When it comes to giving your customers a great online experience, it starts with building your site structure. You want them to clearly understand what to do next without actually telling them to do so. The experience should also feel delightful, and sometimes that means keeping it simple.
By the end of this article, you will learn the basics of how to layout your website to help your customers move through the funnel.
What is Site Structure?
Site structure simply means the way your page is laid out. Take a minute and in another tab navigate to your favorite site. Or you can poke around this site for an example of basic site structure. Do you see the navigation bar at the top? Or the sections that you can visit? You may even notice words, or tags, at the end of posts that will take you to similar content.
That is all part of the site structure.
When someone comes to your website, both you and the customer might have different objectives. You want them to buy something, capture their email, etc. But they might not be ready to commit and give you their information yet. So what can you do to give them an experience that makes them want to connect with you?
This is where site structure helps. Lay it out in a way that makes your visitors feel like they want to keep engaging with you.
Case Study: The Hemingway App
As I’ve mentioned, I love using the Hemingway App to help strengthen my writing. However, I use it in a browser, not an actual app. So when I navigate there, here’s what I see:
You see the clear call to action (CTA), or what their business wants me to do, is to download the app. I have a Chromebook, so that’s not an option for me. But instead of being turned off immediately that their CTA isn’t applicable to me, they still allow me to use the tool.
Their sample text shows me how to work on my own when I put it in there and what to expect from the review.
Their top nav isn’t a traditional nav in that this is the only page I’m going to on this site. So instead it makes it clear and easy for me to format my text.
This is a non-traditional webpage, but it shows the basics of how to make a business case for the app while also delivering value to the end user (me).
How Do I Build My Own?
The first step to building your own site structure is to grab a pen and paper. Write your business objective at the top. Then sketch a basic structure of how you want to help people fulfill it.
Start with your navigation bar. What will each section say? This is surprisingly tricky, but remember to keep it simple. If people can’t figure out what’s in each section, they’re less likely to visit it.
Then design the sections of each part of the nav. You’ll notice that my “Home” section drops down into an “About me” page. I could have named it something like “All about Natalie” or “Personal details,” but “About me” is clear, simple, and universally understood.
Since the point of my page is to teach people how to effectively market their business in less time, “About me” doesn’t need a prominent section of its own.
Once you have one or two sketches of what you want, run it by your friends and family. See if it makes sense to them and be open to feedback.
What Else Should I Know?
The subject of site structure, like almost anything digital, seems endless. But it truly is a simple yet effective piece of helping your business grow.. Here are some resources you can use if you want to go more in-depth: