Vanity URL Guidelines

Web page addresses, URLs, are based on the folder structure of the website. The index page of the folder does not have to include index.html, but all other pages must end with html. For example, is the index page for the folder. The Former Returning Students page is within that folder and is at

This default URL structure satisfies the needs for the majority of our campus.

In certain cases, alternative vanity URLs may be needed when existing web addresses are too long for a marketing campaign where it needs to be easily remembered or is for print when a QR code is not sufficient. A vanity URL is a shorter web address that is easier to remember and easier to type into a web browser. These vanity URLS redirect a user to the longer URL for that page. The instances where we create and enable these types of redirects are detailed below.

Keep in mind that when printing, most people will use a QR code to use their phones to pull up the page. For digital purposes, it is easier to have a link they click on. Most people will do a search for the page rather than type in even a short URL.

Permanence and Maintenance Concerns

A key concept to keep in mind with regards to vanity URLs is that once enabled and used by visitors, it is difficult to remove a vanity URL from active use or assign it to a different page. Since it is unknown how long communications containing a URL will be circulated or used, the creation of a vanity URL essentially claims that address and nomenclature for the foreseeable future. Subsequent vanity URLs will have to use different, and possibly less effective, alternatives. As such, we traditionally shy away from using generic terms for vanity URLs. Specificity will also help with Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Request Process

Requests for new vanity URLs must be sent to MPR Web Team via the Marketing Web Services Request form. Each request needs to contain:

  1. The suggested vanity URL,
  2. The web address that visitors will be redirected to, and
  3. Brief description and justification explaining why the vanity URL is needed.

These requests will be reviewed by the MPR Web Team in collaboration with the management team, utilizing the criteria below.


  • Vanity URL is unique.
  • Vanity URL accurately describes the destination or campaign.
  • No confusion or ambiguity with the desired vanity URL exists.
  • No anticipated conflicts with future use.
  • No potential branding issues.
  • Short code, e.g. bitly, or QR code will not suffice.

If approved, the Web Team will enable the vanity URL. If there is a question, MPR Web Team will contact the requestor with possible alternative solutions.