Showing U.S. Government Sponsorship
What It Is
Showing U.S. government sponsorship is one of the requirements for managing your agency’s website, as outlined in OMB Policies for Federal Public Websites. You should clearly display the name of your agency or organization on every Web page to show visitors who sponsors the website. Be sure it's clear on every page that the site is maintained by the U.S. government.
Why It’s Important
- Visitors want to be sure they’re getting official federal government information, when that is what they seek.
- By clearly displaying your agency's name and sponsorship on every page of your website, you’re clearly telling the public that your agency is accountable for the website's content.
- Visitors do not always come to your website through the "front door." Many enter at a second, third, fourth, or lower level. So you need to be sure that visitors can identify the sponsorship of your website, no matter where they are within your site.
- Agency or organization titles alone do not always convey that they are part of the federal government. Because of the global nature of the Web, it is important to distinguish U.S. federal government websites from state government websites and international government websites (for example, there are many “Department of Education” websites on the web). So if "United States" or "U.S." is not an official part of your agency's name, you should convey in some other way that the U.S. Government sponsors the website.
How to Implement
Here is guidance from the Federal Web Managers Council to help you implement this requirement.
- Where to Include: Display the name of the agency or organization that sponsors the website on every Web page. If your agency or organization title does not include "United States," show other wording to indicate that the U.S. government sponsors the website.
- Terminology: Use one of the following practices to indicate sponsorship:
- The full name of your agency or organization, including "United States" or "U.S."
- Your agency or organization's name AND a statement that this is an official U.S. government website (this may not be necessary if your agency or organization's name already includes “U.S.” or "United States")
- If a logo is used, be sure the name of the agency and U.S. sponsorship is plain enough that visitors can recognize the words easily.
- Title Tags: On home pages and major entry points, include a title tag with your agency's full name or a commonly accepted shortened version that the public will recognize. Put your agency's name or shortened version either before or after the page title.
- For cross-agency portals (websites sponsored by more than one agency), include wording on each page and in the title tag to show U.S. sponsorship.
- The Department of Defense website includes full name of the agency in the top banner.
- The Social Security Administration has a tagline in their banner that says “The Official Website of the U.S. Social Security Administration.”
- The U.S. Geological Survey includes not just their logo and acronym, but also their full name and an indication that they are part of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Their title tag includes both the short and long version of their agency name, which will help visitors find them through search engines.