A web site by any other name…

Owners of blogs & web sites on Middlebury’s WordPress site were asked their opinion on a proposed change in the URL (address) of the site from “sites.middlebury.edu” to “sites.middlebury.edu”. The change was proposed to the Web Prioritization Committee as a way “…to provide faculty (and others) using WP as a content management system, personal website, research portfolio, conference proceedings, or other collection of information with a more neutral-sounding domain name than “sites.middlebury.edu.””

We’ve had 179 responses to our two-question survey, which went out to 929 WP users.

The response to first question shows a 63% agreement rate (or an 85% non-disagree rate).

siteSurveyResultsThe second question was an optional “Why?” “Why not?” comment, and many respondents took the opportunity to explain their choices. There were 79 comments.

Typical of the “yes” respondents’ comments:

“Absolutely agree. While this does not change the essence of the thing, what something is called still carries a great weight – “sites” is a much more versatile term and lends greater freedom to this URL series. “

“ A blog has a reputation as something homegrown, of someone writing their thoughts on a particular topic. Sites sounds more like a neutral label as just something listed online. I like it.”

“I do not like to think of my site as a blog, as it has a lot of information that is not chronologically-ordered. This would be a terrific change!”


Some comments expressed valid concerns, here they are with an explanation of the impact:

“I think we might need to update every single go link for all the middgoal posts and middstart posts we have out there. Who knows what links the students have been promoting… Seems like a major pain for what really is a minor change. If there is a workaround for this that I don’t know about, then go for it.”

“I have been working for a long time at having people connect to my blog.  If you change it, all those links will be broken, and with it I will lose readership.”

There will be a permanent redirect for the new URLs, anyone clicking on the old URL will still visit your site. Also, sites with their own URL (http://southchinasea.org, http://middstart.middlebury.edu, etc.) without “blogs” in the URL will not see a change.

“…will this mess up google rankings, searching, etc.?”

There may be a minor impact on rankings, but factors like credible resources linking to your site have a higher impact. In addition, because of the change we made last January, you can still track your site in Google Analytics.


The Web Prioritization Committee approved this change at the January 24th meeting, we will let you know when the change will take place.


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