If you think architecture should be left solely for buildings, you’re wrong. There’s also a use for architecture when designing a website – it’s all in the technical matters.
Your website is the first place a potential client will go to for information on your business. It’s safe to say the design of your website is important, as is the navigation on your site. We’re going to discuss exactly what this means and why it’s so important to create a solid website architecture.
What is website architecture?
Website architecture refers to the structure of a website. It’s the frame of any easy-to-use website; and by this, we mean one where visitors find information within seconds of clicking onto the site.
What’s so important about website architecture?
To understand why website architecture is important, all you need to do is look at the benefits. It truly can mean the difference between site visitors converting, or them bouncing straight off onto the next site.
The benefits of a well-structured website architecture:
✅ Improves user experience
✅ Drives conversions
✅ Elevates search engine rankings
✅ Decreases bounce rate
✅ Enhances SEO
✅ Navigates search engine crawlers around your site
Great, but what does this all mean?
The first and foremost point here is that it improves user experience. The user is where it all starts and ends – hopefully, with a conversion.
If a visitor finds it incredibly easy to find the information they were looking for, they’ll be inclined to spend more time on the site – because it’s so pleasant to use.
People love easy-to-use products and once they’ve found one, they’ll share it with their peers. The same goes for a website. Consequently, they will be more likely to link to your site pages, making your site a favourite for quality content.
Wait, there’s more! Since you’ve got the time spent on your website up and links to your site pages, the search engine crawlers will be drawn to your site. Coherently, your search engine rankings will sky-rocket.
What are the best practices of website architecture?
Make your website so easy to navigate that you may even deem it ‘boring’. Okay, so boring isn’t the description you want for your website – usually. But in this case, it will benefit you more so.
Picture the layout of your house; it’s simple, easy to get around and difficult to get lost in. Granted you don’t live in a mansion or castle, it’s usually pretty damn easy to find the right room. Even if you make a wrong turn, it’s not that confusing to correct your error.
Take the simple navigation of a home and use it to build your website’s architecture!
Make every link so obvious as to where it is and where it’s going; the visitor doesn’t even have to think about it. One way to make it clear is to use relevant anchor text that is not a victim to keyword stuffing.
Relevant internal links
Each link on your site should be useful and relevant for the visitor. It should also be obvious as to why the content is linked to the site page. If you need an extra boost with this, you can implement an ethical link building campaign to boost referring domains.
Know your way home
It’s great if a visitor managed to navigate straight to the right information, but can they get back home? It’s important to always make it easy for a visitor to get back to the homepage. Which is why you should add a home button to every site page. Either do this or ensure that by clicking the site logo, the user is redirected to the home page. Take our site, for example.
Learn how the pro’s do it
Check out website architecture within your industry and use the most successful ones as guidelines.
Keep it consistent
The design of your navigation, links and other elements of your site should remain consistent. This makes a visitor feel more comfortable navigating around your site as it all looks familiar.
Use a sitemap
A great way to make it easy for visitors to navigate around is to include a sitemap in your footer or navigation bar. A sitemap allows search engines to understand that there are URLs on your website ready to be crawled.
Visitors should be able to get to any place on your site within 3-4 clicks, starting on the homepage. Using top-level navigation is the perfect solution to this. Make sure your main category pages are clear and have them click through to sub-categories pages.
How do you know if your website’s architecture is good enough?
A basic way to know if you’ve got a decent website architecture is to visit your website and consider how you would go about looking for information. Try this on your competitor’s websites too.
👀 Was the information you were looking for easy to find?
😡 Did the navigation frustrate you?
🔁 Would you stay on the site or head back to the search results?
If you find yourself getting lost down the rabbit hole, it might be time to make a few changes. Now that you’ve got all this basic information and checked your website to make sure it’s architecture is up-to-scratch, be sure to head on to more complex guides. The world of websites is an ever-growing one with plenty to learn round each corner!
We’d suggest carrying out a SEO audit once all these changes are implemented in order to ensure everything is running to it’s best potential. We are here to help!