Understanding the anatomy of a well-optimized site isn’t brain surgery, but it’s one of those fundamentals that you just can’t ignore. In order to provide a seamless experience for your site visitors, you should have the basics of site structure down to a science.
To produce a finely tuned website specimen, there are a few variables you should keep in mind. These basic points will ensure your site is a proven success.
Before you even begin to build pages, you need to know how your site will be organized. To do this, you’ll want to map out where your pages are going. You can use a software tool or get back to the basics and map it with a pencil and paper.
I recommend that you stick to a pyramid hierarchy. The top of your pyramid being your homepage, supported beneath by the main categories that will be featured on your navigation menu. When choosing these categories, remember that the fewer the better. You want to include all the necessary information without unloading the entire contents of your site on your menu.
It’s also important that you ensure your URL structure follows this hierarchy. This will keep your content organized and help you visitors navigate to their desired information.
Now that you know what categories to include in the navigation menu, you have to start thinking about the kind of content that will appear beneath them. In keeping with the pyramid hierarchy structure, you’ll have to identify what content is important in establishing the purpose of your site, as this kind of content should be fairly high up in the hierarchy as subcategories.
Too few subcategories can lead to disorganization and confusion, and too many creates a shallow site structure that makes a homepage messy and difficult to navigate. If you find that one subcategory is too large, split it into two. Finding a balanced number of categories and subcategories is key to a successful site anatomy.
All of your pages should link to another in some way. An easy tactic for this is to have each page with one in-coming link from a different page and one out-going link to relatable content.
Allowing for an internal link structure also makes your site more easily “crawlable” by Google. Linking to your pages ensures Google can find them, which increases your SEO value. Keeping this in mind, it’s important that outdated pages are either deleted or redirected to relevant content, or you risk denting your overall ranking.
After spending countless hours preparing the complex, cutting-edge strategies that make up your digital marketing, it’s easy to forget about site structure. Keeping in mind your site’s organization before you build it is an essential first step. To do this successfully, you’ll need to categorize your content according to topic and hierarchy. And before you make that site live, be sure all of your content is connected with a crawable link structure.
At the end of the day, all of your online marketing comes back to your site, and you want to leave those visitors wanting more.