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Tips for Organizing Your Website

business | design | web design by Shannon Noack on February 28, 2012 | 0 Comments

The organization of a website goes hand in hand with its user-friendliness and both are imperative to the success of your company’s website. If your users can’t find what they are looking for, they will likely leave, which is not helpful for you. You want to make sure people can find the pages they need and the content they need on those pages quickly and painlessly. We have some great tips on how to best organize your site, and it really all starts with careful planning from the beginning. Check out our tips and hopefully you’ll be on the way to a nicely organized site that’s helpful and relevant to your users and potential new clients.

Make a Sitemap

If you’re developing a new site or looking to fix up a current site, creating a sitemap is a great place to start. This is what will determine your page structure and what your navigation will look like. We like to define things as parent pages and children pages. Parent pages are the top-level pages, ones that appear in the main navigation on your site. Children pages are underneath a parent and would appear in a dropdown or as a secondary page that’s under something else. Using this structure will help determine where content should be placed and what’s needed on the site.

Keep Parent Pages to a Minimum

One of the biggest mistakes in organization that I’ve seen is using too many parent pages. If your navigation is tough to look through because it includes too many top level pages, your users won’t be able to find what they need. Less parent pages is usually best, and the amount of space you have and the amount of content on your site will determine that number. An average amount of parent pages is about 5-7. Assess what’s most important, many pages work well as children pages and it really helps clean up your site and make it easier to navigate. A parent page should be really important or a general heading for a category. Unless you don’t have a ton of things in your navigation don’t put every page on your site in the top level category, see what could fit under another page. Your users will really appreciate the extra thought in organization.

Use Headers

Your pages all contain content that should be carefully organized just like your navigation and page structure. Using headings or larger text to distinguish between different areas of text is helpful for reading. Many users like to scan through text quickly online to find what they are looking for and headings really help with this. If they can just read the headings and find what they need quickly, your users will appreciate it. Different sites are setup differently, but we recommend using headings 1-3, and most sites with a content management system should have options like that to choose from. Heading 1 is the largest and most prominent, and heading 3 the smallest. Choose your headings appropriately to organize your text nicely.

Add New Content Carefully

When adding new content consider it carefully and decide if it’s really needed and where it will fit best on your site. Consult your sitemap or navigation to see where it could fit, should it be a parent or a child page? If it’s just filler, it probably isn’t needed or could possibly be saved and used as a blog post or email newsletter content. Don’t add something because you feel you need more stuff on your site. Add it only if it’s necessary and relevant for your users. If people have to sort through content that isn’t relevant to them, it’ll feel like clutter and will be a distraction from the rest of your great content.

Careful planning and great organization will aid in creating a great, efficient site that’s used often by people. You want users to find what they need quickly because that will mean a potential sale or will result in them contacting you to get started. Don’t scare away potential business with a cluttered and unusable site, it’s an easy enough fix with our tips above.

What do you feel is the most important area of organization on a website?


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