Web Domain Guidelines
WSU discourages employees from purchasing and using anything other than a .edu domain to represent the university. Using a .edu domain to represent institutions of higher education is the industry standard. Per 2023 best practices and standards, using a .com, .org, .net, etc. domain negatively impacts:
- Security: Having multiple account holders representing the university without any oversight leaves the university open to security risks should an account holder leave the university or use a third party entity with unverified security credentials.
- SEO (Search Engine Optomization): The implication of multiple .coms, .orgs, etc. associated with the Weber State brand divides audiences and our potential authority on Weber State content.
- Recruitment: With the recognized authority of .edu domains pertaining to educational entities including higher education institutions, .com domains can confuse and negatively impact potential students.
- Branding/Legitimacy: The use of a .com, .org, etc. domain can dilute the known Weber State brand and create confusion among users. Lack of oversight also creates an environment where Weber State branding could be used inappropriately.
- Crosslinking/Broken Links: If at a later point an employee or group abandons a non-.edu domain, it would be detrimental to the Weber State brand and online security should that URL be co-opted by another group unrelated to higher education or the link go dead with the hyperlink still being used on weber.edu web pages. Site Manager, which hosts the .edu domain, has the capability to show crosslinks internally to prevent broken links when unpublishing pages.
Existing domains outside of .edu as of Aug. 4, 2023, are grandfathered in and therefore exempt from this guideline.
WSU Athletics is exempt from this guideline, as a .com domain is the industry standard for college athletics. As of 2023, all higher education athletics programs in Utah except Snow College use a .com domain, as well as every Big Sky athletic program.
Student media groups are exempt from this guideline, as a .com domain is the industry standard and speaks to editorial independence.
Exceptions may be made in times of crisis, such as a health and safety issue or emergency where using a .com, .org, etc. domain is deemed the most effective way to communicate as determined by Web & Digital Management Portfolio, Public Safety, IT or the affected division.