Customizing your StoryMap’s URL

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04-12-2021 09:24 AM
OwenGeo
Esri Frequent Contributor
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Some organizations like to customize the URLs for content they publish to increase branding and recognition. While the ability to do this isn’t a feature of ArcGIS StoryMaps at this time, there are ways to do this. This article describes three methods for customizing StoryMap URLs and some of the advantages and things to consider for each.

For simplicity, the rest of this article will refer to stories, but the information also applies for collections.

 

Create a short link

This method involves creating a memorable or short, shareable link that points to your story. To do this you can use a URL shortener service (such as Bitly) or your IT staff may be able to set up a redirectable link using your organizations domain (e.g., www.my-organization.org/my-story).

The advantages of this method are that it is easy to set up (especially if you use a URL shortening service) and the full shareable link can be customized to your liking. However, when your readers arrive at the story page, they still see aarcgis.com link.

Pros

  • Easy to set up 
  • Can customize the entire URL, not just the domain

Cons

  • Does not customize the URL readers see when viewing the story

 

Use ArcGIS StoryMaps on Enterprise

ArGIS Enterprise provides web GIS capability hosted on your own infrastructureA public-facing Enterprise portal provides domain-specific URLs not only for your StoryMaps, but for all your web GIS content (dashboards, surveys, maps, apps, ...).

ArcGIS StoryMaps is included in Enterprise 10.8.1 and later.

Pros

  • Can utilize existing resources if Enterprise already deployed in your organization

Cons

  • Some StoryMaps features may not yet be available in Enterprise 

 

Embed in a web page 

This method requires a few more steps and resources but has several advantages. You create a simple web page with an iframe that embeds the story and set the iframe to take up the full page (100 percent height and 100 percent width). You can name this page whatever you like and host it on your organization’s infrastructure. For more information about embedding, see Take your stories and collections anywhere by embedding them.

Readers will see your page's URL in the browser address bar when they are viewing the story, and everything will appear as if the story is hosted on your own domain. The story URL will be a combination of your organization's domain (www.my-organization.org) and the path/page name you created.

Since you are building the web page, you have the option of adding your own header and/or footer around the story. This can be helpful if you need to provide additional information or formatting that is not supported by the header or credits section of ArcGIS StoryMaps. You can also use other analytics services not natively supported by ArcGIS StoryMaps, like Adobe Analytics.

There are also some potential drawbacks to consider with this approachYou won’t be able to take advantage of several features of ArcGIS StoryMapslike built-in support for Google Analytics and the automatic updates to your story’s metadata for social media sites. If you want to implement these things, you’ll have to manually add them to your custom page (with the help of a web developer).

When using this approach, you should disable the social sharing links in the story header since these tools will point to the story’s arcgis.com link rather than to your custom web page. This change can be made in the story settings.

Pros

  • Appears as if the story is hosted on your website
  • Can customize entire URL, not just the domain
  • Can customize page layout (e.g, add custom header/footer)

Cons

  • May require coordination with web developer and/or IT staff
  • Some built-in features not usable (but can be added manually with additional effort)
About the Author
Owen is the lead product engineer on Esri's StoryMaps Team and is located in Esri's DC R&D Center in Arlington, VA. He's been with Esri since 2004, and was a Solution Engineer on the National Government Team until 2015. His main areas of interest are StoryMaps and Web GIS and his hobbies include hockey, tech/gadgets, and guitar.