">570-348-6211 x 2340
[hidden email]
http://www.marywood.edu


You are currently subscribed to [hidden email].
To unsubscribe send an email to [hidden email] with the subject line unsubscribe uwebd. Leave the message body blank. If you experience problems, contact list owner Eric Kreider at [hidden email]. More information is available at: http://www.uakron.edu/webteam/university-web-developers.dot








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To unsubscribe send an email to [hidden email] with the subject line unsubscribe uwebd. Leave the message body blank. If you experience problems, contact list owner Eric Kreider at [hidden email]. More information is available at: http://www.uakron.edu/webteam/university-web-developers.dot




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RE: URLs for consolidating department names

Angela Burrell-2

Matt,

 

With our website designer just having just completed an online SEO course, we’re trying to be more SEO-minded, and this is a great idea! Unfortunately, our Web team is often the last one to find out about re-naming – usually long after the process is completed, when people realize they need to change it on the website too.

 

Kathleen,

 

We did abbreviate many of our longer names, and our CMS allows us to have more than one URL for a single page (example: we could have both /Business_and_Creative_Design and /BCD pointing to the same landing page). Departments can even request other URLs, so if they wanted /Business then we could make that happen very easily.

 

We’re in the process of shopping for a new CMS, and I have noted that many support this feature.

 

If you have something similar, perhaps you could come up with a standard rule (all long-form names for SEO-friendliness, for example), and if departments needed some alternative (say for print) they could request it?

 

--Angela

 

 

Angela Burrell

Web Developer

Information Technology

Lambton College

Sarnia, Ontario

 

 

From: Matt Herzberger [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: June 6, 2017 9:34 AM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [uwebd] URLs for consolidating department names

 

Kathleen-

 

It sounds like you are already past this point. So may not be doable, that and your names seem like common terms. But I would add for anyone else, if you are going through department renames it may be worth doing early SEO research to inform the actual department name. For example "accounting" vs "accountancy" or "advanced bean counting". Where accounting is the more commonly searched name. 

 

-Matt

 

On Mon, Jun 5, 2017 at 3:06 PM, Sr Kathleen Mary Burns <[hidden email]> wrote:

We are in the process of implementing academic restructuring and will be consolidating several departments.  Some of the new department names are impossibly long when you consider making them into URLs on the website.  I am wondering if some of you have faced this issue and how you have solved it.

 

Here are some of the deparment names we are working with:

 

- Athletic Training, Exercise Science, and Nutrition

 

- Computer Science, Mathematics, and Science

 

- MPA Program and PhD in Human Development

 

We used to  have relatively simple names and have URLS for them like www.marywood.edu/science

 

Any suggestions will be appreciated.

 

Sr Kathleen

 

--

Sr. Kathleen Burns, IHM, EdD
Director of Web Development
Marywood University
2300 Adams Ave
Scranton, PA 18509
<a href="tel:(570)%20348-6211" target="_blank">570-348-6211 x 2340
[hidden email]
http://www.marywood.edu



You are currently subscribed to [hidden email].
To unsubscribe send an email to [hidden email] with the subject line unsubscribe uwebd. Leave the message body blank. If you experience problems, contact list owner Eric Kreider at [hidden email]. More information is available at: http://www.uakron.edu/webteam/university-web-developers.dot






 

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Re: URLs for consolidating department names

Bauserman, Andrew A
In reply to this post by Sr Kathleen Mary Burns
Late on the reply as usual. FWIW, here's our tuppence-ha'penny...

+1 to Dan for mentioning YOURLs. Our home-grown solution that pre-dates YOURLs, but serves the same function. No sense writing your own at this point.

+1 to Michael for "human-readable" URLs and 301 redirects for previous & common names. We use this method for our Vanity URLs.

Our official web sites are a "grove of rooted trees" – meaning each graduate & professional school gets a server (one tree in the grove), and all departments, programs & offices are (branches) organized below that. This makes for dead-simple CMS and breadcrumb structure, but long URLs, like:
  http://www.wm.edu/offices/it/services/email/exchange/

Therefore, every department, program & office gets a single*, short, root-level Vanity redirect; and any number of sub-redirects. For instance:
 http://www.wm.edu/it/ ==> http://www.wm.edu/offices/it/
and:
 http://www.wm.edu/it/exchange ==> http://www.wm.edu/offices/it/services/email/exchange/

Here's our "policy" on vanity URLs:
  http://www.wm.edu/offices/webanddesign/web/vanityurls/

* We try to limit each department to one vanity URL under which they actively advertise redirects. Many departments also have historical names and such.

BTW – Internally, we strongly discourage using both DNS shortname.wm.edu *AND* Vanity/301 www.wm.edu/shortname redirects for the same site. We require departments, programs & offices on www.wm.edu to use the latter, while external systems (like box.net) get DNS redirects (like box.wm.edu). Except where we don't :(

Both Google & our users seem pretty happy with this arrangement.

YMMV.

--
Andrew Bauserman
University Web & Design
William & Mary



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