Often the most ignored area of website design is structure.
Having identified your market sectors we look for common themes which then determines how the website should be structured and content written. As the website grows, this structure provides a clear web page hierarchy (see Google guidelines) and easy navigation to related content for the searcher. Your content finds a natural place under main headings which describe the essence of your products or services and Company related information. With directories and individual page URL's being descriptive of page content; this organised approach provides a logical and simple navigation system; which will have a positive effect on your users, rankings and reflect well on your organisation.
Web users expect navigation menus to be located either at the top or down the side of the page because this has evolved as the industry norm. Unfortunately designers seem to feel obliged to pact these menus with a mass of unstructured or unrelated links in the mistaken belief that this will improve ranking. A well structured website will logically group pages together allowing visitors to instantly access content which matches their search term; and easily navigate via submenus to pages which either provide, helpful information or a better match for their needs.
The use of themes allows pages to be grouped by related subject content, with a natural hierarchy which places a higher importance on main pages and uses the sub-pages to help reinforce there key subjects. Note: - Google uses PageRank™ to examine the entire link structure of the web and determine which pages are most important. The website is judged as a whole, the context and content of each page, playing a vital role.
Although the subject matter within each theme would ideally be mutually exclusive to avoid users hopping from one theme to another, there are often natural content links between categories and these are provided. We limit the depth of the structure to an absolute maximum of three clicks from the Home page and consider increasing the number of main themes as required.
With an organised structure new content falls naturally within a particular category, reinforcing the ranking of main subject pages and making site expansion simpler, with only related pages being affected.
We spend time considering site themes and planning the structure at the beginning of design process because it provides a sound foundation for producing a well ranked content rich website. With simple navigation for potential clients.