Web Address Standards

The purpose of these standards is to provide web developers with a common set of rules to follow for web address naming. These rules are applied equitably across all areas of the University. Consistency in the use of naming conventions for web addresses is both a matter of best practice and improving ease of navigation. Adoption and strict use of University file-naming conventions is essential.

  1. The following standards for web addresses will improve promotion of web pages. The relative ease of giving out the full web address over the telephone or including it in an email message is facilitated by using short names that follow consistent naming conventions.
    1. To the greatest extent possible, all primary web addresses—those for offices, colleges, departments and campus services, will be composed of a single, relevant, easy to spell, easy to remember, easy to market, English language word. Examples: wmich.edu/music, wmich.edu/admissions
      • Existing web addresses will be honored to the greatest extent practical.
      • The Office of University Relations will determine assignment of web addresses for common words, which might apply to a variety of units within the University. For example, words such as academics, art, business, conferences, education, engineering, faculty, health, language, leadership, learning, news, research, resources, students and others, which might apply to a variety of units, will be assigned based on institutional priorities.
    2. In those cases in which a single word is not practical or has already been assigned, multiple words may be used. Hyphenation should be avoided unless absence of hyphenation produces an undesirable combination. Example: /facultysenate/ is preferable to /faculty-senate/.
    3. Acronyms and abbreviations should be avoided to the greatest extent practical. Exceptions will be made in those cases where the initials are commonly known to the general public. Examples: /it for information technology, /ot for occupational therapy
    4. Names describing common functions have been identified and established as Universitywide standards (e.g., /contact leads to a standard page containing relevant contact information. Contact information for the University resides at wmich.edu/contact, and for the Department of Dance at wmich.edu/dance/contact).
  2. The following standards for file names are consistent with best practices. They are recommended to facilitate usability and marketing.
    1. Do not use blank spaces, underscores, or special characters in file names.
    2. Use lowercase for all web addresses. It is far less confusing when giving web addresses over the phone if they are all lowercase rather than mixed case addresses. Use only lowercase letters, numbers and hyphens.