Accepted standard for printed URL display?
November 15, 2005 12:29 PM   Subscribe

Is there an de facto business standard for displaying URLs on printed materials?

My organization is creating flyers for an event, with a supplementary website address. Obviously the "real" address of the site is something like

Is there any kind of guideline about how abbreviated you can get that? I think people would still be able to get there with just, but I'm wondering if there's an accepted marketing standard, or if it generally just comes down to aesthetics.
posted by shaneflyer to Media & Arts (10 answers total)
Keeping http:// just helps determine at a glance what the information is, like the common and equally superfluous phone number formatting (###) ###-####. I'd leave it. There's no good reason to specify index.html though, but you might add a trailing slash, as I think it's a bit more technically correct and understandable. (default file in directory event/ and not a file called event in the root directory with no extension).
posted by moift at 12:41 PM on November 15, 2005

Work with your website staff to make the shortest possible URL. For instance, if it ends in /menu.html, then set up an appropriate .htaccess so that menu.html is the default file that comes up for that path.

Don't include www if you don't have to, and you probably don't. Subdomains are also nice for compressing paths. Instead of, you can have

...with appropriate web-server settings, of course, which is key. It's no big deal to redirect them to the longer URL once they hit the short one.
posted by odinsdream at 12:45 PM on November 15, 2005

Whatever you do to shorten the path, make sure that there's a link to your event available from the front page of, because that's all a lot of people will remember and type in.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:56 PM on November 15, 2005

I don't think it is cut-and-dried quite yet (there are a lot of un-savvy people out there still) Consider your audience WRT www. vs no-www: /

It is audience but also TLD. .com I would say you could almost universally omit the www. Your average person, seeing on the bottom of an ad, can probably intuit that it is a URL. But if it is, say, ? nu-uh.
posted by misterbrandt at 1:04 PM on November 15, 2005

Yeah, anyone with a web browser will understand ".com", so will work fine, provided that it actually works when you type it into a browser.
posted by mendel at 1:06 PM on November 15, 2005

Of course, isn't much better :)
posted by misterbrandt at 1:20 PM on November 15, 2005

Speaking as a marketer/designer, on printed materials I always include the "www" and the ".com".


It's not that I don't think even moderately sophisticated people would recognize as a web address, but adding the "www" makes it pop more in my mind. We're keyed to look for patterns, and that's a big one when it comes to web addresses.

I would never use the "http://", and I would try very hard to avoid any path after the ".com" portion.
posted by willnot at 1:36 PM on November 15, 2005

I'd say it depends on your audience:
Most aesthetic:
Most understandable:
Web 2.0ish:

I'd say don't write the trailing slash, and you shouldn't put anything after the ".com" portion. The event information should be very visible from the front page, or just buy a cheap domain for it.
posted by Sharcho at 4:30 PM on November 15, 2005

Instead of, you can have

Yes you can. But I'll tell you from bitter experience that people who see that will go to their browser and add the 'www' anyway.

So, dumb as it may be, if you set up, you should also set up as an alias to it.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 5:01 PM on November 15, 2005

Definitely leave off the "index.html". That's just extraneous, the link will work fine without it. This is one of my pet peeves, URLs that are made needlessly longer for not purpose. The entire purpose of naming the file "index.html" is so that it is the default index page displayed if nothing is specified.

I also feel that "www." is really unnecessary. Some people will add it though, so make sure it works either way. But these days I'd never create a site that required "www." to function, as that is just silly.
posted by Rhomboid at 8:42 PM on November 15, 2005

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