You’ve just decided to start your website, it’s one of the best decisions you’ll ever make for your business. You can use all-in-one creative sites such as Wix.com or webself.net, but these services quickly reach their limits when it comes to creating professional sites. It will therefore be necessary for you to take charge of the creation yourself. But, the mistake would be to go for it without preparation and build your site anyhow.
The key to any website creation starts with a sitemap: we speak of a tree structure. You will understand why.
A good tree structure for your website? We must not only know why to do it but also how, that is the subject of this article.
What is the tree structure of a website?
A website is no longer an accumulation of pages where we find the data of a company as in the 90s. It is a complex architecture where everything has its place and which aims to deliver information in a logical to make a website navigable by Internet users.
The tree structure of a site is the framework on which we add the content, that is to say, the different elements that visitors will have to consult. It’s just like with the human body: the skeleton is the framework that supports muscles and organs. If you understand the concept, you must surely have understood its usefulness.
Why do you need to have a good site tree?
No step should be overlooked in a process when it comes to marketing and especially e-marketing. It does not matter if the design of your site is successful, if the plan of your site is not thought out, it will be felt on your conversion rate. Indeed, making the structure of its site well makes it easier for your visitors to navigate and therefore to find the information they are looking for more easily. In other words, the better the user experience, the more you will convert.
The purpose of a tree structure is to anticipate the journey of your visitors from one page to another like a guide would, with the only difference that you will not be there to show them the way to follow. they will be engaged. To be a good guide, there are steps to follow.
How to build the tree structure of your website?
The first thing you are already certain of is the content of your site and the main theme.
But what you don’t know is what Internet users are looking for on your site: information, a product or buy a service? This is the question you need to answer and that is the purpose of your tree structure. Whoever visits your site needs to feel like you know what you’re talking about and that the content you offer will meet their needs.
This will be felt all the more depending on how you organize the essential information in your architecture, which must be simple and dynamic.
1— The design of your tree structure
The first step to get started is a sheet and a pen. You must put in black and white what you want as a site, as a structure, and as a navigation experience. You have to think and draw the complete structure of your website. Nothing can speed up this task at this time, because it depends on you.
But there is still some software that makes it easier for you to set up your structure.
To organize your ideas at the start, mind mapping software like Gloomaps or MindMeister is quite effective. You can also draw a page mockup of your website with web mockup creation software like Balsamiq or Draw.io.
However, for the creation of sites, Excel and PowerPoint remain the most used.
Understanding these tools will allow you to visualize your tree structure and add or remove pages depending on the objectives you are aiming for.
You can also draw inspiration from your competitors’ sites to guide you on the backbone of your site. What could be better than relying on examples that work?
For you to better understand what to do when creating your site tree, here is a more concrete example.
Suppose you are selling a high-tech product. You are going to have a home page that will showcase your brand, another product. There will also be the classic tabs that you already know “About, Contact, More info, etc.” »Which can be combined in a menu. Each page concerning the product must include sub-pages that can deal with the characteristics of the product, offer an image gallery, where the presentation of its functionalities can be described. In addition to that, it will therefore take several other pages and each of them will have to address a specific subject with a different semantic field.
If you want to create an e-commerce site, you will also have to think about the possibility for the visitor to buy your product. So you will need a summary page, another for payment, customer details, address, and purchase confirmation.
Do this, but you will always end up with a simple structure, consisting of the home page, other pages, and a few subcategories. Be careful not to spread yourself too thin, because we quickly pile up what we want to put on the site and on arrival it is the visitor who gets lost.
A very good example of a tree structure is the Apple site: it is composed of a home page with a simple navigation menu, the other pages relate to the products and each has its sub-pages with the details of the product and the possibility of purchase.
As we told you above, do not hesitate to draw inspiration from the big players in e-commerce to offer an original landing page and a better experience to your future customers.
In short, everything you want to offer on your site will have to appear logically and simply.
2— The number of clicks
This is one of the key elements that will make your site a pleasant place to navigate. Once you have your structure, you will need to perform navigation tests based on what the visitor is looking for on your site.
The purpose of these tests is to see in how many clicks the Internet user accesses the information.
The visitor wants a price on the product, but it only appears after several clicks after the purchase page. The visitor wants to know the autonomy of your product, but they will have to scroll through several pages and search through complex characteristics to find it. So you get the idea, if you know what all your users are looking for, then put it on the first page or your bounce rate will be bad.
Let’s take Apple’s example again: after the keynote, the site’s home page immediately displayed an image of the iPhone 12 with its main feature, price, and a clickable button for it. buy, because that’s exactly what customers are looking for. Unlike other brands where the visitor has to go through dozens of pages before they can find even a picture of their new smartphone.
3 – Keyword research
Now that you have created your tree structure, you must therefore think about determining the keywords on which each of the different pages and sub-pages of your site will be optimized.
Several online web marketing tools can help you with this task. We can cite SEMrush, Ubersuggest, Google Analytics, or the Google Ads keyword planning tool. This is about organizing each page around the keywords that generate the most traffic. This step can even be placed in the first position in your plan of attack, especially if you do not yet have all the outlines of the pages of your site in mind.
So, by choosing keywords that are frequently used by Internet users, you can create pages that are well optimized for search engines. But don’t be too thin, the goal is not to put as many keywords as possible, but to select the most relevant to appear effectively in search results and optimize your conversions.
4 – Create page addresses or URLs
If your site is well structured, so should your URLs. These should reflect the correct prioritization of your tree structure. For example, your domain name is hightech.com and a visitor is on the page presenting your smartphone X1, so the URL should look like this: “hightech.com/smartphonesX1”.
This is consistent with the fact that your site tree should not have more than two levels. The goal of this way of designing URLs is to allow a visitor to know, at a glance, at what level of the structure of your website they are. As a result, your visitors will move more easily from one page to another without ever having the feeling of getting lost.
The advantages of a good tree structure
Now you have understood that you need an efficient tree structure for your website and that its visit must be smooth for a good user experience. But there are two other advantages of SEO and Crawl.
– Better SEO
With the keywords that you have taken care to integrate for each page, your site will inevitably benefit from a much better natural referencing on Google. This is called SEO. The Internet user looking for information will come across your site if the tree structure is consistent and if the information is presented in a relevant way. The advantage of SEO is that you can display your site to a user in front of others without having to pay. Should we still remember that the natural optimization of its site is essential not to end up in the last pages on search engines!
– The crawl
Better SEO means better crawl. The crawl is done for Google bots, that is to say, the Google robots which crawl your pages to index them. Indexing consists of inserting your pages in the directories of Google robots according to the keywords you have used. The optimization itself respects certain rules that you must know: too optimized, that is to say too many keywords, the robots ignore your pages, not sufficiently optimized, your pages drop to the bottom of the ranking. The most important thing is to understand that Google bots crawl thousands of pages per day so better SEO will place your site among the most visited and therefore the best indexed.
The concepts to be integrated into a tree structure
While it is essential not to overcomplicate the tree structure of your site, there are, however, techniques that allow you to bring a little more quality to your general structure. What we’re about to talk to you about allows for a much more complete visit to your site, especially if you’re a business that puts a lot of content online. It is a technique widely used by bloggers.
– Internal mesh
We generally speak of net licking or backlinking. It is a process by which you can link your pages. Before going any further, let us specify that we are indeed talking about an internal and not an external backlink, so no referrals to other sites. It is, therefore, through well-thought-out formulas to invite readers to read another article that you have produced on a similar theme or a subject mentioned but not developed in the article that the visitor has just read.
The internal mesh can be done with fairly simple formulas such as “we invite you to consult this article”. But this often takes the form of a line space in the article, usually placed in the middle with the title of the article to be read. Depending on the size of the content, there will be several internal links. Just click on the words or the title to be redirected to another page.
However, the links between the articles must be done smartly. Only link articles that converge on the topic covered. It’s about offering a much broader view and understanding to the reader, not drowning them in your content, you will lose them if you do otherwise.
– Site map
Once you have finished building your tree structure, you now have what is called a “site map”. This is an exhaustive map of your website, a sort of complete map of the different parts that make up your platform. You will take care to mention on this map those that you want Google to index. The “site map” will therefore be sent to Google and your tree structure will be taken into account, which is a huge advantage for the visibility of your website on the web because hundreds of other sites deal with the same subjects as you.
Mistakes to avoid
Now that you know how to build the tree structure of your website, you will need to avoid certain errors during execution.
– Put too much depth
First, what is the depth of a page? We say that a page is deep when it is inserted on the platform at too great a distance from the home page. This is where the fact of not having more than two levels of architecture after the home page becomes important. Because the deeper a page, the less it will be visited. Also, the home page is the most visited, it is this page that distills what is called “link juice” to other pages. SEO juice is understood as the sharing of the flow of visits to your site.
– Use taxonomies
These are the small tools that content management systems (CMS) make available to those who wish to optimize their websites. Taxonomies are useful because they make it easier for readers to find related content (and also provide some context to your content, although this is a side benefit).
For example, it will be tags, categories, or labels. The idea is to deindex them if you don’t plan to use them. It is certain that these are useful tools, but not essential, do not make the mistake of leaving them intact, because if you do nothing, Google will take them into account and this will weigh negatively in the full indexing of your tree structure. You will then lose on your SEO, so be careful with the use of these taxonomies.