Links & Navigation

Site menus and navigation

Main and secondary menus provide links to top-level page options and and site sections. These menu links should follow a consistent structure in order to help users easily navigate the site, orient themselves within it, and find information quickly.

Menu links should be used exclusively for navigation within your website. External links and links to documents are not allowed in any top navigation, except for links to external websites that meet all of the following criteria:

  • The linked site has the USNH institution’s domain in the URL
  • The two sites have a business/reporting relationship
  • Social media links can share space with the title or navigation or can reside elsewhere within the site, including the footer

Internal links point to other pages or content within the same website. These types of links:

  • Improve accuracy, since the information only exists and is updated in one place, the single source of truth
  • Aid in the usability of the site and improves search engine optimization (SEO) by having relevant information reside in one primary location
  • Help SEO for pages containing the link, as the hyperlinked words themselves are read by search engines to help them classify what's considered important information on pages.

Linking to external websites

Links to and from reliable external sources improve SEO by increasing the authority of the site. Sometimes it's appropriate to link to a different website, such as a government agency or resource for pertinent information:

  • Only link to reliable, authoritative informational or educational websites that you are confident will remain active
  • Do not link to personal websites
  • Do not link to business websites unless there is an established relationship, as a link may be perceived as an endorsement

  • When linking internally within a USNH Drupal site, the "linkit" tool should always be used, and content should be linked to by searching for the title of the item title rather than by pasting in a page or document's url path.

  • When linking to information on the same website (for example, the same institution), the link should open in the same window. If the link points to a different USNH website, it should open in a new window.
  • Links text should use descriptive words, not phrases like "click here" or “visit this website.”
  • Link text should not consist of the URL itself.
  • .pdf documents should open in a new window.

Page URLs

A URL is the “address” for each page on a website. Website navigation, search engines, marketing materials and other websites all use a page’s URL to direct people to that page.

Creating URLs

Page URLs should:

  • Be concise and have meaning to the user
  • Employ dashes between words instead of spaces or underscores:
  • Be lowercase. Intermittent use of uppercase letters can be confusing for users and disrupt SEO

Page URLs should NOT:

  • Include years or dates unless necessary for archiving. URLs with dates by nature require changing every year, which would cause the link to break.
  • Include acronyms unless universally recognized:
  • Be changed, unless absolutely necessary, to avoid breaking links and harming the page’s rankings in search engine results. Read more about changing page URLs.


For support regarding links and navigation, please contact ET&S Software Development.


Anyone working on a college or school website is welcome to attend the open walk-in training and help sessions that ET&S offers in support of Drupal and Wordpress. For a schedule of the training sessions and walk-in times, see the Teaching & Learning Technologies training calendar.

Responsibility for digital content

College and school websites are maintained by members of the university community acting as official representatives of USNH. Site owners and editors are responsible for complying with all relevant laws, USNH policies and this standard.


ET&S Software Development reserves the right to remove at any time any content that it considers in violation of this standard or any other USNH policies.

If inappropriate or inaccurate content is discovered, ET&S will contact the site owner to discuss the issue. If the site or content owner cannot be contacted or is no longer at USNH, that content will be administered by ET&S and can be removed if deemed inaccurate or inappropriate. When content is obviously unacceptable, ET&S will immediately remove the content prior to contacting the site owner. Unacceptable entries also may cause site access to be suspended.

Reports regarding inappropriate content may be sent to ET&S Software Development.