Looking for tips on how to increase your website traffic?
Very often you’ll see tips on improving SEO, creating great content, and using an intriguing website design. Before all that, though, you must lay down the foundation first for SEO success.
The way to do this is by creating a logical website structure. This allows for better crawling, but it also serves as a base for a great user experience.
It goes hand in hand with website design; you can’t rely on a great design if you have a poor structure. Similarly, having a great structure alone is like a human body with only the skeleton – no meat, no organs, and no skin.
Read on to learn what makes a good structure for better SEO and good user experience.
How to Create a Great Website Structure
A good site structure is great for both SEO and user experience. This helps reduce the bounce rate and increase the dwell time at the same time. This can then lead to better rankings.
Not sure where to begin? To help you out, here are things to keep in mind when creating your website structure.
The first step to developing a website is planning out the hierarchy of your pages. This is the base of the site navigation and the URL structure. You can do this on apps like Visio and OmniGraffle, but you can also do it by hand on a whiteboard or some papers.
The site hierarchy starts with the main page and from there, a number of main categories will branch out. Each of the main categories then branches out to more subcategories.
Each category should be about the same size. If one is about twice the size of one other category, consider dividing it into 2 to keep the balance.
Creating a hierarchy shouldn’t be that complicated, though. Simply keep each one of the categories unique and distinct, and make sure that all the subcategories relate to the main category.
Keep the number of main categories small. About 2 to 7 will do unless it’s an e-commerce website. If your initial plan has 8 or more, consider reorganizing them to bring them down to 7.
This follows the hierarchy. If it’s logical, your website’s URL structure will be well-organized as well.
This means that the phrase after the first “/” in a URL is a main category, and the phrases following the succeeding “/” are subcategories under the main category.
For example, you have a pest control website. A user who wants to find information about your quarantine fumigation service will first go to your main page, then to your Services tab. From there, they may then click Fumigation and then Quarantine Fumigation.
The URL structure will copy this route, which should result in “https://pestcontrolwebsite.com/services/fumigation/quarantine-fumigation.”
The path that took the user to the Quarantine Fumigation page is the navigation structure. Note how the user had to click 3 times to get to the page they’re looking for, which is about the optimal depth of the navigations structure.
Don’t bury the most important pages deep within subcategories upon subcategories. A shallow website works best, which has every page within 3 or fewer clicks from the main page.
It allows the visitor to reach a page more easily, increasing your website’s usability score. It also increases the crawlability and keeps the URL length to a minimum. If you have too many subcategories, your URL length will keep on getting longer.
Internal Linking Structure
If the hierarchy is the skeleton, then internal linking is the meat. Internal links are links that take a user to a different page on the same website.
As a rule, every page should have links leading to the main categories and subcategories. However, it’s also worth linking one leaf-level page to another leaf-level page.
Why are internal links important anyway?
For one, they allow users to navigate your website. They also help establish hierarchy, and they also help pass on link juice to the other pages.
They also have an important SEO function: they help improve the crawlability and indexability of the website.
Crawlers follow the links. If the search engine can access every page in your website, it will be able to index them, which refers to adding the page to the search results.
With a good internal linking structure, you not only help the users navigate your webpage, but you help the search engine, too.
Website Design Tips to Remember
A good website structure only provides a great user experience if it has a good design to go with it. Small businesses can either hire a designer to make a unique web design for their company, or they can go for website design templates.
A website layout template can also provide a good user experience as long as the navigation is smooth and the other technical aspects are properly implemented. Still, it’s best to keep in mind these characteristics of the best website formats when choosing a web design.
Depending on the nature of your business, your header can contain the name of the website, or the logo of your business, or no graphics at all. What’s important is that the header should have the main navigation pages.
Simply list the main categories in the header; other elements are unnecessary. You may have a persistent header menu that doesn’t go away with scrolling and drop-down menus.
However, we’d advise against using effects that don’t do anything for SEO, such as images with links. Google doesn’t crawl images like text; an image-based navigational structure might hurt your ranking.
If you have a footer, it should copy the links in the header in the same order and without other categories. This will simplify the user experience.
We all want our website to look its best, but don’t forget the main purpose of your every visitor. It’s not to marvel at the nice visuals but to complete an action, whether that is to look up a piece of information or to contact you.
The visuals on your website should be clean and clear. There’s no stopping you from adding some cool graphics but don’t add design elements that serve no function.
Don’t use too many colors on a web page, and use typefaces that are legible. Cursive typefaces look good but choose the ones that aren’t confusing if you must use them. Don’t use more than 3 typefaces as well.
You can have pleasant-looking websites without going overboard. In fact, a page with too many visual noises can even hurt the user experience.
Yes, every web page should look good and simple, but all of them must follow a theme. The look and feel of your website should be consistent across all pages.
We’re not telling you to use the same layout for every page, though. You can use different layouts as long as one type of page only uses one website layout template.
For example, every Help page uses one template, while every product page uses a different one. This is perfectly okay as long as each template has the same feel as the other.
In general, the following elements should be consistent:
- Typefaces (styles and sizes)
- Color scheme
Even the tone of writing should be consistent across all types of content. This will improve the usability and user experience of your site.
This 2018, the majority of website traffic worldwide comes from mobile phones. This emphasizes the importance of a responsive web design, which refers to the compatibility of a website with different devices, operating systems, and browsers.
Your website must then be able to render well on tablets and mobile phones in addition to desktop computers. The layout and content should automatically reshuffle to fit the dimensions of the device.
Google is also prioritizing responsive websites. The responsiveness now also affects the ranking, so it’s not solely a matter of providing a great user experience anymore.
While it’s tempting to provide an entirely unique experience, it might not be a good idea to throw away the conventions out the window. This may include links that change color or appearance when a user hovers over them or having the navigation menu at the top side of the page.
There are other conventions that users have become familiar with that straying away from them is a mistake. Instead of having a smooth and hassle-free experience, they may end up confused with the navigation.
For instance, using a different icon than a shopping cart or a shopping basket to signify the cart or checking out might confuse the customer. They may end up leaving instead of completing the purchase if they don’t find the cart.
Have a Great Website Structure and Design
There’s clearly a lot to consider when creating the website structure and when choosing the design.
If you want to talk to a professional for an expert’s advice, contact us now. Approach us today and let’s discuss how we can make sure your website provides a smooth experience.