Council shortens cumbersome URL

A council has adopted a new URL after deciding that the previous version it had adopted was too unwieldy at 36 characters in length.

Derry City and Strabane District Council adopted the name  in October 2014 in advance of local government reorganisation in Northern Ireland, which came into force this April.

At a meeting this week, councillors voted to shorten to the URL to

A report to the governance and strategic planning committee said: “The URL is currently 36 characters in length which enhances the opportunity for spelling mistakes when entering the URL in respective search engines.”

“If a domain name requires considerable attention to type correctly, due to spelling, length or the use of un-memorable words or sounds, there is the potential to lose a portion of the branding and marketing value it possesses.”

In addition, the length of the previous web address meant that it had to be shrunk on marketing artwork.

The problem was exacerbated when the council created sub-sites using the main URL – leading to addresses of more than 50 characters.

In advance of a second phase of the website’s development, the council has decided to address the issue and rename the website.

The council’s marketing and communications team came up with the new name after identifying that “Derry” and “Strabane” and the most searched keywords used to reach the site.

“This URL provides the most accurate representation of this council where search engine optimisation is concerned whilst also complying with DOE guidelines on local government body domain names,” the report said.

Email addresses for staff will match the website address, taking the form

The estimated cost of amending the URL is estimated at around £400, the council said.

The issue is not the first naming issue to hit the new “super council”. In December, unionist councillors objected to the use of “Derry” rather than “Londonderry” in the naming of the new council.

Colin Marrs

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