Organizing Your Website: A Beginner's Guide

Organizing Your Website: A Beginner's Guide

Having a well-designed and thought out website makes navigation intuitive and friendly. When you go to a website that hasn't had any thought put into it, you know it right away. Here we offer some helpful tips for organizing your website so it's user-friendly and workable.

The main menu should tell it all

When visitors arrive at your website, the menu options you have should explain your site very quickly and easily. If a visitor has to guess where the menu options will take them, you don't have a concise menu.

List and define the pages of your website

If you think you'll only need a handful of pages for your website, you are missing opportunities and are not taking advantage of everything your website is capable of. Start by listing the pages of your website that you think you should have. Some pages are ubiquitous and you can rattle these off quickly, such as a Contact Us page, a FAQ page, and others. Once you get past these common pages, you can start to get specific for your business and industry.

Related:  The importance of content analysis

Website design

For example, if you were an accountant, you would want to have a page for personal taxes, business taxes, business accounting services, and most likely several other pages, including a page for your blog where you talk about different things related to accounting. When you start adding these pages up, you'll quickly blow past a dozen pages and be looking at several dozen. All of these are useful when marketing your services, as you will get people visiting your website who come in to different pages and not just your home page.

Give each service its own landing page

Using the example of the accountant, there are multiple services that he or she offers. Each service should have a separate landing page because each of them is an opportunity. This isn't much more work to do, but the payoff is worth the effort.

Why multiple landing pages

What is the point of having multiple landing pages on your site? Not every visitor will come to your homepage first. Some will enter your site via another page, and if you make some of those pages "landing pages" for your different services, they will index well on search engines. Your website needs to be targeted, not a one-size-fits-all.

Provide call-to-actions on each page

Every page on your website provides an opportunity to have people continue to stick on your website. How do you do this? By providing clear call-to-action links and language that encourage the visitor to move on to the next step. The ultimate goal would be to have them make an appointment with you or to call and request someone to come out to their home.

For example, the accountant may have a landing page for personal taxes, and at the bottom of the page they are presented with a call-to-action to schedule their appointment to get their taxes done. The easier you make things, the more conversions you will have on the call-to-action spots.

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Use visual hierarchy

On each page of your website, you will want to have a hierarchy of things. Website designers use this hierarchy to guide you around the website and to call attention to the important things. Using headers and sub-headers to break up your page makes it easier to read, and visitors can visually scan the page for the important information they are seeking. You don't have to have a lot of sections on each page, and even a few will visually break things up and make it easier for your visitors.

Collect visuals and copy

Now that you have your pages broken up, it's time to get your images and graphics in place, along with your writing. What you want to do is to be consistent on your pages. If you are starting with a visual on your pages, do that consistently across all of your pages. When you can, use branded photos. When you are writing the content, be sure to write it in a consistent manner; if you are trying to have a humorous bent to your website, do so across all of your pages, not just a handful of them.

Related:  The ultimate guide to writing exercises

SEO

Create Content

Up to this point, much of what you have been doing has been more "fun". Designing how your website will function is fun, looking for cool or cute pictures can be fun, getting graphics for different pages is fun. Writing content for those pages? Well, that often isn't fun because it's referred to as work. But this is important work, and the content that you write for each page should be quality. It should also relate to the page title, and if you start veering into another topic, that's the time to provide a link to your other page or pages that discuss that; don't do it here.

A word about SEO

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is how you make your pages more friendly to being indexed by search engines. When you use GhostStead for your blog, you have a helpful host that is SEO-ready, meaning that you will not need extra things to help with SEO.

Know your target audience - Questions to ask yourself

You aren't just writing content for anyone, you have a specific group of people in mind that would visit your website and use your services. Do you know who they are? Here are some questions to help narrow down who your target audience is:

  • Who are you building this website for?
  • What are your visitor's needs?
  • What are their pain points?
  • Are you answering their basic questions?
  • Are you speaking to them in their language?
  • Are you guiding your website visitors to take the next step?
  • Is there a call to action?

Upgrade site navigation

Once you have your website built, it's important to go back through it to make sure that you have the navigation done well and you aren't overwhelming visitors. We look at things from left to right, so having your main menu in logical order will make a lot of sense to visitors. When you are looking to add something to your main menu, don't have more than a handful of options, otherwise it will be an overload to people. Grouping pages into drop-down menus helps keep the number of main menu items to a manageable number.

Related:  Organization strategies for your small business

Devices

Guide Summary

Having a functional website can make a huge difference in whether people stick around your website and end up following those call-to-actions, or if they get overwhelmed and leave quickly. Look at several other websites and break down what they do right as well as what they do wrong when it comes to navigation.

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