When was the last time you went to the second page of results in Google or any other search engine? Can’t remember? Me neither. Google alone processes 40 thousand searches every single second and every website owners is trying to figure out how to be among the first few results and get traffic.
Fun fact: Google started with only 4 crawlers that could analyze 600kb of information per minute.
Good website structure is one of the key elements that could take you closer to the goal. Bear in mind that a good structure equals to good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and good user experience.If you are in the planning stage of building a website, this is the best moment to consider a good and strong structure, if you already have an established site, no worries, there are still ways to fix the mess.
So how do we get there? These are a few important elements you should consider in order to have a good structure:
Figuring out how to map your site is pretty much the first step towards creating a website. With it, you can clarify and plan a site structure that makes sense and displays the information in the most efficient way. Users should be able to find the information they’re looking for quickly and easily.
Having a purpose for the website sounds like something fairly obvious but reality is, a lot of people want a website but they don’t know what information they want to display or what they want people to accomplish and that’s why mapping and structure in general should always precede visual design. Don’t even think about how you want the site to look like before having the actual content.
A clear navigation area containing the top pages of your site should always be visible and one of the first things the visitor should find. Don’t try and put every single page and section of the website in the menu. Also, the navigation menu should be at the same place and look the same in every page of your site.
According to a Microsoft Corp. study, people have an attention span of less than 8 seconds. If they don’t find what they’re looking for in that amount of time and there’s too much information, buttons and menus, it becomes overwhelming and they will most likely leave and go to another website and your traffic will decrease.
Tip: sometimes it’s convenient to use Sticky Headers which is a feature that makes the menu “follow” you as you scroll up and down.
After defining the top levels of the website, it’s time to define the hierarchy and what pages go below and above other pages. Users will often start at the home page and from there navigate deeper into other sections, secondary pages and other content. If site hierarchy is well organized, users should be able to find what they’re looking for with ease.
4. URL structure
If most of your website’s URLs look like this: “mysite.com/jpg=124?+12/12/2017″ or even worse, you’re main URL looks like this: mysiteissuperawesomenandgreatohyeah.mysites.com you are in trouble! This is not only ugly and difficult to remember and understand for humans but it’s also very bad for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Bad SEO = No traffic.
5. Internal Linking
Links that go to and from different pages within the same website is what we call Internal Linking. This will help the user navigate the website with other alternative besides the main navigation menu and provide different options to get to the desired content.
Which of these elements do you think you should be improving on your website? Hit the comments and I might be able to help you figure out solutions.
Don’t forget to check out my portfolio, where I’m constantly adding new work in progress and projects.