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. To do this, 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 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 navigation 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 wanted 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 “crawable” by Google. Linking to your pages ensures Google can find them, which increases your SEO. Keeping this in mind, it’s important that outdated pages are either deleted or redirected to relevant content, or you risk denting your overall ranking.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. But 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.
Don’t miss Michael DeVito’s session, “Building the Best Mobile Experience for Today’s Automotive Consumer” at the Digital Dealer Workshops in Cherry Hill, N.J. on Oct. 16-17, 2017. Register now and start building your agenda!
Michael DeVito oversees the Design, Development and Production departments at DealerOn in his role as the Chief Creative Officer. With 15 years of experience in multimedia/web design, Michael is an expert in interactive design, UX, brand identity design, content creation and print collateral. He has worked as a designer, writer and art director for a variety of companies including Marvel, DC Comics, Cartoon Network, Comedy Central, and MTV.
Author: Michael DeVito
Chief Creative Officer Michael DeVito oversees the Design, Development and Production departments at DealerOn. Michael is an expert in interactive design, UX, brand identity design, content creation and print collateral, and is also responsible for the design and coordination of the development of DealerOn’s responsive website platform, Chameleon.