Making a mistake is bullshit. It doesn’t matter if you’re in town or in a corn maze, the ambiguity that you don’t know where you are and what might happen next can drive you out of a cold sweat.
Website visitors feel the same way when they get confused about a website. Almost one of two people leave the website after visiting only one page. We don’t have much time to make a good impression on the user, and if you have a poor site architecture, you increase the bounce rate.
To keep your audience’s attention, it’s important to structure your site in an intuitive and easy-to-navigate way. If you don’t, they’ll hit in seconds. And when people leave your website because your user experience is confusing, search engines don’t think highly of you either.
If you need help structuring a website that engages your audience and ranks in Google, we’ve covered you. We will teach you what website architecture is, why it is important for UX and SEO, and how you can develop a strong architecture for your website.
What is website architecture?
Website architecture is the hierarchical structure of the pages on your website. This structure is reflected in internal linkages. The structure of your website should help users easily find information and help search engine robots understand the relationship between different pages.
There is no doubt that the structure of your website plays a critical role in retaining users and increasing conversions.
Implementing a website structure will help you design your website for a user experience. You may have the most amazing content, but if users don’t find it, they’ll leave for a competitor’s site.
A typical website structure looks like rooted tree graph, in which the home page is the root. The leaves unlinked from the home page are branches, and from there on each page additional branches have germinated. These branches are then interconnected.
This is what it usually looks like:
Why is website structuring important?
A reliable website architecture enhances the user experience of your website. By structuring your website in an intuitive way, users can easily find the information they’re looking for.
In addition, if your user experience is strong, so will your search engine rankings. Users spend more time on your website and link to your websites, both of which are difficult indicators that your brand is creating quality content.
In addition, there is a solid website architecture:
- Helps search engines effectively crawl your website.
- Encourages in-depth site navigation by providing users with more pages to visit.
- Distributes page authority more fairly so that the page is not left out.
- Strengthens current authority due to strong internal communication structure between related or similar topics.
- Increases conversions by making it easier to find products lead creative content.
Let’s look at some of the best practices you should keep in mind when designing your site’s architecture.
Website architecture best practices
- Create a simple, state-of-the-art navigation menu.
- Keep your URLs simple and user-friendly.
- Model the architecture of your website with the best in your field.
- Keep your website consistent.
- Apply the internal linking model of the pillar cluster.
- Give access to most pages on your website in 3-4 clicks.
- Use breadcrumbs.
- Create an HTML and XML Sitemap.
1. Create a simple, state-of-the-art navigation menu.
First, don’t give too much top level menu items. Second, be sure to deliver content that is allowed according to the name of the menu item.
For example, if your users click on the “Email Marketing” tab on your blog’s home page, they will be expected to be directed to your list of email marketing posts. From this page, you also need to create an easy navigation path back to your blog home page and your website home page.
See the example below at our own website:
The menu is divided into three simple menu items: Software, Pricing, and Resources. On the “Resources” tab, users can find different resources, divided into different labels.
Don’t let users think too much. A website that is difficult to navigate has a high bounce rate. Users don’t want to waste time finding information on their site. When they do, they just leave. So practice your empathy and provide an intuitive online experience.
2. Keep your URLs simple and user-friendly.
No users want to read this URL:
It’s important to create user-friendly URLs. Most CMS systems, for example CMS center and WordPress, automatically generate a user-friendly URL based on the title of your page. It usually sounds like this:
You can also create subdirectories that are easy to track.
TipA: Although subdirectories are useful for UX, they do not need to reflect the architecture of your site. Internal linking matters more than the structure of the URL. This means you can structure your URLs as follows:
All you have to do is link them to each other and their internal links to the older pages.
3. Model the architecture of your website according to the top performers in your field.
Your customers are familiar with the website architecture of the major brands in your industry, so if you have an ecommerce site, analyze how Amazon builds their website and emulate them. Your website seems to be more familiar and easier to navigate.
4. Keep your website consistent.
Your website’s navigation format, design policies, and display of links should all follow a consistent pattern. Keeping these elements the same will keep your users on your site longer because it’s easier for them to navigate to new pages and click on links.
5. Apply the internal linking model of the pillar cluster.
In pillar-cluster model, you have a parent page (pillar) that connects the child pages (cluster). These children’s pages then bind together to form a cluster.
This model clarifies your internal link structure and effectively directs users to other relevant and useful content. When users find an internal link on your website, they should immediately understand what content the link links to and why that content links from the page they are currently on.
Here is a strategy for connecting pillars and clusters for a training blog.
Lines indicate internal links.
One internal precaution you should be careful about is not stuffing keywords into your link anchor text. It’s called black hat seoand to prevent this, Google has developed specific algorithms to punish such behavior.
6. Give access to most pages of your website in 3-4 clicks.
Even if your website has a million pages, the architecture should allow users to start from the home page and get to any page in three to four clicks.
To do this, design a cutting-edge navigation which directs users to the main categories of your website. Then, make sure that all the pages in the main category of your website can click on all the pages in the subcategory.
7. Use breadcrumbs.
After internal linking, breadcrumbs are the ultimate way to display the architecture of your website. These links show the parent pages of the page to the home page. They are usually placed above the page title and have arrows that indicate the path of the current page.
Here is an example The best buy:
8. Create an HTML and XML Sitemap.
A Sitemap is a document that lists all the crawled pages on your website. This is extremely important for the architecture of your website, as it shows your structure in a readable and crawling format.
The HTML Sitemap is user-oriented and has the same design as the rest of your website. This is usually for users who can’t find a specific page and would benefit from seeing a list of all your pages.
Here is eBay HTML sitemap as an example:
An XML Sitemap is designed primarily for search engine crawlers. They list all URLs in plain text format. If your site is in WordPress, you can use a sitemap plugin to create both HTML and XML Sitemaps.
Update your website architecture and improve your SEO
The architecture of your website is incredibly important for both the user experience and SEO. With a solid website structuring strategy, you can extend latency and attract users to consume more of your content. This means more conversions, increasing your return on investment and increasing your company’s revenue.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October 2018 and has been updated for completeness.