Setting up a website with good structure could seem like an intimidating task. If you have the right information and know-how, you should find it a lot easier. Thousands of websites are being created each day, and a good site structure could help yours stand out from the rest and be ranked higher by search engines like Google. Throughout this page, I will simply breakdown the key aspects of site structure such as tags, taxonomies and internal linking. Using these will help you get the best from your site.
The ‘Pyramid’ Structure
It’s believed the perfect structure for a site is for it to be laid out in the form of a pyramid. Picture the shape of a pyramid – the top of the pyramid should be your homepage or central page. Followed by that is the different categorised pages below. Thus, forming the pyramid structure.
Separating your pages into categories eases the site structure as it helps visitors pick out pages with the material they need. Categorising your pages maximises how easy it is to navigate.
Some bigger sites may choose to add subcategories to the pyramid structure due to the vastness of pages and posts. This just makes it even clearer for the reader to find what they are looking for. This is also helpful with keeping the categories roughly the same size. Having your sites information too heavily weighted towards one category reduces the smoothness of it’s structure. There are cases where one category has a lot of content to write about. This means it will be bigger than others, which is fine and can be dealt with. One category shouldn’t really be double the size of another. What can be done is splitting the page into two separate ones. That way the structure is kept balanced.
(You can still keep the pages you have split linked together clearly, which leads me to the next point…)
What are tags and taxonomies?
Taxonomy simply means a method of grouping things on your site together. WordPress is often used for writing blogs and is a software which allows you to do so freely. This software lets you use taxonomies, one way is using the categories in the pyramid structure you have created. Another way to use taxonomies on WordPress is by using tags, which are like a subcategory for taxonomies.
Tags – How to use them
Tags are keywords or buzz-words. For example, you could have one blog about a certain type of mobile phone. Then using the tag ‘best mobile’ you could link it to a few different blogs which mention that phone too. This way, if a visitor to your site enjoyed the first blog about the mobile phone and wanted to read more about it, using the tag they could navigate to the other pages which use the same tag. Although, try not to use too many. Using a vast amount of new tags in posts can confuse the structure.
Tags need to be visible to the visitor using your site. If they can’t clearly see it, it’s pointless! In most cases, tags are located the bottom of the page, or to the side. This makes them stand out from any big blocks of text. Some WordPress plug-ins and themes come with their own tags situated in these places on the page, but it is better to create your own as it will be unique to your content rather than using one everyone has.
Using taxonomies and tags are another way of making your site clearer to visitors and search engines like Google, which is of the up-most importance.
The homepage of your pyramid structure must give all the sub-pages internal linking paths. Think of it like a central hub for all your posts. Your sub-pages don’t have to have a direct link back to the homepage embedded within the post, but rather making sure there is a way to get back to the homepage. This is usually via having the logo at the top or corner of the page which users can click to navigate back. What this means is ensuring your site has the right amount of necessary internal links.
Why are these important?
Internal linking is what visitors and search engines use to navigate them from one page to another within the site. This improves it’s usability. The relevance of linking pages together, especially in cases where the content is very alike, is to boost your sites SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Search engines can easily decipher good relevant information from irrelevant information using these links. The easier search engines like Google can do this, the better ranking your site will get.
Regarding internally linking your site, cornerstone articles will be something you will need to bare in mind.
The most vital pages or posts of your site are referred to as ‘cornerstone content’ or ‘cornerstone articles’. These pages are the most relevant to what your site is about. Using our previous example, say the site was about mobile phones, you would want your cornerstone article to have all the best information about mobile phones that you can provide. The other pages branch off of this.
These should ideally be one of the first pages visitors and search engines will come across on your site, as they hold the most important information they will be looking for. The homepage should always internally link to your cornerstone articles, they should be easily accessible. Using taxonomized pages is a good use of cornerstone articles as there will be more on the subject they are reading that they can get to in one click. Now the visitor has the core, most relevant information, they can use the other categories and tags you’ve used to read similar topics related to mobile phones that they might not know about.
Apply these to your own site!
A good site structure in crucial. Using these methods, you should be able to create a successful working and professional looking site which is easy to navigate across. Hopefully this post has taught you the basics of WordPress, tags and taxonomies and internal linking and given you enough knowledge to apply them to your own site. If you know of anyone who would benefit from reading this post, please don’t hesitate to click on the links below and share!