Jan Leow's Press Blog

Building the navigation and structure of a web site

When you create your web site, freely take note of your navigational design structure. A basic navigational structure is like that of a pyramid as shown in the diagram is the best. With the entry home page as tier one of the web site, trickling down to the tier 2 for the important explanation and concept of your ideas, with a further tier 3 for a more in-depth explanation or branching out of ideas from tier 2.

Diagram of a typical website structure

The website navigation should preferably go no deeper than tier 3 though there may be situation where you may want to expand further on your ideas and content to a tier 4.

Bearing in mind, the deeper the content is located in the tier; it will have a lesser importance to the web crawlers and robots scouring your content for indexing in the search engines. This is not to say the content is not important but to the eyes of the search engines, any content that is buried deeper in a web site is generally taken as not important and will score lower in the search engine rankings.

This is similar in style to journalist writing their articles, with the most important points written at the top of the article with less important explanation at the end of the article. In case an editor needed to shorten it, he can axe the last few paragraph of the journalist’s piece without losing too much meaning of the content.

So likewise when you make your web site, the deeper web pages may hold less interest for the visitor and they can skip the pages in search of better information elsewhere in your content filled web site.

The tier 2 web pages should be easily accessible from the navigational bar on the right or left side of the web site on all pages. These are your important pages and gateway to further content and articles located on your tier 3 web pages. The tier 1 – tier 2 – tier 3 style of web site structure is the best and by following it, you can never go wrong in designing your web site. All the good web sites adhere to this principle and it would be wise to just follow a tried and tested approach to the structure of a website.

To structure your web site, just have a pen and paper ready and roughly draw out what topic will go in to tier 2, and what topic will go in to tier 3, and so on and so forth. Making changes along the way when you have new topic for insertion for tier 2 or it is just an expansion of an existing idea, place it in tier 3. A bit of planning will help when you come out with content and then later just pigeon hole it into the correct tier for easy navigation.

The idea and concept seems easy enough, but there are times you will have to think and consider which web pages are worthy to sit in the 2nd tier and which in the 3rd tier. A well thought out structure will help the visitor move around your web site easily going from one content to another in a more logical manner.

So do remember to keep your web site structure as tier 1 – tier 2 – tier 3 and not any more deeper then necessary when your make your own web site.

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