Are you looking to create an effective website outline? Several criteria must be met when redesigning or when designing your website. One of these criteria is the outline of your website. This element is very important since it determines both the structure but also the visual side of the website.
Through a comprehensive approach, this article will highlight the different steps to follow when creating a powerful and effective website outline to create added value to your site.
A website outline: What’s that?
The outline of a website is the site’s internal structure and the way in which information is organized throughout different pages. This structure must comply with certain rules in order to be identified and referenced more clearly by search engines.
During the creation of the website’s structure and outline, you must first address two questions:
1. Who does the site’s content address?
The first step is to clearly identify who your users are as well as their demographics. To do this, we suggest keeping records that represent one or more type of users that reflect the grand majority of users. These records are called “personas” as they summarize certain information such as gender, age, employment status, geographic location etc.
These demographics will help you better determine the overall structure of the site according to the people you want to reach.
2. What needs do my products/services meet?
It is necessary to clearly identify the problems or issues that users may face. This subsequently allows you to prioritize content based on its importance and to provide the most complete user experience.
The analysis should focus on the offers, categories, catalog, and “about” (Terms and Conditions, Frequently Asked Questions etc.).
How should you structure the outline of your website during its design phase
My Little Big Web offers 4 steps for setting up an effective website outline:
Step 1: Prepare the hierarchical ranking of your website before its creation
A mistake we often make is focusing on the outline after creating a website. However, it is necessary to study how your site will be organized in advance.
To do this, you can you to use spreadsheet software such as Excel and also graphic software like Photoshop.
Regardless of the medium, the hierarchical ranking needs to be made logical, precise and concise.
It is also interesting to learn about how your competitors have organized their website outline. This allows for a sense of consistency between the type of product / service offered and how the site is arranged.
Hierarchal ranking is (most often) organized in the following format (photo credit: moz.com):
This type of hierarchal ranking does not apply to all sites, some of which use a horizontal model.
The ranking style you choose depends on both your personal taste but also the size and number of pages on your website.
Step 2: Consistency of URLs
Internal linkage shows how pages related or linked together.
Two things to remember:
- Link all the pages together to provide access to any page from any page.
- Don’t lock-in users: avoid the so-called “cul-de-sac ” or, in other words, pages with no possibility of direct return or access to certain pages. This increases the bounce rate and gives your site a negative image that users may even consider non-functional.
Step 4: Creating navigation scenarios
When these first three steps are completed, it is time to create navigation scenarios. These scripts are supposed to allow you to recreate real navigation situations and determine if your website’s outline is “viable”.
The impact of website outlines on SEO
The outline of your website directly affects its SEO positioning and therefore directly affects your business activity.
A good outline initially allows create “site links”.
These links on the response pages of your search engine have a direct and positive effect on click-through rates.
Only indexed pages can appear on search engines. This is why it is essential to ensure that Google can access the pages you want to make public and to prevent search engines bots from finding the pages you do not wish to make public (such as destinations pages dedicated to your advertising campaigns).
Ease of navigation
The structural outline of your website must be made in order to facilitate navigation of your users by offering fast and intuitive navigation, allowing them to obtain information as easily as possible.
The more difficult navigation is, the more your SEO will be impacted negatively because the SEO depends largely on the user experience you offer.
The development of your website’s outline is the result of careful reflection on the ergonomics and on the internal organization of your website. It is essential to achieve a good outline, bearing in mind it must primarily improve the user experience but also the design of your site.
All these elements ultimately allow you to improve the SEO positioning of your site and to reach your target audience more easily.