4 Tips for Structuring & Optimizing the Navigation of Your Legal Website
The structure and organization of a website is fundamental to the success of that website both in search engines and with users. In fact, some industry experts even contend that a poorly organized site structure and obtuse navigation can prevent a site from ever ranking well or being helpful to users.
So, when it’s time to design or redesign a website, focusing on how to appropriately organize the content and structure of that site will be crucial to getting the biggest return from your development efforts. To this end, below are some helpful tips to keep in mind as you work out the best navigation and structure for your website.
Helpful Tips for Optimizing Your Site Navigation
Tip 1 – Start by creating a hierarchy of the information on your site.Ideally, this step should happen before content for a site is created; it can, however, occur afterwards and may be a good step to take when doing a content inventory.
As you develop an informational hierarchy for your site, first and foremost, think logically. How would this information most clearly and simply be structured? Additionally:
- Try to limit the number of information categories or subjects to about 7 – More than that can indicate that a different hierarchy or structure would be more helpful.
- Focus on trying to balance the number subcategories contained within each section – If one category has a dozen subcategories and another only has a few, this, again, could be a sign that you haven’t chosen the most appropriate or logical structure.
Tip 2 – Have the URL structure mirror the site hierarchy.
This can easily be done when the information hierarchy is clear and straightforward. Ideally, this aspect of developing the site navigation will also rely on URLs that contain target keywords or keyword phrases for the site (rather than, for instance, symbols or words/phases that do not add any SEO value).
Tip 3 – Include the primary or main content pages in your site’s header.
In other words, make it as easy as possible for users to understand the main topics of information on your site and to dial down to the more specific information they may need. Also, keep in mind that:
- This header should appear on every page of your site to facilitate navigation.
- Although drop-down or disappearing menus do not generally add SEO value, they can enhance (or detract from) the user experience, depending on a site. So pay attention to whether these features facilitate or complicate the user experience, and always make decisions about your site with a mind towards enhancing the user experience as much as possible.
Tip 4 – Develop and implement a comprehensive, logical internal linking strategy.
Once you have developed the skeleton of your site’s navigation through an information hierarchy and basic headers and menus, start honing in on the internal linking between main and secondary (or even tertiary) content pages to further optimize your site’s navigation.
Developing a logical and all-inclusive linking strategy for the pages on your site can beef up your navigation while:
- Further enhancing the user experience, as users will likely have an even easier time getting around the site
- Providing more detailed information about a site’s structure and information to search engines, thereby enhancing ranking power.
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