Dedicated council guidance for domain naming

Local authorities should avoid creating multiple domains for promotional activities, according to new guidance from central government.

The Government Digital Service, part of the Cabinet Office, yesterday announced that it had updated guidance on registering government domain names.

It has split the guidance, originally produced in the middle of last decade, into separate guidance for central and local government.

In a blog post, Evans Bissessar, chair of the GDS naming and approvals committee, said: “When we moved the guidance to GOV.UK we took this opportunity to…revise the guidelines.

“We are separating them into two different journeys as each needed to consider the specific needs and demands of their area and be fit for purpose.”

The guidance says that the strength of a domain name is to help citizens associate them with a well-known local government body.

But it added: “That strength is easily undermined if an authority uses multiple domains.

“To keep the number of domains under control, domain names are allocated to local government organisations, not to local marketing campaigns or initiatives.

“Local authorities should expect to use their main domain with a folder name for promotional web addresses (e.g. as this reinforces the reputation of the domain.”

The guidance also recommends that urls should be easy to say, so that they are “easily understood when communicated verbally and to reduce human error.”

It said that councils should avoid the use of hyphens or underscores in URLs.

Local authorities should not use a domain name on promotional material or other media until NAC has given formal approval, the guidance added.

It said: “NAC will not be responsible for any project costs incurred by breaching this rule. Failure to secure approval prior to printing or communication errors is no

Colin Marrs

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