Website Support Clinic update – Avoiding repetition

At a recent Website Support Clinic, I worked with a web publisher on a site that repeated the site title in navigation text and URLs. To help readers scanning information on your site, avoid repetition and place trigger words at the left.

Trigger words

As we teach in our Writing for the Web course, web users read in an F-shaped pattern, scanning information down the page once they get past the first few paragraphs. As such, you want to make sure you are putting your important keywords at the left-hand side of your content.

The same applies to navigation menus. You should put trigger words at the start of your navigation text to aid web readers in finding the correct link.

In this clinic session, the site was about Service X, and the menu titles were things like X for staff, X for students and X resources. Your navigation menu text in this case should just read Staff, Students and Resources.

If you’re putting your site title everywhere because you think it will help with search engine results, don’t forget the title already appears on every page of your site in the banner and breadcrumbs.

Friendly URLs

Similarly, avoid repetition in your URLs. Our guidelines state that URLs should use whole words separated by hyphens, but we also advise a fine balance between URLs that are too short with unrecognizable abbreviations and those that are too long with repeated words.

Consider the difference between:

www.ed.ac.uk/studying/visiting-exchange-students/programmes/parliamentary-programme/about-parliamentary-programme

and

www.ed.ac.uk/stuyding/visiting-exchange-students/programmes/parliamentary/about

The URL segment for your homepage will be included in all other URLs in your site, so no need to include the site title in the URL segments for child pages.

Remember that EdWeb autocompletes URLs, so be sure to double check what EdWeb autocompletes and remove any unnecessary repetition, as well as short words like ‘and’ and ‘the’.

Friendly URLs wiki guidance

Get in touch

If you’d like assistance or advice with any website task, drop us an email to book a support session.

Email Website Support

Website Support Clinics information

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