Whether an online presence is successful or not is not just a question of design and taste. Rather, numerous tangible reasons are responsible for the success of a website or even for its failure.
One of the decisive factors is the structure of the website. Tips on how to optimize the structure of a new or existing website are revealed in this article.
Important for you: Read on even if you already have a website, because: The next relaunch is bound to come. Even though every website can be designed individually and a very specific solution can be found for every issue, there are a few generally valid recommendations for structuring. You can find out what these are in this article.
4 steps to the optimal website structure
You can get a good outline for your website by doing the following:
- Step 1: Write down the topics that should be on your website on index cards (per topic necessarily only 1 card).
- Step 2: Put the cards with the same contents together, so that topic blocks can be formed from them.
- Step 3: Arrange the cards combined into topic blocks in a meaningful order, even if a website is not read continuously.
- Step 4: Provide the stack of related cards with a superordinate term that bundles this topic.
The advantage of this method, where you start from the topics, is that really all content finds a meaningful place on the website. If you develop a structure first, there is a risk that individual topics will remain that cannot be classified. In the worst case, the consequence is the introduction of an additional navigation point that serves to accommodate the “leftovers”.
Deep or flat hierarchy — a decision with consequences.
If you decide on a deep hierarchy, this means that the visitor does not have too much choice at first glance when he comes to your page. He only realizes what you have to offer when he clicks further. This is not a problem if you are addressing a specialist audience that either knows what you have to offer or is so interested that it is happy to take a closer look at your site and work through it.
A deep hierarchy is unfavorable if you are targeting more casual visitors. Especially if your main navigation points are rather general, i.e. give a little hint of what may be hidden behind them. Here, there’s a high risk that visitors will quickly bounce away.
With the flat hierarchy, you show visitors right away the whole wide range of topics they can find on your website. For the impatient user, this variant is certainly the better choice. And: search engines also prefer flat hierarchies, because they have no patience to search for the information.
ATTENTION: Less can be more
Don’t overdo it with a variety of topics. Too wide a range can also overwhelm your visitors. As a recommendation, do not offer more than 7 structure points. This number is easy for visitors to remember. If there are significantly more, you should create your page in such a way that the user can orientate himself. Here, for example, the bread-crump navigation helps. It shows the user the path from the home page to the page he is currently on.
A good website structure allows visitors to your site to quickly find their way around, reach what they are looking for and use the site. Therefore, a top structure is a foundation for your website's success.