It’s no fun to get lost. Whether you’re lost in a city or a corn maze, the unknown can make you nervous.
When they land on a confusing website, visitors feel the same way. Statistics show that nearly half of all website visitors leave after viewing only a single page. We don’t have much time to make an impression, and if your site is poorly structured, users are more likely to leave without interacting with it.
Keep your visitors engaged by designing a user-friendly and straightforward website. They will immediately rebound if you don’t. In addition, search engines will not hold favourably toward your site if visitors abandon it due to a poor user experience.
We’ve got you covered if you want advice on how to organise your website so that it attracts visitors and rises in Google’s search results. Understanding website architecture is crucial for user experience and search engine optimization, and we’ll show you how to create a solid foundation for your own site.
The architecture of your website refers to how the various pages are arranged in a hierarchical fashion. Using internal links, we can see this organisation reflected. Users should be able to navigate your site with ease, and search engine spiders should be able to easily follow the connections between pages.
Without a doubt, the organisation of your website is a major factor in keeping visitors engaged and increasing sales.
Having a plan in place can help you create a website that is intuitive and easy to use for your target audience. No matter how fantastic your content is, if users can’t find it on your site, they will go elsewhere.
The homepage serves as the hub of the site’s hierarchical structure. Each of the pages that can be reached via the navigation bar at the top of the page is like a branch, and each of those branches can be further divided into sub-branches. After that, these forks begin to interconnect with one another.
Why is website structuring important?
Your website’s usability will increase with good architecture. Users will have no trouble navigating your site and finding the content they need if it is organised in a user-friendly fashion.
In addition, your website’s search engine rankings will improve if you focus on providing a positive user experience. More time spent on your site and inbound links are strong indicators of high-quality content produced by your brand.
Additionally, a well-designed website will:
- Facilitates the indexing process for search engines.
Promotes user engagement by increasing the number of pages they can explore on the site.
Allows for a more fair distribution of “page authority,” ensuring that no one page is ignored.
Increases credibility in the subject area by establishing a network of connections among closely related subjects.
Improves sales by directing customers straight to the products they want.
Let’s take a look at some guidelines you should follow when planning the structure of your website.
- Make a basic menu bar for your site’s main level.
Create user-friendly URLs that are easy to remember.
Take a cue from the best in your field and design your website accordingly.
It’s important to maintain continuity on your website.
To improve internal linking, try using a pillar-cluster structure.
Make it possible to reach most sections of your site with just three to four clicks.
Put in breadcrumbs.
Make a site map in HTML and XML.
1. Create a simple top-level navigation menu.
First, try not to overwhelm customers with a plethora of options. Second, adhere to the expectations set by the menu item’s label.
For instance, users of your blog expect to be taken to a list of email marketing posts if they click the “Email Marketing” tab on the homepage. You should also create a straightforward link back to your blog’s or website’s main page from this one.
See an example from our own site down below:
It’s easy to navigate thanks to the three main categories: Software, Costs, and Help. Users can browse various resources that have been categorised under the “Resources” menu.
Don’t put too much mental strain on your users. A high percentage of visitors will leave a site that is difficult to navigate. No one wants to spend unnecessary time searching in vain for content on your site. If that happens, they will simply leave. So, show some compassion and make your website easy to use.
2. Keep your URLs simple and user-friendly.
This is not how any user wants to read a URL.
Making URLs that are easy to type and remember is crucial. The titles of your pages are used by CMS systems like CMS Hub and WordPress to generate user-friendly URLs. Typically, it looks like this:
Simple subfolders can also be made.
Helpful from a user experience perspective, but not strictly necessary, subdirectories can help organise your site’s content. More important than URL structure is the quality of internal links. That means you can use the following format for your URLs:
Creating a network of interconnected and interdependent subpages is as easy as linking their respective parent pages together.
3. Model your website architecture after the top players in your industry.
If you run an online store, you should study Amazon’s website structure and model it after theirs because your customers will be accustomed to the layout. Because of this, visitors will feel more at ease while exploring your website.
4. Keep your website consistent.
You should stick to a regular pattern when it comes to your website’s navigation structure, design tenets, and link displays. By maintaining consistency across your site’s design, you can encourage visitors to spend more time exploring your content by making it simpler for them to move from page to page and click on related links.
5. Implement the pillar-cluster internal linking model.
The pillar-cluster structure consists of an anchor page (the pillar) that points to related subpages (the clusters) (the cluster). There is a cluster formed when these offspring pages all link to each other.
With this design, your internal linking structure will be more transparent, and users will be efficiently guided to additional helpful and relevant content. Internal links on your site should be clearly labelled so that users know exactly what they’re clicking on and why it’s relevant to the page they’re currently viewing.
In this example, we see how a blog devoted to exercise routines might implement a pillar-cluster linking structure.
Internal connections are represented by the lines.
However, avoid the temptation to stuff keywords into the anchor text of your internal links. Black hat SEO refers to these kinds of dishonest practises, and Google has developed algorithms to discourage them.
6. Provide access to most of your website’s pages in 3-4 clicks.
Users should be able to navigate from the homepage to any other page in the site with no more than three or four clicks, regardless of how many pages the site actually has.
Create a top-level menu that links to your site’s primary sections to accomplish this. Then, ensure that all of the sub-category pages can be reached via a link on each of the main category pages.
7. Use breadcrumbs.
Breadcrumbs are the best visual representation of your site’s hierarchy after internal links. These backlinks will take you to the parent pages of the current page, and so on, all the way back to the start of the site. They have arrows that point to the current page and are usually located above the page’s title.
Developing a complex menu module is the key to incorporating breadcrumbs into your CMS Hub site. We’ve penned a simple guide on how to add breadcrumbs to WordPress if you’re using that content management system to run your website.
8. Create an HTML and XML sitemap.
All the pages that can be indexed by search engines should be included in a document called a sitemap. Having your site’s structure laid out in a way that search engines can easily read and index is why it’s so crucial.
The HTML sitemap is visible to visitors and follows the same style guidelines as the rest of your site. In most cases, this feature is intended to help visitors who are having trouble navigating your site find the specific page they’re looking for.
The primary audience for an XML sitemap is web spiders. They provide a plaintext list of all the links. You can generate both an HTML and an XML sitemap with the help of a sitemap plugin for WordPress.
Upgrade Your Website Architecture and Improve Your SEO
The structure of your website is crucial to both user satisfaction and search engine rankings. You can increase dwell time and get users to read more of your content if you organise your website well. That will lead to a higher return on investment and higher revenue for your business in the long run.
This post was originally published in October 2018 and has been revised and expanded for accuracy and completeness.