When constructing system names, please adhere to the following best practices:
- Keep System Names short, using 1-3 relevant keywords
- Use only lowercase letters
- Separate keywords with hyphens
- Use numbers sparingly
- Do not use spaces or underscores
Where Do System Names Appear?
The System Name of a page is the name that appears online at the end of the URL (.html will be automatically appended during publishing). It is also the name that is displayed in the navigation panel in Cascade.
For example: The URL for a page with the system name “about” will be www.brandeis.edu/your-site/about.html
The System Name of a non-page asset — such as an image or PDF — will not be as visible to someone visiting your site, but a descriptive System Name still important for search engine optimization (SEO). It is also helpful to you as a web editor.
Scannable System Names
Consider these two possible System Names. Which makes it easier to guess the content of the photo without clicking on it?
If you have an images folder with 30 images within it, a descriptive System Name like commencement-speaker-richardson.jpg allows you to scan the contents of the folder and find what you’re looking for faster.
Examples of Correct and Incorrect System Names
Numbers in System Names
Let's say you are creating a new page for an event. Should you use the year in the System Name?
In most cases, no. A year is usually not necessary in the System Name and can even cause problems in the future. If you are updating a page annually, you wouldn't want to have to change the System Name every year. Aside from being more work for you, renaming the page will break any links from other websites to your site. So whenever possible, avoid creating links that are too specific.
- Commencement happens every year. The System Name for the Commencement Website is www.brandeis.edu/commencement not www.brandeis.edu/commencement-2017
- Perhaps there is a PDF of an application that needs to be updated every year on your site. Let's call the form application-major.pdf. If the form needs to be updated, you should replace that application-major.pdf file rather than upload a new pdf with a new name, like application-major-2017.pdf. If you don't replace/update the old file, it will still be indexed by search engines and can be found by potential applicants.