How To Create Visitor Friendly Short URLs with iWeb

August 24th, 2010

If you use iWeb, you already know that when you type in your website’s URL, once you are taken to your page, the URL in the address bar will forward to your domain name, followed by the site name that you gave in iWeb while publishing, followed by your page’s file name. It will look something like this;

What we will show you in this tutorial is how to shorten the URL so it only looks like this;

The steps to do this are actually quite simple and if you are already using iWeb SEO Tool there really isn’t much more to it. It does require that you have a real web host with an FTP server, but if you are serious at all about your website, you should have one already.

If you have any questions, feel free to post them below. This video has also been added to the iWeb SEO Video Walkthrough Tutorial

70 Responses to “How To Create Visitor Friendly Short URLs with iWeb”

  1. All About iWeb Says:

    Excellent video guys, this answers one of the most common questions I get asked on AAi. Consider yourself retweeted.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. davekeyboardo Says:

    Thanks for posting the tutorial… unfortunately, these steps did not work for me. I published to a local folder (which is what I usually do anyway, as I use iWeb SEO tool to publish). When I opened the site using the “interior” folder with my site contents in iWeb SEO, then published to MobileMe, there was no difference… the site name still appears in the URL. Is it possible that this method doesn’t work with MobileMe or that there is something I’m missing?

  3. pumpui Says:

    there is no difference at all.
    might be, we have done something incorrect ?

  4. sally orchard Says:

    Didn’t work for me either and I use mobile me. Can anything be done?

  5. paul Says:

    It’s not supposed to work with MobileMe unfortunately. MobileMe is for personal websites only and shouldn’t be used to host an serious website. Read the terms and conditions for the MobileMe hosting to see why.

    That is why we offer iWeb Web hosting. Not only do you get faster, more reliable servers, you also get access to support from people who know iWeb and can do the tricks shown in this article.

    Hope this clears things up.

  6. Judi Elford Says:

    Didn’t work for me either. And I use a regular host and have quite a large site. Just published with the same long url as iWeb does. What are we missing?

  7. Jamie Says:

    Hi, I also followed the steps and found no change in my site URL. And my site is not hosted by MobileMe. Any other suggestions of why this wouldn’t have worked? Thank you~

  8. paul Says:

    @Judie and @Jamie:

    Are you 100% sure you followed the instructions exactly as shown? The URL is made up of the domain name, the iWeb website folder and the default page name;

    If you upload the exported iWeb folder you get the long urls, if you upload the files *within* the exported iWeb folder you get the short urls. So please make absolutely sure you did not open the exported folder in iWeb SEO Tool. INSTEAD, you opened the folder INSIDE the exported folder.

  9. paul Says:

    You may be having trouble if you are entering the wrong directory path. We have found that many customers are entering the name of their iWeb site folder in the directory path field. This will mean your site just gets published to the old location and result in still having a long URL.

    MAKE SURE that you enter your root directory in the directory path field. If you are using RAGE Web Hosting then you enter public_html/

    If you are using Godaddy, leave the field blank.

    For all other web hosts email them and ask them for your root directory.

  10. Sparrow Says:

    I also tried this approach and got nowhere. I am hosted on godaddy and left the directory path blank and it would not publish at all. Now what?

  11. Don Says:

    I’m using iweb and I have two web sites one (personal) publishes on mobile me and other (business) on Go Daddy.
    When I try to use the SEO tool only the personal site comes up. How do I get it to see the business site?

  12. Davida Says:

    Paul: can I get contact info for the people who know iWeb and this issue? I have a large site with a long URL now that I re-built my old (Adobe GoLive) site to iWeb.. having double the problems with the Blog themed pages. Search engines still show page URL from my older site but error “Page not Found” when clicked on. Mostly because the URL has my domain name, and site name and page name. GoLive never presented this problem. I’m irritated that the experts at Mac One-to-one never mentioned this when I worked on building my iWeb site for 5 hours a day for 4 months. I need help!

  13. Brian Says:

    Is a permanent redirect the same as domain masking? If not, might this be a solution to shortening the URL on mobile me hosted sites?

  14. Lucas Caceres Says:

    I had the same problem as Sparrow.. If you leave the directory path blank it will not publish at gets stuck loggin in. .. I am also using godaddy to host my website… The trick is you need to add a ( / ) and then leave the rest of the field blank… that fixed the problem i was having.. thank you for this great tutorial.. i hated having that long url.

  15. paul Says:

    @Brian: No a permanent redirect is not the same as domain masking. You should never use domain masking for any website. Your site will not be properly indexed by search engines, and users cannot share or bookmark specific pages on your site. Domain masking is never a good idea. The optimal solution is an iWeb friendly web host with the URL shortening technique discussed in this video. The next best thing to do is use CNAME forwarding without domain masking.

  16. Sooooooo relieved Says:

    GO DADDY USERS READ THIS…………………………..

    LUCAS CACERES you are the F-ING BOMB!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I searched ALL OVER the web for a solution that actually worked and you are the ONLY ONE who nailed this issue.

    Rage should be paying you the BIG $$$$

    Who knew that a simple “/” would fix this issue.


  17. Stu Says:

    I have no problems getting this to work and have done so with a couple of different sites that I have done for people.

    However… I can’t get the RSS feeds to work. If I try to subscribe I just get an address not found error. Consequently right now I’m migrating my site back to Mobile Me after moving away from there so I can get the short URL.

    Any ideas?

  18. paul Says:

    When you select your site folder in iWeb you have the option to export you site to a local folder which you have done. There is also a field that says Website URL. Enter your root website URL (in this case it will be (replace with your domain)). This will fix the RSS issue.

  19. Liz Says:

    Hi, This is awesome – I had been looking for this exact solution when it miraculously appeared in my email. But I am running into a problem at the early part – I create “my iWeb site” folder and save it to my desktop. But when I open it, there is nothing in it – no files in the folder. Do you know what I’m doing wrong?

    Thank you!

  20. Julie Says:

    I am currently published to an FTP server… changed from Mobile Me because of limitations. When I publish to a local folder will the FTP info (FTP server settings) stay when I choose it again? I am going to shorten my URL, and work on Title Tags etc using the iweb SEO tool i downloaded from you guys. When i make changes to iweb site will i then publish to both? Can you go back and forth between local folder and FTP? New to this so any help would be appreciated.

  21. paul Says:

    @Liz: Did you export your website to a local folder from within iWeb?

  22. paul Says:

    @Julie: You can store your FTP details in iWeb SEO Tool so you don’t have to re-enter them each time.

    You will always use iWeb SEO Tool to publish to your FTP server from now on.

    So, in iWeb, export to a local folder. Then open that local folder in iWeb SEO Tool, enter your tags, and then publish to your FTP in iWeb SEO Tool.

  23. Julie Says:

    @paul: ok i am at the end of the process for shortening URL and like the video have the contents of my file on the left hand side of the SEO tool. I clicked publish and i got a menu that says publish to FTP, MobileMe or folder. Am i publishing it to the folder? Do i also need to publish to FTP? Thanks again for the help… this is great!

  24. paul Says:

    @Julie: You just need to publish to FTP. You don’t need to publish to a folder from within iWeb SEO Tool.

  25. Liz Says:

    @ paul, I am creating the folder (I think) just like it shows in the tutorial. I am saving the folder from inside iWeb to: /Users/lizhouck/Desktop/my iWeb site. But still, when I open that folder, there is nothing in it. Any other advice? Thanks!

  26. Julie Says:

    @paul: i did try this and the connection kept dropping. I tried what sparrow did a while back adding the “/” to the directory path and it actually says uploading (so that must have done it) but has timed out several times. My site is photography greeting cards so maybe that is what’s doing it. There are so many images! At this rate it could take days. Any advice? Also, i have the secure FTP box checked am i supposed to? sorry to be the newbie asking all the questions.

  27. paul Says:

    @Julie: Do not select the Secure FTP checkbox unless you have a secure FTP connection, which you probably don’t.

    Also make sure you are using the latest version of iWeb SEO Tool;

  28. paul Says:

    @Liz: Do you know how to take a screenshot of what you see? Using the application called Grab which is in the Applications/Utilities folder. If you can send a screenshot to support using the form at:

    We can help you further with this issue.

  29. Julie Says:

    @paul: site is now uploaded and everything is there. the SEO tool is only letting me minimize no closing option what does this mean? i am heading to a mac class so need to shut down my computer… is there something else that needs to be published?

  30. paul Says:


    Every application can be quit by going to the menu in the top left corner of your screen (in this case it will say ‘iWeb SEO Tool’) and selecting ‘Quit iWeb SEO Tool’.

    You can also press the COMMAND (apple key) and the Q button together.

  31. paul Says:

    @Julie: Also shutting down your computer will quit all open applications.

  32. julie Says:

    @paul: thanks. i knew this, i just didn’t know if it was a sign that something was not quite finished. thanks for all your help. now have shorter url and have title tags!

  33. Julie Says:

    @ paul: one more question… now when i make changes to the site in iweb do i still publish in iweb or in SEO tool. Or do i publish in SEO tool just when i update SEO stuff? Publish in both depending on what changes i make??

  34. paul Says:

    @Julie: Always use iWeb SEO Tool to publish your server from now on. Don’t use iWeb anymore for publishing to your server.

  35. Julie Says:

    @paul: yes. i am having a problem with all the time outs… it is taking hours and hours to publish. I am not checking the secure box, don’t have any strange characters in my file names and have the ‘/’ in my path because it is the only way the upload will work. Godaddy says to leave it blank but then it does not connect. what else can i try? When i apply title tags, meta tags or anything else on the seo tool i need to publish correct? seems like even for small changes the upload goes through the whole site. i am used to publishing just the changes and it only takes a minute with iweb. want to stick with it because i think it is critical to business getting started. thanks.

  36. Julie Says:

    @paul: finally stopped the process and then checked my website. All of my paypal buttons are now missing (there is just a partial outline) and the site is super slow. Yikes. now what do i do?

  37. paul Says:


    If you stop the upload your site won’t work.

    Are you sure you have the latest version?

  38. Julie Says:

    yes. i am sure. it is the one i got from you guys recently in an email and i checked it and it said latest version. I started the publishing again and nothing changed. Pay pal buttons are still missing. Last night before i published, i added the code for the stat counter and google analytics. could that have caused this problem? I also cancelled my MobileMe account because i had switched over to godaddy and it was a free trial. Yesterday the site was fine. In iweb the add to cart buttons are missing too. Does it make sense to publish now when the site is missing the buttons or should i stop it again and do something else? Frustrating, i thought i was getting somewhere. i would appreciate your help as i have just emailed a ton of people to let them know about my new site.

  39. paul Says:

    @Julie: If the images aren’t appearing in iWeb then this is an iWeb issue not an iWeb SEO Tool or publishing issue. Make sure the site looks correct in iWeb first before publishing.

  40. Julie Says:

    The site was fine late last night and i did not touch iweb. all i did was add some info on the SEO tool, apply it and publish. so the buttons are missing but they still function. any ideas why this happened?

  41. Steve Says:

    Hi all,

    I’m having the same problem (obviously) and I have watched the iWeb SEO tool video over and over but it all sounds Greek to me.

    I am in the process of doing a website for my photography business and I really don’t want to 1) pay a company to set up and maintain a website and get what they want to give me. I will always be in their list of things to do and won’t be on the top of their priority list, and 2) spend ages learning how to be a website builder.

    iWeb is a fantastic piece of software and makes a really nice simple website. I only want to showcase examples of my work – its not that complicated. Apple must realise that there are a whole bunch of people like me that have their own businesses and want to use iWeb to do a quick, easy to maintain website.

    Mine is at and too keep getting really long URL’s. I want to get it shorter and Rage’s iWeb SEO tool seems to insist that this can be shortened with no adverse affects (ie good SEO, site not working with other browsers properly etc).

    I have done what was instructed but I can’t see any changes. Do I have to wait a couple of hours for the web host to catch up? I remember doing something a while back and was told that I had to wait for it to get on to the web. I use FTP.

    I’d be interested in your comments.


  42. paul Says:

    @Steve: Have you published with iWeb AFTER using iWeb SEO Tool? That is most likely the cause of your problems.

    You have done everything else correctly. As you can see, your web site works with the short URLs;

  43. RandyZ Says:

    Wow! So simple…and clearly explained…great job!

  44. Dave Says:

    Hi Guys,
    Tutorial for shortening the URL is nice and clear, followed instructions as mentioned, unfortunately this does not work.

  45. Jeremy Says:

    Hi Dave,

    Can you submit a support ticket to us and we can help diagnose the problem.

  46. Jennie Alice Says:

    Hi, great tutorial and so simple. It worked for me, but I would like to know if there is a way to shorten the other pages for my site (not just home). When I go to one of my nav bar options, such as “Reviews,” my site says I’ve found that this is the case with the iWeb “blog” page setups, because I do not have this problem on my “Contact” page: looks nice.
    Now that I’m looking, I may be answering my own question here, but when I go into the folder where I published my site from iWeb, I see that the two blog-like pages are their own files, containing more files, while the Contact page is in the first layer of the site folder. iWeb seems to automatically do things this way, but if there is some kind of fix for this from Rage I would love to know.

  47. paul Says:

    Unfortunately what you want to do is not really possible. You should keep it as it is anyways as this is the proper way that your website should be structured. It is only important to have a short initial URL. You will see that every other page that has a blog does the same thing, including our website.

  48. nurdi Says:

    If we’re using wordpress, it is possible to have a very short link such as (for example):

    instead of (what iWeb does):

    Can I get the same result as WordPress does using iWeb SEO tool?

  49. paul Says:

    No you cannot do this easily with iWeb. I am not sure if it is even possible.

  50. David Says:

    I seemed to understand everything that was done and explained right up to the last step. And I can’t figure out what the last step is. Why rush the last step, when that is what all the build up is? It should be clear and probably repeated…..
    There were lots of do’s and don’ts but not clear on last step.
    Go where and find Matt’s photos? Do what with it? what do you do when you get there. 30 seconds more would have been very helpful.

    And I still want to know how to do the last several steps.

  51. paul Says:

    You are just opening your exported website in iWeb SEO Tool. So wherever you saved your local site in iWeb too (for example on your desktop, maybe), you would then open that in iWeb SEO Tool.

    Then you publish with iWeb SEO Tool.

  52. Tamsin Says:

    Hi Paul

    I have read this thread and watched the video about ten times to see if there is something I am missing but still my iweb site hosted by mobileme has the ‘sitename’ in the address.

    Please take a look my url becomes As my iweb sitename in iweb is ‘TM’. I publish it to a local folder on my hard drive to folder tamsinmaewebsite, and within that are the 3 items you show assets, index & the folder TM with the site in it, open iwebseo, select open website (the little folder top left) go to the hd, open folder tamsinmaewebsite and then the folder ‘TM’, load it in iwebseo and do my seo then got to Publish – to mobileme. It’s a big site so takes a while but still all of the pages have the long url – Am I missing a step somewhere? I did think that maybe I needed to highlight the items ‘within’ the sitename folder but iwebseo doesn’t allow you to do that.

    Also I am updating my site often as I have a blog, is there a way to update changed files only?

    I will of course be looking for alternative hosting in the NEAR future and like the Rage products but really need to keep the work flow and upload times down to a minimum so I am testing out most of your software for that purpose.

    I hope you can help. Many thanks in advance – Tamsin

  53. Ellen Says:

    I have followed all the instructions. I have iWeb SEO 2.2, Lion, and am hosted by RageSW. I still get the long title.
    Is there something to do once you have chosen the folder inside the folder with iWeb SEO?

  54. paul Says:

    Publish your entire site site by going to the File menu in iWeb and selecting ‘Publish Entire Site’. Open your site in iWeb SEO Tool and then publish again. It should work now.

  55. Mike V Says:

    done it! i think they need to empty the cache first. i tried on my Chrome browser its the same but tried it on my Safari and now it has a shorter URL. Thanks for this tutorial :)

  56. Luk Says:

    I did this a few weeks ago and it worked, but now I changed the lay out of my site a I tried it again but I always see my old version and not the new one. How can I solve this problem?

  57. Jeremy Says:

    The next time you publish your site in iWeb, try to go to File and select Publish Entire Site. Then load the site in iWeb SEO Tool (short URL way) and publish.

  58. Georgi Says:

    Hi Paul,
    I fallow the video step by step but when i open SEO and load my site nothing happen. No text no nothing in Head Code or Footer Code. On your video they come soon you upload the site from the local folder. Do i need to type my self anything or i do something wrong.
    Hope you can help.

  59. paul Says:

    Those fields are to enter your Google Analytics or other website visitor tracking code. You don’t need them for short URLs but if you want to learn how to use them you can check out or SEO for iWeb Walkthrough Video Tutorial:

  60. Georgi Says:


  61. Valerie Says:

    @Paul (or whoever wants to help)

    I am SO very thankful for this, as it is EXACTLY what I spent endlessly searching for hours. However, I am wondering if there is a way to change it even further. Can you take out the “.html” from the end of each? For instance,

    In the homepage, I would just like it to say “” instead of “”
    In subsequent pages, I would like “” instead of “”

    Is there a way to do this? I use iWeb 08 and I have published to a folder and then uploaded my files directly to my host via their “Unlimited FTP” icon.


  62. paul Says:

    No you can’t take out the .html and you shouldn’t anyways. It need to be there.

  63. Melanie Says:

    Thanks for this tutorial! I published my website to a local folder, then entered keywords in the iWeb SEO Tool, and published that to the same folder, and then used Cyberduck (which I use for my FTP client) to publish the website. However, I’m still getting the really long URL. I’d really appreciate your help on this!

  64. Melanie Says:

    Well, I just checked my website several hours after doing the steps I just described, and now the URL is short! It wasn’t immediately after publishing the changes, but it is now, so it must take several hours to populate. Thanks again!

  65. Rebecca Says:

    I have a few questions about sorting SEO and URL on my iweb site – what software is best with iwebSEO tool (which I have not bought yet, but am planning to today if I get a response to this):

    1.Can you advise on iwebSEO tool and publishing direct to an FTP server (direct to my web hosting package from iweb SEO tool) or using something like Cyberduck FTP client to publish to my FTP Server (webhost).

    I have built my website on iweb and launched it, but it has no meta tags or title tags (H1 etc) as I can’t find where to put these in i web. It also has the long URL with my website twice. I understand that purchasing iweb SEO tool can solve these but before I do I want to understand whether I also need an FTP client to manage the files for my website.

    2.My web host has said I cannot solve the long URL without an FTP client. Is this correct or can I do it in iweb SEO tool without using an FTP client?

    3.I want to have a blog on the website and was thinking of doing a wordpress blog, and linking it to my iweb website, will this work? Or can you do a blog in iweb- if so how?
    Will both methods be visible to google & other search engines?

    4.If I am making regular changes to my site updating blog & content – can I republish only the changes within iweb SEO tool rather than publishing the whole site again? (I presume that would take much longer). I want to avoid meta tags and headers wiping.

    5.If I had Cyberduck or similar could I use that to publish only what I have changed for speed? For example use iwebSEO tool to publish to my FTP server host if I changed the whole site, but publish through Cyberduck only if it was just changes to the blog and I only wanted to publish those changes-if I did this would the meta tags and titles all wipe or will they stay as long as I go from iweb SEO tool to Cyberduck to Webhost FTP Server?

    I am trying to decide whether I need an FTP client as well as iwebSEO tool.

    6.Can you also offer any advice on adding social media widgets to the iwebsite? Can you get code from developers blogs for the more ‘designed’ looking widgets and add it to the HTML box in iweb? do they work OK? If I get iwebSEO tool will the widgets I add work OK when publishing through iwebSEO tool?

    Many thanks in advance for your time and help.

  66. Paul Woods Says:

    Hallo Paul – or anyone!
    I am pulling my hair out. Bought the program, believed the promises. Have tried everything, read all the comments and blogs. My iweb seo adjustments are simple NOT happening – pleeeeeese help. Thanks in advance.

  67. paul Says:

    @Paul Woods: Your website is optimized and published correctly with a short URL. You are most likely visiting your old website because it is in your history. Your new site is here:

  68. Tom Says:

    For some reason, I am not getting these “long” names in my urls that you speak of.
    However, the reason I got the iWeb SEO Tool was to give Titles and Meta Tags to my pages. Someone suggested doing that to make search engines find my site more easily.
    So my question is this:
    Do you have any tutorials on how to use Title and Meta Tags in the iWeb SEO Tool???
    That would be very helpful to me.

  69. bob groome Says:

    I used SEO Tool for the first time a day or two ago. since then my home page is no longer found (error 404) by my hoist. I can get to my other pages such as and others through any browser; but not the home page which is

    What did I do wrong with SEO and how do I go about fixing it?

    I have considered the new web creation software you offer and very well may buy it soon. But want to get the site back up and running first.


  70. paul Says:

    Use the publish entire site feature under iWeb’s File menu.

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