How to structure your website in four easy steps

by Andrew Stone August 17, 2015

How you present your online story to the world is as important as the words and images you choose to tell it. Taking time to define the structure will help search engines rank your site prominently and help prospective clients quickly find out what you can do for them.

Designing an effective webpage need not be difficult or expensive. Decide who you are trying to reach and what you want to say to them, then apply a few basic rules and your site will be an asset for the business.

1. Create a plan

Define the target audience for your website. List the pages you need to include to best communicate your message to them and then subdivide these into sections you want on each page. Think about where the more dynamic content will appear, such as on social media feeds, newsletters, guides or your blog.

2. Structure for clear navigation

If you have different kinds of clients, think about how to make the signposting on the pages clear so you send the right people to the right page or section.

Then divide each page into three parts:

  • Head: Containing the keywords and information for search engines and browsers.
  • Body: The information your customers will be interested in.
  • Footer: A visual full stop for the page. It helps visitors grasp the site structure instantly. It’s also a good place to include newsletter sign-up forms, links, footnotes, legal or privacy disclaimers and further reading.

and dont forget the sidebar

It’s an eye-catching option to consider placing punchy testimonials that draw the eye, show off awards, provide links to key products or point visitors to social media.

3. Optimise for mobile and local

Now more than ever, Australians are reaching for their smartphone or tablet when researching purchases and shopping online, as purchases via mobile devices grew by 30 per cent in 2013 alone. And with 65 per cent of searches beginning on mobile phones, your webpages need to look clear on these devices.

Local search on mobile devices is also more important as smartphone users increasingly use their locations to search for nearby providers.

This all matters even more now, as earlier this year Google made mobile a key part of how it ranks pages.

Your aim is to get a mobile-friendly rating to appear with your page rankings on Google. It’s also vital to structure your pages and writing to suit mobile:

  • Keep the space you give text in your design tight. Shorter is better on mobile, and make sure it appears at a realistic size on mobile devices.
  • Make calls to action prominent on the page with buttons that are large enough for mobile devices.
  • Set your site’s scale defaults appropriately – avoid scrolling and especially horizontal scrolling.
  • Claim your Google My Business page, ensuring contact information, opening hours, address and contact details are complete.

4. Set up reports

Sites such as Google Analytics, Raven and Moz enable you to automatically create reports that show which pages get read and which get ignored. This will give you valuable data-led insights to apply to tweak and improve your website structure over time.

In summary, keep it simple and short, and optimise the structure of both the site and each page for mobile and local search. Study how visitors use the site and which pages they land on first to help optimise the site further.

For more information, please contact us.

Andrew Stone

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Andrew Stone is a seasoned business journalist and former small business editor of the Sunday Times in London. He writes about entrepreneurship, SMEs and all things digital for a range of business titles.

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