IN THIS ARTICLE:
- Plan out a clear hierarchy before developing your website
- Create a URL structure that follows navigation hierarchy
- Create your site navigation in HTML or CSS
- Use a shallow-depth navigation structure
- Ensure top pages are accessible from the homepage
- Develop a comprehensive internal linking structure
- Include breadcrumbs
- Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
It’s not the size of your website that matters; it’s how you use it. Over the years, we’ve seen many websites with different structures. Some are simple and easy to navigate; others seem like they’re designed in a maze. This resource will teach you what factors to consider when designing your site structure–and how to do it yourself if you don’t want to hire an expert!
But before you start tweaking your website’s structure, make sure you understand your business at its core. What are your products and services? Who is your target market? What do you want your website to achieve for you (i.e., more leads, customers, or brand awareness)? Once you know the answers to these questions, it will be much easier to create a structure that works well for your website.
Once you know your business, there are one of three websites structure you can choose from:
– Hierarchical Structure: This type is best for larger websites with many pages and categories. The main categories are listed on the homepage, and clicking on one takes you to a list of subcategories. From there, you can click on any page to view the content. This type of structure is straightforward to navigate and is perfect for users who want to explore your website.
– Flat Structure: This type of structure is best for small websites with few pages. The homepage contains all the information, and there are no subcategories. This structure can be challenging to navigate because all the information is on one page. It’s perfect for users who want to find information quickly.
– Matrix Structure: This type of structure is a mix of hierarchical and flat designs. It’s perfect for large websites with many pages and categories. It not only allows users to explore the website hierarchically but also provides a quick way to find information by listing all the pages on the homepage.
Now that you know the different website structures, it’s time to decide which one is best for you. Here are a few tips to help you decide:
Plan out a clear hierarchy before developing your website
If you don’t know what your website will look like, draw it out on paper and plan the order before creating a single page. When planning each of your pages, ask yourself: What kind of information am I trying to present? How will users navigate through my site? Will they need to go up or down in the categories? Use a diagram or spreadsheet to map out your website’s structure. This will make it easy for you to see how everything fits together and if there are any problems with the hierarchy.
Create a URL structure that follows navigation hierarchy
When designing your website, it’s essential to think about the URL structure. It should reflect where users are in the hierarchy and provide them with an easy way to navigate through pages. The best place for links is on each page of the site; however, if there are too many links or they get cluttered, you can also use tabs.
Create your site navigation in HTML or CSS
Once you’ve planned your website’s structure, it’s time to create the navigation. This can be done in HTML or CSS and should reflect your site’s hierarchy. You can also use a navigation bar generator to make things easier for yourself.
Use a shallow-depth navigation structure
This is a great way to make your website easy to navigate. When creating the navigation, keep it shallow by only including a few levels of depth. This will help users find information quickly without getting lost in the hierarchy.
Ensure top pages are accessible from the homepage
One of the essential rules of website design is that top priority pages must be accessible from the homepage. This means that users should be able to get to any page on your website without having to go through multiple levels of navigation.
Develop a comprehensive internal linking structure
Internal linking is the process of linking one page to another on your website. This is a great way to help users navigate through your site and improve your SEO. When creating internal links, ensure they are relevant and helpful to users.
Breadcrumbs are a great way to show users where they are in the hierarchy and help them find their way back to the homepage. You can create breadcrumbs in HTML or CSS, and many plugins are available for WordPress websites.
Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
With more than 50% of all traffic now coming from mobile devices, it’s essential that your website is responsive and looks great on all devices. Use a responsive design or create separate websites for mobile and desktop users.
Remember that a website structure is not permanent. You might have to keep tweaking your website’s structure as your website grows to keep up with new standards in the SEO world.