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How to create a good website structure?

Blog, March 21, 2015

In this article there will be discussed issues relating to navigation and website structure.

Once a visitor opens the main page of your website, two basic questions are raised.

What is this all about? How to get around here?

Navigation – determines how quickly people can find things which they are looking for and get necessary information from the website.

Structure – determines the breadth and depth of information location, and whether the website visitors will understand the relative position to the other data. Structure should provide context.

  • When they click a website link or type its URL will they easily understand where they are?
  • How do they get to the information they’re interested in?

Website structure can essentially follow two models:-

  • Taxonomy – traditional hierarchical classification e.g. Vehicles > Land vehicles > Road vehicles > Autos > Used autos
  • Faceted search – attribute-value data e.g. Used autos, used, black, Japanese, driving, automatic gearbox, small, 600 dollars

Determining the website structure is one of the most important tasks of every website designer; re-structuring later because one did not predict the necessary scalability or flexibility can be very expensive.

Why website structure is crucial

Your website structure and navigation are extremely important for three fundamental reasons:

  • Indexing – helping search engines robots crawl all your pages.

Only if a page is crawled and indexed by a search engine can it appear on SERPs.

  • Link juice- sharing it with all your pages.

Link juice is generated when other sites link to your website. Link juice is important and your main pages should be full of it as much as possible.

  • Usability – making the process of searching for the interested information as enjoyable as it can be for users

Excellent usability is a requirement to please both search engines and users. Keep in mind, poor usability is poor SEO.

Rule of 5+/- 2

People process data better when they deal only with 3 -7 elements (known as the rule of 5 plus/minus 2 as the optimal number of elements is 5) so the planning and creation of hierarchical website structures needs to take into consideration this crucial user requirement. However, it often happens that in practice this perfect number can not be honored and more than 7 items are needed in a menu website structure. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to create a clear and simple navigation design and layout are so important even when the website structure depth is not in accordance with the rule.

Another factor which determines the website structure is the internet culture of the target audience. Whether you site is for Arabic or Chinese people. This aspect defines it. If you want to learn about Chinese webdesign, read here.

Remember, the practice shows that there are not so many web designers out there who besides being great at web design have excellent understanding of SEO. Sometimes it happens that some of the most gorgeous websites don’t provide any traffic. So, if you want a new website that will have a website structure that is compatible with Google and other search engine requirements, it is recommended to consult with the website and SEO experts in the area. They will explain you where and how you can get the most advantages from your website information and structure.