Web Tips: Long Web addresses

October 9, 2003: Issue 69

SIM STYLE: Does SIM have a style on dealing with especially long
Web addresses?
Yes, but first we must make the distinction between a Web site and a Web page. Let’s look at two examples:

The first is long, but it’s the full address for a Web site. We know it will take us to the sponsoring organization’s home page because it ends in “.com” (it could also end in “.net,” “.org,” or any number of other extensions). We may have to break the address over two lines (see “Rerun” below), but if we’re going to run it, we have to run the whole thing.

The second example directs readers to a specific page within a Web site. The slash after the “.com” tells the Web browser to go to that site, then look for a file in a subdirectory. Each subsequent slash takes the browser into another subdirectory. Sending a user to a specific page this way is called “deep linking,” and it’s something we should avoid.

Not only is it hard on readers (who wants to have to type that all in exactly right?), companies aren’t particularly fond of it, as it allows users to bypass pages of advertising. Addresses for specific Web pages tend to change frequently, too, so a link that worked when your magazine went to service bureau may no longer work when it hits the newsstands.

So what should you do? Send readers to a Web site, then tell them how to navigate to the appropriate information. In this case, something like this:
correct: For more information, visit www.sip.com. Click on “Resources,” then “20 Reasons to Work Here.”

GRAMMAR: Aren’t concrete and cement the same thing?
Nope. It’s ALWAYS a concrete patio, concrete floors, or concrete countertops, never cement. Cement is the dry powder that goes into a concrete mix.

Back to Style on the Go Archive
Back to BHG Stylebook Table of Contents

Comments are closed.