Website Structure Explained
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A Guide to Web Site Structure
No web site design can be completed until the
page structure of the site is established and
agreed between the client and the web designer.
The structure will dictate the names of the navigation
buttons and the linking between the various pages
on the web site. Getting the structure right will
go a long way to ensuring the visitor enjoys a
good experience on the site and therefore wants
to do business with the site owner.
The structure of the site should make it possible
for the designer to create a logical and easy
to follow navigation system to permit the visitor
to reach the content they want to see quickly
and reliably. It should also make it easy to add
fresh content, particularly news items or new
products/services, without major change to the
graphic design of the site.
NetSecrets produce a wide range of web sites,
ranging from simple 4 or 5 page online brochures
to major ecommerce sites with hundreds of pages
and sophisticated facilities. Despite this the
basics of good site structure apply to both ends
of the scale and this document sets out to explain
these basics to assist clients in working with
our designers to achieve the best results possible
for their online business.
2. Home Page
Every web site has a home page. It is the first
page most visitors will see and is also the most
important page for attaining good search engine
rankings, as search engines give more weight to
its content than to any other page. It should
confirm to the visitor unambiguously what your
site is about, what your products or services
are and how to use the facilities on the site.
It should link to every page on the site wherever
possible and every page should link back to the
3. Contact Details
A top level page should generally be included
to lay out the various methods of making contact
with you. The internet is an impersonal medium
so it makes visitors comfortable if they can see
a way to phone you or fax you. If people visit
your premises this page can also include directions,
maps, opening hours, etc.
4. Online Enquiry Form
In most instances web sites should include an
online enquiry form at the top level of the navigation
system. This makes it easy for visitors to ask
questions, request quotations or sales literature
or tell you how great they think your site is.
5. Products/Services Page(s)
A major part of the site refers to the products
and/or services your business offers. Some sites
offer just products, e.g. saucepans, ink cartridges,
domain names or diesel generators; other sites
just offer services, e.g. web design, hypnotherapy,
pensions advice or seismic surveys; and some offer
both products and services. Some sites sell a
single product or service and others several thousand.
Whichever category your site falls into the basic
principles should apply to a large degree. These
pages should concisely and accurately describe
what you have to offer, help the visitor choose
between alternatives and make it as easy as possible
for them to buy (on an ecommerce-enabled site)
or take their interest further if the site does
not provide online ordering.
Although a single page can suffice for this,
particularly if there are small numbers of products
or services on offer, there will usually be a
hierarchy of pages in this section. Imagine a
site selling computer equipment. The top level
products page might summarise the types of equipment
on offer. This might then link to a page on desktop
PC's, then another on laptop PC's, a third on
peripherals and a fourth on software. There might
also be a services page linking to subsequent
pages on installation, call-outs and maintenance
The second level pages might link to a third
level, e.g. peripherals might break down into
printers, scanners and webcams. Printers might
then break down into laser printers and inkjet
printers, and so on. The further down the hierarchy
you go the more likely the content and structure
is to change as new products arrive and old ones
are removed. We will always ensure that the navigation
system will cater for this.
6. Information Pages
Information pages provide the visitor with background
information rather than product- or service-specific
details. These pages are used to establish your
credentials as a company the visitor wants to
spend money with, and usually offer frequently
updated content that give the visitor a reason
to come back to your site repeatedly. They also
provide content for search engines to index thereby
enhancing your position in search engine rankings.
The top level information page will usually provide
links to some or all of the following:
- About Us/Company Profile: company history,
mission statement, key personnel, position in
the market place, memberships of trade or professional
- Links: other sites of interest to your visitors,
link exchanges with complementary but noncompeting
businesses, links to trade or professional organisations.
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's): establishes
your expertise in your field of business.
- Testimonials: establishes your reputation.
- Case Studies: real life examples of clients
benefiting from your expertise. These should
be added frequently, not less than one per quarter.
- Newsletters: news items, major orders won,
new products, industry news. Again should be
added to once per quarter as minimum.
- Downloads/Resources: price lists, order forms,
maps and directions, product data sheets, application
7. Sample Sites
Sites that illustrate the points made above can
be accessed from our web site portfolio page by
These examples are by no means exhaustive but
are a starting point. If you want to discuss site
structure in more detail contact the NetSecrets
A clear and logical site structure will help
the site succeed in gaining new prospects and
clients for your business by ensuring visitors
get to the information they want with a minimum
of effort. Once the structure is agreed the site's
graphic design can be finalised and you will easily
identify what content is required for the pages
A further document is provided by NetSecrets
to assist in producing the words and images needed
to complete the web site.
We hope you find this document helpful. If you
have any suggestions for improvements please let
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