URL request guidelines

Vanity URLs are short, easy to remember and type URLs used for marketing and promotional campaigns. These URLs redirect users to a longer URL and can often drive more traffic to your site. Examples incldude: www.sfu.ca/custom-url or www.sfu.ca/department/custom-url. These URLs redirect the user to the full URL where the page is located.

If you're looking at creating redirects because your web page has changed its location permanently, please visit the URL redirects page.

Vanity URL options

There are a number of options available for vanity URLs. These include:

  1.  Creating a vanity URL within your own domain, i.e. www.sfu.ca/human-resources/custom-url. These URLs do not require approval and can be implemented immediately. Please follow the AEM documentation or connect with the site admin for a vanity URL within a website.
  2. Updating your homepage content to act as a landing page and using the main URL from your website (i.e - www.sfu.ca/department)

  3. If your site URL is too long (i.e. - www.sfu.ca/international-studies) please reach out to C&M via the URL request form and we can discuss if there an alternate top-level URL that can be created for the entire site (i.e. - www.sfu.ca/is)

  4. Requesting a top-level vanity URL.

Top-level vanity URL guidelines

Top-level vanity URLs differ from the vanity URL options above because they are simply composed of SFU.ca and an additional word or two directly following the domain name. For example, www.sfu.ca/custom-url.

These URLs are reserved for:

  • Institutional-wide priorities. Examples include:
    • Equity, diversity and inclusion
    • Student Experience Initiative
    • Campus-wide issues. For example - the potential transit strike
  • Temporary campaigns (less than 4 months). Examples include:
    • Recruitment campaigns
    • Promoting events www.sfu.ca/events/WORD

Vanity URL considerations

If you are requesting a vanity URL or putting one in place on your website, please consider the following:

  • Check that the URL isn't already being used

  • If you are using an acronym, search for the acronym on social and Google to ensure it is not being used for another or unintended purpose. 

  • The URL structure should be sfu.ca/convocation, not convocation.sfu.ca

  • Make the URL clear and concise 

    • Use sfu.ca/convocation not sfu.ca/convocation-ceremony or sfu.ca/convo

  • Use specific keywords relevant to your site/page 

    • Do not use acronyms that are used for other common terms outside of SFU (i.e. PMP is a common term for Project Management Professional)

  • Search on Google and social to check the word/acronym is not being used by another program/unit at SFU

  • Match URLs to site/page titles where it makes sense 

  • Consider URL length and ease of use for mobile devices

    • The destination page should be mobile and tablet-friendly

  • Keep it consistent with social media channels

  • No caps or special characters (hyphens are fine)

  • Don't include stock words (and, or, but, of, the)

How do I get a vanity URL?

Any new top-level vanity URLs or new website URLs, i.e. www.sfu.ca/custom-url, need to be submitted via the URL request form. Top-level vanity URLs are subject to approval by the Communications & Marketing team. Approvals can take between 2-3 weeks after being submitted. If you are requesting a URL to be used on promotional material please note the following:

  1. Wait for URL approval before including it on promotional materials.  

  2. Add www. in front of the URL as users who access SFU.ca URLs outside of the SFU network will receive an error if they only enter sfu.ca in their browser. We want to instruct them to use www.sfu.ca instead.