Frequently Asked Questions

Some of my pages have very long urls. How do I fix that?

By following a few simple guidelines, your pages can have nice, concise urls.

  1. Don't create too many levels in your site. One way to do this is to keep from having too few children per page, and your site will be "wider" rather than "deeper". Too many children is a problem, too -- we think an ideal number is in the range of 4-8 children per page. Another way to think about it is this -- a page with one child, which has a child, which has a child, will create terribly long urls!
  2. Use terse, non-redundant url fragments. If your page has repeated words in the url, you could probably remove some of that redundancy. For example, if a page is at the url /curricular/deptname/majors/deptname_major_guide/, its url_fragment could be sensibly changed to just "guide," shortening the full url to the more concise /curricular/deptname/majors/guide/. Think about the full url as a noun, where the page's parent and grandparent are adjectives.
  3. Use short words if possible. So, in an extreme example, comprehensive_exercise_presentations becomes comps_talks.
  4. Eliminate underscores. Sometimes they are useful, but they are hard to type, and often they can be removed. So daily_specials becomes dailyspecials.
  5. Use abbreviations and acronyms, but with caution. Commonly understood abbreviations and acronyms are fine, but avoid ones that are only understood within your office or profession.
  6. Use lower-case letters exclusively. Upper-case letters are hard to type, and are not common within urls, so they confuse people browsing your site. Besides, they take up more space than lower-case letters!
By following these simple guuildelines, you can slim down just about any site's web addresses. If you still need yet shorter urls for use in email or print, try go.carleton.edu.
  • Matt Ryan, 19 July 2004
  • Keywords: URL, long, web address, shorter, url fragment, directory structure

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