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
(e.g., .il for Israel).
- The homepage of the organization should NOT be redirected, i.e. entering just the domain name should display the homepage. This is achieved simply by defining a default page (a file name such as Default.htm, index.html) that is automatically called by the server. If a default page is defined, the default file name is not displayed by the server. Redirection of the homepage to a different page is not recommended because it is not efficient for search engine listings, and it takes up time in server redirection. As a webmaster, I have seen homepage addresses changed many times for various reasons such as change of the webmaster or modification of the coding languages such as ASP to PHP. This change leads to instability of the address and reduces rating in search engine rankings.
- A GOOD example of a homepage WITHOUT redirection: https://www.jerusalem.muni.il/
- A BAD example of a homepage WITH redirection:
https://www.lod.muni.il/ is redirected to https://www.lod.muni.il/he-il/אתר-העיר/
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. Omission of the terminal "/" may cause the server to execute one more steps of lookup and redirection.
- Subdomain names: A division within an organization 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 https://geosciences.tau.ac.il/ should display the Homepage 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: https://social-work.biu.ac.il/
Bad example: https://in.bgu.ac.il/humsos/social/Pages/default.aspx
- 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-letter abbreviation of the language.
- A 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:
https://www.college.ac.il/chemistry/he/ rather than
These specifications are based on the following considerations:
- Stability of the 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 the 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 the ranking 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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