Your website is much more complex than what meets the eye. Here at Magna Technology, we always remind clients that websites can’t just look good – they must perform well, too. The structure of your website has a lot to do with how your site functions. Is it easy to move from one page to the next? Or, is it easy for visitors to get lost because of distractions or an abundance of content?
A good site structure doesn’t just help the user experience. It also enhances SEO. The better structure you have, the higher your site will rank in the search engines. Part of the reason is because you’re delivering a great experience that keeps visitors on your pages. What you may not know is that a solid site structure also gives you sitelinks and better crawling, two huge advantages to SEO.
Knowing how important site structure is to the user experience and search engine optimization, let’s discuss the main ingredients to focus on when building the proper structure.
Plan Out a Hierarchy
Use a whiteboard, spreadsheet, word processor or any other program to plan out your structure. The content should follow a hierarchy, which is a way to organize information. Your hierarchy should be clear and direct – nothing fancy. The goal is to help users find the information they’re looking for in as few steps as possible.
Here are a few tips to consider.
- Be logical. Planning a hierarchy should be a simple and straightforward process. Users need to find information easily, and the search engines need to crawl your site.
- Limit categories. It’s best to limit categories to seven or less. Too many categories will only complicate the structure – unless your Walmart or Amazon.
- Balance subcategories. You may add more subcategories than categories, but keep them balanced.
Create a URL Structure
This step may sound intimidating, but it won’t be too hard if you have a good hierarchy in place. Let’s say that you’re building a website for an Italian restaurant called Lou’s. You would follow the hierarchy to create the URL structure, which might look like: www.lous.com/locations, www.lous.com/salads and www.lous.com/catering.
Use HTML and CSS
Create a Header
Don’t overcomplicate things here. Your main header should list out your main pages. Adding anything more will only confuse visitors. Also, I highly recommend using text instead of images to display important information. Visuals are great in some instances, but text is the winner in this case.
Add Internal Links
Internal linking helps your site’s hierarchy and keeps visitors on your pages. However, don’t add links just for the sake of it. Each link should have a clear purpose and help the reader find more information.
Focus on Buyer Personas
Always consider who you are speaking to when you design your pages. What problem is your audience trying to solve? What action do you want them to take? By understanding your audience, you can build a thoughtful and sensible path that encourages them to convert.
Whether you are looking to build a new website or update an existing one, Magna Technology can help! Call us today and let’s discuss your options for building an effective website structure that improves the user experience and boosts SEO!