18th June 2021
While content helps to draw visitors to your site, a good website structure makes them stick around.
Your website needs to have a defined structure in order to catch the eye and appeal to customers. A haphazard collection of pages and blog posts isn’t going to cut it when it comes to helping customers navigate their way from one page to another.
But perhaps more importantly, Google uses your site structure to determine what content is important and what is less relevant. A bad structure can mean good content goes to waste.
Why is website structure so important?
Website structure is intrinsic to both usability and discoverability. Your visitors’ experience of your site depends largely on its structure because if they can’t find the products or information they’re looking for, it’s unlikely that they will either stick around or become repeat customers. To put it slightly differently: custom requires navigation, and navigation requires structure.
The keyword to have in your mind when designing your site’s navigation is ‘ease’. Categorise and link your posts and products so they’re easy to find. Imagine how quickly a new visitor will be able to tell what it is you’re offering.
Structure is also important for SEO. The way you structure your site gives Google and other search engines clues about where to find your valuable products, enabling them to find and index your content quickly. This can lead to a higher ranking on their listings. Keeping your structure up to date will stop out of date content and product lines ranking over new ones, which means you won’t be competing with yourself for the top search spots.
What does an ideal website structure look like?
Structuring your site needn’t be complicated. In fact, the simpler your structure, the better. A well-organised site should look like a pyramid with a number of levels, namely:
- Individual posts and pages
Your homepage is your main event; your introduction and your business overview. Any other pages should be able to be filed under one of your categories. These categories can, if your site is larger, be split into subcategories. Beneath this are your individual pages and posts.
Navigation is key
Your homepage is your navigation hub for your visitors. This means that you should link your most important pages from your homepage, in order to increase the likelihood of visitors finding them, and show Google that these pages are important. Your most important pages might include hero products, contact forms and cornerstone content.
But a well-structured homepage isn’t enough. You’ll also need to create a clear navigation path on your site, consisting of two main elements: the menu and the breadcrumbs.
The website menu is the most common aid for navigating a website, so it needs to be as clear and logical as possible. You may not need to include every possible link in your main menu, especially if you’re operating on a larger site, as this can only dilute the value of the pages. Instead, consider which pages are most vital for your business. Where will customers want to get quickly?
Common examples include: Home, About Us, Shop and Contact Us.
Breadcrumbs, meanwhile, are clickable links within the pages themselves, reflecting the overall structure of your site and helping visitors determine where they are. As the name suggests, breadcrumbs encourage visitors to follow a trail and stick around on your site for longer, increasing your chances of turning site visitors into loyal customers.