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The 5 key factors for creating a website that works: part 2 – structure

The structure of your website is crucial. It defines how users navigate your site to find information about your business. Your web designer should help you with this process and you should also speak to an SEO expert before you set the final structure, as they will help you to create an SEO friendly site. For this reason I won’t go into too much detail regarding keywords, headlines titles and section names, however listed below are some handy hints and rules for creating a great web structure that will really help your business.

Written By:
Paul Wright
  • 28/12/2010
  • 6 Mins to Read
  • By: Paul Wright
  • Share

Set your goals for the website

Whether its creating more leads, increasing sales, or building online relationships you need to set goals for your website. Please read my previous blog for more details on this.

Make your site easy to navigate

A good rule of thumb for an excellent web structure; your users should be able to easily find any of the information they need within 3 clicks.

Ideally this means that you should create a 3 level navigation system. Your home page will be the first level, your main sections will be the second level and then the sections within the main sections (sub sections) will be on the third level.

Create Web or Spider Diagrams

Create rough web diagrams to show the structure of the website. A web diagram is a type of visual aide that represents the relationship among parts of a whole.

Setting a hierarchy of information

You should make a hierarchy table of information. Gather all the information you want to go on the website and then transfer into a table with the most important information at the top of the table working its way down to the least important.

Once you and your web design team know this, you will be able to work out what information should be most prominent throughout the site.

Talk to your web design & SEO team

At this point it would be good to talk to your SEO team who will help you define your keywords, heading titles etc, so your site will be structurally sound for good search engine listings. Once you know this your web design team should be able to proceed with the next stage of their design process.

Start gathering content

Speaking from a web designers point of view, it’s usually best if we can have all the content upfront before we start to design the layout for a website. This is for many reasons, but primarily so we can be more creative with the space we have. If we don’t know how much content goes into a space then it’s a bit like having a plate but not knowing how much food we’ll have to go on that plate. If we receive lots of food that’s too much for the plate then the food piles up and spills over, causing a bit of a mess. If we don’t receive a lot of food, say a couple of peas, then those peas on that big plate look a bit lost. Now space is a good thing, but if you have to much space then it’s not making the best use of the plate or the space!

Now I’m talking in an ideal world and the world isn’t always ideal. Business people are usually very busy doing what they do best, so having content ready for a site when they’ve only just realised their goals for it is highly unlikely. It takes time, time which a lot of people don’t have and that often leaves web designers waiting for content from the client.

As much as we’d love to help write your copy and gather content for your site, you know your business processes in more detail than we do, and with a little hard work you can create something brilliant.

If we don’t know how much content goes into a space then it’s a bit like having a plate but not knowing how much food we’ll have to go on that plate.