Step 3
How to Create an
Effective Website Structure

Choosing a good site topic and developing a profitable site plan or website structure are the two most most important activities in developing a successful website.

Once you've chosen your best site concept, you're ready to start brainstorming to find out whether your idea for a site is likely to bear fruit. Will it attract good traffic? How easy will it be to monetize? Brainstorming and researching keywords will help you answer those questions. All you need to do is sort out keyword results and use them to develop the best site plan possible.

How to Create an Effective Website Structure

Structuring Your Site

The Site Content Blueprint is probably the best way to see if the niche will work for you. It will not only help you see the structure of your site (Tier 2's and related Tier 3's), but here is where you can see if you will be able to find enough great keywords to build content around (Tier 3”s), also it gives you the opportunity to see if you have enough passion for the topic to carry the site through to success.

It can also save you a lot of time when it comes to deciding which keyphrases to build the next page on and where that page belongs on your site. It will help you keep a good site structure that won't confuse your visitors. And it will help the search engines to move around your site.

Steadily Design Your Site Content Blueprint

This step covers the techniques you will use to delete, group and organize your Master Keyword List keywords into the three-tiered blueprint structure that works so well for both humans and spiders....

  • TIER 1 (home page) - This page focuses on your Site Concept (ex., "Making Wire Jewelry"). It is an introduction to your site and may explain how the site is structured and provide a Table of Content (TOC). It links to TIER 2 pages. Keying in the domain name lands you on the Home Page.
  • TIER 2 (entered either via the Navbar or table of contents at the bottom of the Home Page) - These keyword-word focused content pages are the hub pages, linking from TIER 1 and linking to TIER 3 pages. Each is a major subcategory of the Site Concept (ex., "Wire Jewelry Techniques" and "Wire Jewelry Projects" and "Wire Jewelry Tools"). And they should be "big enough" to break down into their own sub-subcategories, they also include what I'll call "utility" pages like contact us, about us, and site map. Tier 2 pages are one click away from the Home Page.
  • TIER 3 (most of your pages)  - These should logically be related to, or be subcategories of, their respective TIER 2 pages. For example, "Wire Jewelry Techniques" can be logically divided into articles about different techniques of making wire jewelry (ex., wire wrapping, wire twisting, wire weaving, etc.) There are usually five or more T3 pages under each T2 category. T3 pages are accessed via links from their T2 pages and may also be linked to other T3s. A Tier 3 can be linked to other T2s and/or T3s when relevant.

A well-organized website is one that makes it easy and intuitive for visitors to find what they want. The easier it is to use, the longer users will stay on your site, and the more they'll see of it. Good website structure also makes it easy for you to grow your site logically.

Another thing that you should keep in mind is that every page of your website is no more than two levels deep from home page (i.e. it should not take more than two clicks to go from the home page to every page of your site). Otherwise, the search engine spiders may not index all the pages.

To make your Web site easy and navigable for both your visitors and your search engine spiders, structure your site like this...

Your home page should link to Tier 2 pages, both within the body copy, and from within a text or graphic navigation bar. Each of these pages can themselves link to 5-10 Tier 3 pages.

This website site structure should correspond with your list of highly profitable keywords from your Master Keyword List .

The Tier 2 pages should contain content that is about your most profitable keywords, so the most important pages have the best chance of being indexed first.

The Tier 3 pages should relate to the Tier 2 page that links to it. Their main keywords may be not so profitable.

You likely won't pick the most profitable keywords for all the Tier 2 pages. Some will be too close in meaning. Others may not easily lead to a Tier 3. So try to fill your specific niche and pick the most profitable keywords for most of pages.

This clean, 3-Tier Web site structure yields an easy, navigable site for both your human visitors and your search engine spiders.

Spiders always come in through the home page (as long as you submit it to them). From there, you've left them a nice trail to follow. So they can easily index the rest of your pages.

Humans, however, may find any page via the search engines. So each Tier 3 page should provide a link back to its related Tier 2. And the same for Tier 2 to Tier 1.

Your Website Structure is Like a Book....

Comparing your site to a book may help you to organize your concept and the various topics related to it...

Your book is "about" something; it has a general, overall theme - your site concept. Your Home Page is like the introduction to the book, summarizing what the book/site contains, how it will help your reader and of course a table of contents.

Your theme/concept is broken down into various categories, like sections in a text book. These are your Tier 2 pages, on which you can give an overview of each category and explain how it relates to the others and to the overall theme/site concept. This is also where you introduce your tier 3 pages (along with a link to them of course.)

Each Section has several chapters - your Tier 3 pages. They present nitty-gritty details on some aspect of the T2 topic they fall under. Some T3s will have little to do with any of the others; that's OK, as long as they are related to their respective Tier 2 topic. Some T3s will be related to other T3 chapters, or even to other Tier 2 sections; that's OK too, and you can add links to/from the pages that relate to them.

This structure is reflected in the "pyramid" illustration shown above. A table of contents is another good analogy, as it lays out the book's contents in outline form. (In fact, the table of contents corresponds to a site map.)

A third analogy is a file cabinet (site concept/Home Page), which has several drawers (Tier 2/book sections), each of which contains lots of files (Tier 3/chapters).

Tips for Building Your Website Structure

When I am brainstorming and building my site structure I use a note book, on the top of my first page I will write my site topic (ie: Making Wire Jewelry). Then I start brainstorming and listing everything and anything that I could write about.

Once I have made my initial list, I then break it down into categories (tier 2) and topics (tier 3).

After studying my list of topics, I realize that there is more than one way to wire wrap and the same for a lot of the other techniques. And under projects I would like to share more than one way to make a ring or bracelet or pendant, etc.

Therefore I would break up some of my topics into categories (tier 2s) and list the various topics (tier 3s) I could write about under each category. So now my list looks something like this:

If I were to organize this list into a site structure pyramid illustration it would then look something like this:

NOTE: Remember that these topics/keywords are just examples to give you an illustration of how to develop your website structure. Please conduct your own research to make sure you have chosen the best keywords.

Now that I have an idea of what I want to write about and how my site structure will be laid out, what I need to do now is to research the most profitable keywords (high demand and low supply) that best describe my topics.

If you haven’t already created your Master Keyword List (which you should have by now!) then make sure you build one before you finish designing your website structure.

Video: How to plan your site structure for maximum traffic

In the following video, Mike Mindel shows you how to plan your site structure for maximum Google traffic, and why using category and content pages is the way to do it.

When you organize your pages using a structure of category and content pages, readers can find what they asked for and search engines can see your themes of related content. So because you look like more of an authority, the search engines will send you more traffic!


Moving Forward

After creating your optimal website structure you are now ready start planning your monetization options.

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