The websites of large organizations such as government offices, academic institutions and commercial enterprises may include thousands of pages representing many divisions and employees under a single domain. Management of these websites requires an organized hierarchical file directory structure specifying the locations of pages and documents from diverse divisions and sub-divisions within the enterprise structure. This document recommends standards for naming file directories within websites of organizations, enterprises and their sub-divisions.
1. Organization URL
- Each organization should have its own domain.
- If the organization operates in one country, It should preferably use a Country-code Top-level Domain (.il for Israel).
- The home page of the organization should NOT be redirected, i.e. entering just the domain name should display the home page. This is simply achieved by defining a default page (such as Default.htm, index.htm) that is automatically called by the server. If a default page is defined, it is not displayed by the server. Redirection of home page to a different page is not recommended because it is not efficient for search engine listings and it takes up time in server redirection. In my experience as the webmaster of this website, I have seen home page addresses changed many times apparently because of a change of webmaster or change of coding language such as asp or php. This leads to instability of address and reduced rating in search engine rankings.
2. Department or Subdivision URL
- Directory Structure: Each department or sub-division of the organization should be assigned a separate directory.
Do not forget the terminal slash at the end of the directory name. The correct form is http://www.tau.ac.il/geophysics/ and not http://www.tau.ac.il/geophysics. Omission of the terminal "/" causes the server to execute one more step of lookup and redirection.
- Subdomain names: A subdivision may be assigned a subdomain name that points to a specific directory. A subdomain should not have the prefix of "www".
- Directory default file name: Each directory should be assigned a default file name, so that entering just the URL such as http://www.tau.ac.il/geophysics/ should display the Home Page of that division. Many sites do not follow this rule and entering the directory name leads to display of a page with directory structure, or an error code.
- Meaningful names: The names used for the directories should be as much as possible full names, or widely accepted abbreviations.
Good example: Use http://www.tau.ac.il/socialwork/
Bad example: http://www.biu.ac.il/SOC/cr/
- Webmaster contact: Each sub-division homepage should have an e-mail form or address for contacting the webmaster or editor of the website.
- Major organizational events, such as conferences organized by the organization should be organized under separate directories as specified above for departments and sub-divisions.
4. Personal pages
- Personal pages of staff members should be listed in sub-directories under each specific department.
5. Bi-Lingual websites
- Some organizations that have bilingual sites organize language specific files under specific directories.
For example: Hebrew specific files could be organized under a directory named with a 2- or 3-letter abbreviation of the language.
- Language specific directory should be at the level of the lowest division. For example, Hebrew pages of a department could have an address such as:
http://www.college.ac.il/chemistry/heb/ rather than
These specifications are based on the following considerations:
- Stability of links: Broken links that result from frequently changed URLs is a major problem on the internet. Adherence to standards should reduce dependence on the whims of a webmaster and coding habits, and thus improve stability of the links.
- Search engine listings: Many search engines do not index pages with scripted URLs such as:
Clearly defined site organization within directories may improve listings and rankings in search engine searches.
- Presentable links: The standards here should help each department present a respectable URL. What would look better on the card of a department member:
- Ease of use: Well defined URLs facilitate remembering URLs and manual entry of URLs in the absence of a link. This is especially so, with the current versions of browsers with automatic domain completion.
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