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Category: Best Practices

The Importance of Human Readable URLs

h3. Best Practice
bq. Use human readable URLs
h3. Rationale
This is human readable:
http://www.bestbuy.com/electronics/research
This is not:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?id=cat12074&type=page&categoryRep=cat03000
The problem with complex URLs is three-fold:
# A human cannot “reverse engineer” a URL to figure out where they are in the site or what might be “one level higher”. Human readable URLs allow you to “cut off” the end of the URL and get to a higher level in the site. URLs that reflect the site’s page layout also act as a secondary way-finding tool.
# It is hard to share URLs that are not human readable. If you cut and paste a complex URL into an e-mail to share it, often the URL will break in two because it is too long to fit on one line. This creates a broken link for the recipient.
# Some search engines have a hard time with overly complex URLs and you may find that many of your pages are not accessible to search engine “bots” looking for your content.

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Building Trust – Explain How You Make Money

h3. Best Practice
bq. Explain how your site makes money, or how and why it is funded if this is not apparent. This adds to the site’s credibility and overcomes fears that the site may be a scam of some sort.
h3. Rationale
Not all sites are what they appear to be and people are becoming wary of new sites as an increasing number of online scam stories are covered in the media and passed around as urban myth.
People are taught (rightly) that “if it is too good to be true, it is”. This has implications for legitimate corporate web sites and web-based applications (Web 2.0 take note).

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New Category – Best Practices

Just a quick note to point out that we’ve added a new category for “Best Practices” to capture tips, design patterns, and other recommendations for “standard operating procedures” for any self-respecting web site, e-mail program, or marketing campaign.

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Some People Think TD.com Is Always Offline

Do you type the www. whenever you want to visit a site? No? Well, you are not alone.
Just as we learned that we didn’t need to say “http://” when promoting a domain, many marketers are now dropping the www as well.
And since most sites are set up to redirect users to the web site even without the www, people are learning they can cut out four keystrokes by skipping the “dub-dub-dub”.
But what happens if _your_ web site isn’t configured correctly?
You end up turning customers away like the TD Bank has been doing for years now.
Try going to “td.com”:http://td.com – here’s what you see:
TD.com Unavailable image
Loads of visitors will look at this message and assume that their site is down (or has been hacked or something).
Some might guess that TD just mis-configured their servers and try again with the www but the vast majority will assume the site is down.

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