The GIC offers an open-source service that gives state web managers and PIOs the ability to generate short URLs using the de.gov domain. This service — named YOURLS — takes a long URL and provides a redirect to that URL using a shorter more social media-friendly URL. The shorter URL includes “de.gov” as the base domain, followed by an alpha-numeric identifier that is either random or custom-defined by the user.
Shortened URLs provide for greater flexibility for dissemination through social media channels, which often have limited character-lengths for posting. Shortened URLs are easier to for citizens to remember.
In this example, the link to the Offshore Wind Working Group is a bit too long for easy use in twitter and other social media outlets. It’s not easy to remember when passing along in conversation with constituents. A shortened version uses a logical, easy to remember short-hand.
You will need login credentials to the YOURLS system. Contact GIC for those (email@example.com). Access the system at de.gov/admin and login. Enter the target URL in the URL box. If you like, enter a custom identifier in the “Custom short URL” box. (Note: The YOURLS system only accepts lower-case letters in custom URLs. It does not accept special characters, or uppercase letters.)
Click “Shorten the URL.” You’re done.
You can copy the new link directly from the system at the time you create it, or you can select the “share” tool found by hovering your mouse over the “action” column. In that column you’ll also find a link to detailed statistics for your link, a link to edit your link, and a link to delete it.
Federal guidelines require that this link-shortener only be used to link to URLs that are part of government websites (usually delaware.gov or state.de.us in our case). Citizens should be able to rely on Delaware state agencies to link only to government URLs through a shortened “dot-gov” URL. Web managers and PIOs should use bit.ly, or similar, non- dot-gov third-party services to shorten non-governmental URLs. If you want you can read the federal government “.gov” domain policy here.