Let's say I have a dictionary-like website where I have canonical URLs like example.com/egregious which displays the definition of the word "egregious".

However, I have a couple of "static pages" that are not really word definitions, like the about page of the website, for which I'm reluctant to use example.com/about as that implies to be the definition of the word "about".

I would strongly prefer not to change my main content URLs (word definitions in this example) to something like example.com/definition/egregious as that doesn't fit too well with my domain name.

What's the best approach to take here? Several ideas come to mind:

  1. Use an URL segment like "pages", e.g. example.com/pages/about. This seems a bit strange, since example.com/pages seems like an actual word on the website.

  2. Use a single character URL segment e.g. example.com/p/about. This seems like a less semantic version of the above.

  3. Use a special character as a URL segment, e.g. example.com/-/about. The validity of this approach is the subject of my original question.

  4. Use a special character in the page name itself to differentiate it from a word definition, e.g. example.com/~about. This is my favourite at the moment.

Are there any problems (technical or otherwise) with any of these? Are any of them in any way better or worse than the rest?

  • With your static pages, why not use the absolute URL e.g. example.com/about.php
    – Steve
    Dec 12, 2016 at 22:01
  • Your suggestions of pages, p, ~, and - add no semantic value. I am suggesting that you add semantic value. This answer may help to clarify things: webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/74633/… The reason why adding semantic value is so important is because it is such an important signal to the search engines and tells the search engines what your content is about. Please, do not miss this opportunity. Cheers!!
    – closetnoc
    Dec 13, 2016 at 3:24
  • 1
    Related: User profile URL design
    – unor
    Dec 14, 2016 at 17:54

1 Answer 1


To be honest, I think this is really just going to boil down to personal opinion.

e.g. example.com/~about. This is my favourite at the moment.

However using a tilde (~) in such a way could end up conflicting with Apache's per-user web directories which is common on shared Apache servers.


With using an additional path segment, would users expect to be able to request example.com/pages (or example.com/pages/)? This, of course, doesn't need to be a valid resource.

Other than that, it would seem to be just making the URL a little bit longer/complex than it needs to be, which probably isn't a big deal.

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