Setting URL aliases is not always necessary, but a good URL strategy can make it easier for users to navigate web content. The following is a guide on how to choose a sensible URL strategy for individual sites. UAS editors should engage with this guidance to ensure their URLs are as user-friendly as possible.
Please note that URL aliases should ideally be set before your website goes live.
Default settings - T4 Sitemanager v Mosaic
In Sitemanager, the URLs of individual pages replicate the navigation path a user would take to find the page on the site, for example:
Mosaic, by default, creates URLs by only using the original page title of the page (meaning that if a page title is changed later, the URL does not automatically change with it):
This means editors should make sure to choose appropriate page titles when they first create a page.
What is an alias?
Aliases are alternative URLs that you can set up for individual webpages. A webpage can have any number of aliases. Whichever alias you set to be the 'primary' or 'preferred' one will be the default URL for that page within the Mosaic system. Users can still reach the page by typing one of the other aliases into their browser.
Please note that tools like Google Analytics will show stats for all the URLs users have used to find your pages. If you know that users are using two different aliases to reach a page, you have to remember to add up those numbers in any web traffic report.
When is a URL alias strategy necessary?
Mosaic follows a task based approach – the idea that every page meets a unique user need, and URLs reflecting those. This approach works best for smaller sites with fewer than 100 content pages.
For bigger sites, however, it makes sense to develop a URL alias strategy. Mosaic allows editors to set aliases for each page and to choose a 'preferred' URL alias. On each page, this setting can be found under ‘URL path settings’.
What is a good URL strategy?
The keyword is consistency. URLs should help the user, for example when they are looking for a specific page in their browser history. URLs should be unique, and contain enough information for users to distinguish pages that deal with the same topic.
It is not necessary to replicate the entire breadcrumb in the URL.
Two approaches to URL aliases are outlined below. You can follow only one or combine them, but remember to be consistent throughout your site.