Common URL Structure

For all website designers and administrators, especially those with multiple sites, a common URL structure is the key to sanity. Of course this also works for those who only have one website. After all, best practices for busy site designers are best practices for those with a single site, as well.

Common URL Structure

Basic Rules for a Common URL Structure

The basic rules are simplicity, memorability, interpretability, and consistency.

For example, with Contact pages, should they be labeled /contact or /contact-us? Here, /contact is the simpler choice. The page title can of course be different. We are dealing with underlying URLs here, not the other layers.

Form Submission Pages

For Form submissions, the recommendation is to use nouns and verbs, in a hierarchical structure, as in:







include various nouns as applicable (especially for tracking purposes by url, such as contact, registration, payment, subscription, newsletters, etc.)

Boilerplate Document URLs

All websites need Terms of Use and Copyright information, but this call all be lumped into a single /policies page. These are the website policies, rather than the organization or product/service policies. Those policies are better named Terms and Conditions and can be easily inserted at the url /terms. Frequently Asked Questions should be placed at either /faq or /faqs, but since /faq is simpler, that is the better choice (again, the page can have its own unique title, this is merely the URL structure.

General Rules for Content Pages

The basic rules are to try and be brief, yet memorable, descriptive, yet keyword-focused. This is not always simple, and there can be many possible URLs for any given page. Use redirections when changing already established URLs, or when the 404 logs show people searching for or linking to non-existent pages.

via Jeff McNeill


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