Creating a website involves far more than just throwing some cool images onto a page and adding some content. Determining your website’s structure plays an important role in visitor ‘stickiness’ and also helps the search engines to index your internal pages properly.
Perhaps you’ve visited a site yourself where the front page contained a brilliant flash animated feature. Even though it looks spectacular, as a visitor you’re expected to sit there and wait for it to load before you can even access any of the information you were trying to reach. This can lead many people to click away in annoyance, especially if you haven’t left a link for them to skip the intro and get right in the site where they want to be.
The key to good web design is to think about functionality in the eyes of your visitors. They need to be able to navigate around your site easily and they want to be able to find the content they’re looking for quickly.
This means creating pages that load quickly and contain user-friendly navigation to help people get around as easily as possible. Visitors will base their opinions on first impressions, so work on keeping your main web page clean and functional.
Your Website’s Structure
Obviously, the first page most people will see is your home page or index page. It’s not possible to put all the information available on that front page, but it is possible to convey a clear message what your site’s about and what visitors can expect to find there.
This means creating a hierarchy of pages that link from your home page in the deeper sections of your site.
For example, You might have your home page linking to a series of internal pages using your navigation links. This works very well if your site only contains a few internal pages. But what happens when you have a lot of content on your site? You can’t possibly link to every individual page from your home page, or you risk visitors just clicking away in confusion.
This is where you need to create sub-index pages that lead visitors into specific sections of your site, where they want to be.
For example, Your home page might link to a sub-index page that says ‘Article Index’. Your visitors will know they can find links to the articles they want here, so they’ll click through and understand they’ll find even more internal links that point to individual content pages.