I love the appearance of traditional url’s, because the www in front of them eases and speeds up my understanding that there’s definitely a certain web adress.
But is there any established guideline for formatting url not only for web, e.g. brochures, posters? May be you’ve heard of some research that proves the better UX due to the url format?
We all know, for example, that telephone numbers have quite established formatting guidelines.
www. may have valid technical reasons for being used.
When a server is configured it must be set up to use
http://example.com. It is completely possible that www.example.com loads the site and example.com does not. They are two, different, separate, addresses. This is all controlled by the server. Both addresses may work, or one address may be forwarded to the other. The forwarding could be done from any domain, it just so happens that it’s common the
www. address will forward to the non-www address or vice versa. In today’s age, most hosting providers configure this and the
www. is not mandatory. They configure the forwarding automatically for their customers. However, you should check your server before removing the
www. from any marketing materials, or even before adding the
From a design standpoint, it’s a matter of preference. If the sites loads with or without the
www. then using it is your choice. As @Dom mentions in his comment above I find the suffix plays a large role. example.com, example.net, example.org are all pretty clear. However, once you enter second or third tier suffixes it can be less clear, especially to audiences that aren’t traditionally online audiences (seniors, non-tech organizations, etc). Adding the
www. to more rarely used suffixes is always helpful.
I almost always drop the
www. for first tier domains and almost always include them for second or third tier domains. But that’s just my preference.
I’d also point out that phone numbers have changed. I now must dial 10 digits to make a local call, for decades it was only 7 digits, before that it was 5 digits. They may change slowly, but they do change formats 🙂 Of course, thanks to smart phones I now only know my own phone number and can’t ever remember anyone else’s. 🙂