Update: This article was originally published in 2013. As you know, the web is constantly changing, which means some of the advice on this page may become out of date. For the latest digital marketing insights from the RocketMill team, please visit our main blog page.

When it comes to Conversions and SEO, a silent factor often ignored is web structure. Web structure defines not only what Google sees when its crawlers find your site, but also the possible journeys that your potential customers make on your site. It also determines user engagement. If the user can navigate to what they want instantly, they are more likely to be engaged.

We are currently in the middle of a web design project with Money To the Masses. The brief was essentially for a web redesign, but we felt they could benefit from us investigating their structure before we got our teeth stuck into any visuals. Thus, we created a ‘Restructure Proposal’ and we’d thought we’d share it will you all; as a guideline/exercise to carry out yourself.

Step 1: Crawl your existing site

Using a handy tool like PowerMapper, you can crawl your existing site to get an idea of your current structure (you may be surprised how many pages exist!).

PowerMapper

Step 2: Simplify your existing sitemap

Either with Post-its, a note book, or on your computer (with Excel or Adobe Illustrator for example), take the most important pages from the crawl and recreate it in a more digestible manner. This will allow you to visually understand the site structure a bit better.

Sitemap

Step 3: Consider your users

This is undoubtedly the most important step, and requires the most thinking. The point of this exercise is to engage your users more. To do this, you need to understand who those users are, and what they need.

Money To the Masses are a money advice service that appeals to a wide variety of people. Because of this, we needed to understand the different demographics of their audience – and how we could use this to restructure the site in a positive way. We carried out the following:

  • Selected a unit of measurement that was constant with all users. In this case we chose age (in years)
  • Drew out a timeline from young to old
  • Considered the different demographics (or age groups) in relation to the content Money To the Masses already had
  • Placed some of their main existing categories on that timeline – determining what content appealed to what demographics

Demographics

Step 4: Draw up your new sitemap

Considering your results from the above, draw up your new sitemap. Organise the content in a way that your users can understand what may or may not be relevant to them. Use emotive, human terminology to try and make your content relevant to your user’s specific needs e.g. ‘Quick Savings’ instead of ‘Money Tips’.

New Sitemap

Try it yourself and let me know how you get on!