The Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU)’s website (www.cciu.org) is home to many schools, programs and services which can make it difficult to point an audience to a specific section or page. In order to enable more direct linking opportunities, the CCIU has approved the use of three web shortcut options: URL redirects, shortened URLs and QR codes.
A URL redirect is when you develop a school-specific URL address that then redirects to the specific site or section for that school within the www.cciu.org website. This shortcut is most valuable for our CCIU schools where audiences may be searching for a website specific to the school’s name. There are additional costs and set-up required for this type of short-cut, so specific approvals must be obtained not only from Communications but also from IT.
Existing URL redirects include:
- technicalcollegehighschool.org - redirects to main TCHS landing page
- tchsbrandywine.org - redirects to homepage of TCHS Brandywine
- tchspennocks.org - redirects to homepage of TCHS Pennock’s Bridge
- tchspickering.org - redirects to homepage of TCHS Pickering
- chestercountynursing.org - redirects to homepage of the Practical Nursing Program
- bvapa.org - redirects to homepage of Brandywine Virtual Academy
A shortened URL is, in essence, a naming structure that condenses the actual page URL down to a more user-friendly version. All shortened URLs will begin with www.cciu.org and will then follow with a back-slash (/) and a chosen name extension. For example, www.cciu.org/preschool is a shortened URL that directs visitors to the main preschool special education landing page.
Communications can assist you with the development of a shortened URL. Please consider the following before requesting a shortened URL:
- Will the shortened URL be mentioned in marketing materials specific to the directed page? Shortened URLs are needed primarily when websites are mentioned within print marketing collateral. If the page will not be specifically promoted or will only be promoted via digital methods, a shortened URL is often unnecessary.
- Is your name extension short and relevant? The purpose of a shortened URL is to make it easier for your audience not only to remember the website but be able to access the page easier. While the name extension should accurately reflect the page it will link to, the character length should be kept to a minimum. For example, rather than selecting a shortened URL of www.cciu.org/SummerCareerAcademies, consider www.cciu.org/summer or www.cciu.org/SCA. Remember the URL needs to be most relevant to the audience you are targeting, not to our own names or filing structure.
A QR code, similar to a barcode, is a very visual short-cut that enables viewers to use the QR reader app on their mobile device to read a code that then automatically redirects to the identified web page.
There are a number of free resources available online to develop your own QR code, but it is highly recommended that all QR codes be developed through a centralized resource within your division or through Communications. This helps ensure consistency and a well-maintained library of QR code images. The following two resources are recommended:
- http://www.qrcode-monkey.com/ - Provides free QR code generation with the capability to alter color and add imagery
- http://www.qr-code-generator.com/ - Expands capabilities for tracking and updating, but with a small fee. This is only recommended for more extensive QR code usage.
When integrating a QR code into a marketing piece, please keep in mind the following:
- The size of the QR code is important! A simple rule of thumb is that the Minimum QR Code Size = Scanning Distance/10. So for example, if you are to place a QR code on a flyer minimum size might be 1,” meaning that the viewer would have their phone 10” away in order to capture it. For a poster that would be hanging, the viewer might not be able to get up so close. So if they were to stand two feet away, the QR code should be at minimum 2.4.”
- A QR code by design will be utilized by someone with a mobile device, so the website the code links to should also be mobile-friendly. The www.cciu.org website was revamped in 2016 to enable mobile-friendly viewing, but if you are to link to an external page be sure it can be appropriately viewed.
- A QR code should be utilized when driving action. Mobile users are less likely to utilize a QR code when seeking general information, but if clicking on the code enables them to sign-up for a special event or receive a special incentive, they may be more inclined to do so.