Types of Website Structures: A Brief Guide

Edgars Kebbe

Updated September 19, 2022

Website structure is not a simple phase that can be postponed in web development. Still, creating an optimized website is one of the most important things to consider.

Suppose you do not know the concept of web architecture, its importance, what it is for, and the types that exist. In that case, you will not be able to have a website organized according to the objectives of your project, which will make you less competitive in the online world.

So, suppose you are thinking about creating your website or renewing the one you already have. In that case, you must consider what web architecture is better suited to your website. 

Are you ready to find out what type of website structure suits you best?

What Is The Website Structure?

The website structure is how the different pages that make up an online site are organized and distributed. It refers to the hierarchical structure (which ones are most important) and how they are linked together.

For example, this could be the basic types of website structures:

Main page: the homepage is the page that appears when you put the domain of your site, and it is the “root” page because it is the one from which everything is born.

Pillar pages: the four or five most important pages after the homepage that make up the main menu.

Secondary pages are the sections with more specific information, accessed by first going through one of the pillar pages or with a drop-down submenu.

This structure can be much deeper or even completely different, but I want you to see the concept.

Main Types Of Website Structure

You can use three types of website structure to create a web page: the sequential model, the hierarchical site structure, and the network model.

Linear or sequential structure

The linear website structure is the easiest way to catalog all the information you want to offer users. The content is ordered chronologically, i.e., by date, with recently updated information appearing at the beginning and older information at the end. However, linear website structure can also be called following logical guidelines, for example, following the alphabet.

Hierarchical website structure or tree-like model

The hierarchical model is used to coordinate large dimensions of information. Therefore, the people who opt for this type of website structure have a lot of information to offer and choose to show users from the most generic to the most specific.

One of the advantages of choosing this type of website structure is that the home page can receive incoming internal links from the rest of the web content. Therefore, the home page benefits from all the internal links it receives from other web pages. The result will be higher popularity of the home page which will be reflected in the Page Rank score.

It’s amazing! What´s the best website structure for your website platform?

Finally, the network model is one of the most manageable regarding managing information. This web design encourages and favors free navigation without established patterns. The purpose of this site structure model is to exploit the elaborated contents to the maximum.

Although it is indeed handy to keep users on the web for a more extended period, it must also be taken into account that it can confuse since the order of the web may seem more complicated to identify.

Which of the three do you like best?

Methods For Mapping Site Structure

There are two main ways of mapping a website structure, mind mapping and site mapping.

Mind mapping

Mind mapping is a strategic approach consisting of connections between different product pages with an overview of their features.

As a mapping method, a mind map is beneficial for instruction, as it allows someone to clearly understand the content website’s structure through a logical progression and make associations.

Pro Tip:

Use it in an application or on a type of website structure to visually illustrate the entities of web pages and keep track of the content’s logical structure.

Site mapping

The navigation map (site map) is a schema, which can be thought of as a hierarchical tree structure representing the architecture of a website’s pages. This representation can be, as a conceptual map, in a graphical way to visualize and understand on a map the visitor’s path, that is to say, his navigation and how he gets to what he is looking for. It also organizes the distribution and hierarchy of the content.

How Do Website Structure And Navigation Differ?

There are specific differences between website structure and navigation that are worth clarifying.

Website structure

Your site structure is how the elements that compose it are organized. The layout and presentation of the features and contents are essential for good interaction with website visitors.

Likewise, the navigation structure of a website is defined by the visitor’s browsing experience by which he can jump from a page to another using the hyperlinks system.

Navigation (menus)

Navigating a website is clicking and searching through Internet resources, such as the individual pages that make up a website structure. Users navigate by types of website structures using a web browser and click on links that transport them to other pages when clicked. Some links are internal; they connect to pages within the same website structure. Others are external links connecting to other sites.

Websites often have menus or an organized set of the URL structure that guide users through their pages. Menus should be intuitive to optimize ease of use. They usually appear horizontally at the top of the home page or vertically on the side.

Important Site Hierarchy In User Experience (UX) And SEO Practices

Hierarchy on website structures is essential for several reasons, including:

It presents a clean, structured look

Since a website can be the online face of an organization, a well-structured, user-friendly site structure might suggest that the organization is the same.

Influences users’ feelings

A well-designed navigation helps users find the information they need quickly and autonomously. A user who encounters no obstacles in their search results for data is more likely to regard the website, and the organization, by extension, in a positive light.

Better indexing in search engines

Good website structure improves search engine optimization, allowing to crawl and index a website more effectively, making it easier for users to find the site with search queries. It can also lead to a better ranking in search results.

According to Yoast SEO, an exemplary site structure allows your content to rank better in search engines.

Elements to consider in site hierarchy

The components of a web page can vary according to the amount of information you have. Still, there will always be some “fixed” components in which you can have different types of information. Still, their location is vital to have clarity in web navigation.

Home

The home page is the website’s main page, and it is one of the most important since it is where most of the visits usually land. It is the first contact with users and includes the most relevant information about your business to show what your sector is and what kind of product or service you sell. In this area, you sell it or special offers to highlight.

Pro Tip:

You must have a straightforward home design to highlight your main points as a company: a small summary of what you do, your best products or news, promotions and offers, the latest blog articles, reviews, etc.

Navigation

In addition to having a well-structured home page, creating a clear navigation path on your site is essential. Site-wide navigation consists of two main elements: the menu and the navigation paths.

Menu

First, let’s take a look at the menu. The website menu is your website’s most common navigation aid, and you want to make the most of it. Visitors use your menu to find things on your website. It helps them understand the structure of your website.

Categories & subcategories

You should divide your blog posts or products on your site into several categories. If these categories grow too big, you should separate these categories into subcategories to clarify things again.

Tags

The structure of your site will also benefit from adding tags. The difference between a category and a tag mainly concerns the structure. Categories keep a hierarchical structure: you can have subcategories and even sub-subcategories. Tags, however, have no such hierarchy.

Tips for choosing the best website structures

Building something from scratch implies, like almost everything else in life, creating a document where the objects, guidelines, or sections that will make up the project are set out. Take advantage of three tips to choose the best structure for your website:

1. Flat vs. Deep Website Hierarchies

The flat architecture allows you to reach the deep content of a website with no more than one or two clicks.

It is the ideal information distribution method since the simpler your organizational system is, the faster the bots can read the patterns on your site. We already know how positive this is.

On the other hand, in deep web architectures, there is a great distance between the primary or “home” page and the last possible page, which for example, in online stores, is usually the product. We measure distances based on the number of clicks it takes to get from one URL structure to another.

What we always look for in the most efficient web page is the number of clicks between the highest and the most profound level to be as small as possible. Thus, the deep architecture is not recommended because the values for the indexing of your site will be pretty poor.

2. Always visible information or a page with a contact form?

It is a tool that allows the collection of specific data through fields that the user fills out. In turn, the information you collect will help optimize your strategy. So, it is essential to define whether you will create a separate page to display the complete contact information instead of permanently displaying it in the web menu.

3. Plan a good website structure for the long term

First, you must identify the purpose of your website to create a great web structure according to your project. For example, your website can serve as an advertising medium, as a catalog for Internet sales, and as a support to answer questions or comments from your customers, among others.

Then, you must define the web structure that better suits your requirements and start establishing the sections or sections that the website will have and what content should be presented in each of these sections. Generally, every web structure has an area where you talk about the company’s activities and a contact section where people can leave comments or concerns. In the same way, the rest of the sections should be continued, taking into account the objectives and needs of the business, always with a long-term projection.

Conclusion

A good website structure is necessary for users to understand and navigate the website smoothly. Remember that if users can understand the purpose of your business and find the information or the products or services they are looking for, the chances of them coming back to visit you will increase.

So, when creating your website structure, it is vital to study carefully how the layout of your website will be. I hope all this information has helped you improve your website architecture and correct the possible mistakes you may be making.

If you need a little push to know if you are doing it right or have doubts when setting up your site, write me a message and follow me on my social networks to learn more.

The website world is waiting for you, so start your online site now!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best structure for a website?

It can be linear, hierarchical, or network, depending on the type of website you want to create. In addition, a well-structured website must have a header, a body with its respective sections, and a footer. But it is not just a matter of arriving and creating your website, since it must comply with a specific type of structure to be well designed and attractive to the view of your users.

What is the structure of a website?

A website’s structure is composed as follows: header, body, and footer. Thus, the usual is that at the top of the page, there is a header, followed by the main body that is usually flanked by a side column or two side columns, followed at the bottom of the page by a footer.

Does website structure affect SEO?

Site architecture affects SEO, mainly in its visibility on search engines. The ultimate and fundamental goal is to strike a balance between a visually aesthetic website for customers and an effective site structure designed for search engine rankings.

How many pages should my website have?

There is no correct answer to this question. Current trends are for minimalism on the web. Still, the number of pages needed will be a function of the information or products that need to be displayed on the website. It will not be the same to create a landing page for a personal or small business as a corporate website for a multinational company with a presence in numerous markets.

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