February 7, 2018
February 7, 2018
We are in the midst of creating a brand new MarketNet website, which got us thinking about the best ways to organize website content—and let us tell ya, there’s a lot of planning and scratching of those plans involved.
We can also tell you that taking the time to get site structure right is absolutely worth it. It doesn’t matter how great your content is, if your audience can’t get to it easily and flow through your site in a logical manner, they’ll waste no time hitting that little “x” in the corner.
To help you get thinking about how effective your website structure is, we compiled several questions we asked ourselves that really helped us get to the meat of our site’s purpose.
Is it your must-have products? Is it your invaluable team of industry experts? Is it your highly influential content? Whatever it is, put it front and center.
When you’re drafting your site’s structure, create a hierarchy. What are your top-level topics? What can be discussed deeper in your website? As difficult as it can be to rank content by importance, it’s necessary in order to effectively guide visitors through your site.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that you essentially have two very different audiences hitting your home page: new visitors and returning visitors.
New visitors may be coming to your site to find out what exactly your company does, check out your products, or view pricing information, among other reasons. Returning visitors might be looking for products, helpful content, etc.
You want new visitors to understand where they are, but you don’t want to annoy returning visitors with too much “who we are” info. It’s a tough balance.
Our best advice is to give snippets of information on your home page and link to more detail. This way, you won’t crowd your home page, but you’re still providing an easy way for people to learn more, with just one click to more in-depth content.
Your home page sets the tone, not only for the entire site but for your entire business. Even returning visitors need that home page to remind them where they are and immerse them in your unique brand personality.
The key to solving this question is language. Think about the words you use, especially in your navigation menu. You might know exactly what you mean when you use industry words, but a visitor may have no clue. Dumb it down—not to assume your audience won’t understand your elevated vocabulary, but to ensure there is no questioning at all.
Providing a “next step” or a call-to-action (CTA) is a must-have for each and every page on your site. You never want to cause your visitors to hit a dead end.
On a page about what your business does, link to the page on specific products or services. After reading about your specific products, invite your visitors to view pricing information, add to cart, or contact you. When in doubt, link to content: “Want to learn more? Check out our blog post.”
The way you present your content is just as important as the content itself. Take a look at your current site and walk yourself through its flow. If things are looking a little jumbled, try laying out all of your content on a piece of paper or in Excel. Once you see all the pieces laid out together, you can rearrange and consider new ways to phrase your navigation. Getting the big picture right will help keep people on your site longer and make it easier for them to come to a decision on whether your business is the right solution for them.