Lately, I've received quite a few requests from various areas of my college for what I consider "vanity" URLs at the top level. People want redirects to short web addresses and the request are flying in.
Aside from the obvious SEO concerns, it's the capacity issues in my office for managing redirects and the apparent thought process on campus here that everyone "needs" a top level URL for their page really concerns me.
How you are handling this issue, assuming you've run up against this as well?
I've waxed and waned in my response to these requests. In a lot of ways, I think it depends on the size of your institution (the larger it is, the harder it should be) and the level of potential interest/competition/politics in the request ( /students/ or /success/ probably harder to get than /clubsports/ or /greeklife/).
We don't organize our web site information architecture by the org chart, right? So why do we insist that administrative offices that manage discrete functions tie all those functions together into one Office of X web site? What happens when you get a new VP and responsibilities get shifted around? I think we might better have more sites than fewer. It's a lot easier to change an admin than to move web content from one responsible office's site to another.
The majority of our sites are at vanity domains (admissions.nd.edu, al.nd.edu, law.nd.edu, etc). This stems partly from the fact that each of these properties is its own site. We don't host any department/college sites as part of our main site (nd.edu), so there is already that functional disconnect.
Yes, we have a similar set-up with a "multi-site" decentralization. However, the requests coming in now are mainly for redirects from an existing internal page to receive an additional top-level URL. We also have many pages with nice clean top level addresses. These sites went through a year-long process with Web Team to be part of the decentralization. The requests now are on top of that, and in some cases areas that chose not to participate in the re-org process and are coming to the party now. Any thoughts on how to handle this (more politically than technically)?
If they're just for redirects, then we require them to have a VERY good reason for it. This might be an opportunity for you to get these groups inline. Either decentralize and get your vanity, or live with what you have.
easier said than done, right?! ;) Can you elaborate on what you are considering a very good reason? I'd love to have some sort of guideline of what another institution is doing, as that seems to work in terms of stating best practices, if I can say such-n-such school does it this way.......
The "very good reason" usually comes down to someone with a lot of clout saying approve it. I wish I could give you a better answer than that.
hahaha, so I'm not alone.. We are in the same boat, it appears!