Website structure describes the way your site is constructed in terms of menu, appearance and responsiveness. Websites that have a poor homepage, awkward navigation, bad links and no sitemap can expect to receive a higher bounce rate (people entering and swiftly exiting), fewer conversions and less repeat visits. You could have the best products, prices or services in the world but if your website structure is sub-standard, it won’t matter. Read 5 Website Structure Tips from Design Fox and make sure your site is on-track for success.
It’s the first page that most people visit, the place that search engines are crawling most and the visitors’ first impression of your brand. If your home page structure isn’t right then it may prevent visitors from proceeding to other pages or reaching out to you at all. The navigation for your site should be simple and crawlable for SEO (search engine optimisation), which means a clear menu structure. Your homepage should make it very obvious through text and imagery what your brand is about and should provide all the necessary information visitors need in order to proceed further. For example, if you are a photographer then there should be stunning gallery previews or samples on the homepage to lead the visitor further inside. Think of your homepage as a journey which begins when the visitor lands on the page and ends with them landing on your contact or purchase page.
2. Call to Action (CTA)
When considering your website structure, don’t forget your CTA. A Call to Action refers to the response you want from your users. In other words, whether you want them to contact you, share your site or place an order. It is important to find the right balance between providing visitors with an easy next step CTA and overselling and becoming annoying. An example of annoying would be a pop-up appearing on every page telling the visitor to subscribe… enough already! Make sure that every page has a “Buy Now” or “Contact Us” section which is clearly visible above the fold but does not interfere with the users’ enjoyment of your website.
Navigation can make or break a website and many brands get it wrong, often by trying to be too clever! Navigation is the process through which users move from one page to another and it should not be a complicated one. For example, if a visitor decides to read a blog post and then has to “backspace” to get back to the homepage before he can choose another destination he will probably get frustrated and exit your site. Similarly, slick menus that fade out or are tricky to mouseover and select can be infuriating. Visitors should be able to access any page quickly and easily with minimum clicks, minimum mouse movement and definitely minimum frustration. Most platforms like WordPress and Drupal give you the option to structure your navigation the way you want so take your time to think it through and keep it simple. Be logical when you are ordering your pages and think about the navigational journey of the visitor. Plenty of content is great but too many visible pages in a menu is not always an advantage because the visitor can become confused with the choices and opt for a competitor who keeps it simple.
4. Internal Linking
Since Google’s Penguin 4.4 update, internal linking has to be managed carefully as it can actually downgrade your site if done incorrectly. Internal linking is the process of adding hyperlinks to articles or pages taking the visitor to another page within the site. The Penguinupdate clamped down on irrelevant and spammy links which took the visitor to non-useful internal pages. It is still fine to add them, just make sure they are natural, relevant, useful and of course, working! So if you have written an article about dry hair then it’s ok to link once from the article to a product for dry hair within your site – it’s not ok to link to an article about nail extensions. It’s a good idea to regularly check links within your site because broken links make for a poor visitor experience and equally poor SEO.
A sitemap is a very important part of your website structure because it effectively tells the user and the search engines how to navigate your site. When a sitemap is missing, your website is in danger of being overlooked and unappreciated by visitors and search engines alike. There are usually two types of sitemap, one for visitors and another for search engines. The visitor sitemap is a single page displaying all your pages and subpages so that at a glance viewers can find what they want. Sitemaps are easy to create using plugins and should not be overlooked in your website structure plans.
Website Structure Checklist
We hope you enjoyed our website structure tips. For assistance in planning and designing your website why not chat to the experts at Design Fox Australia.