Whether your website represents a small business or a large eCommerce corporation, a nonprofit or a simple blog, keeping your content nicely organized is key to the user experience (UX) you are presenting. A cluttered, messy website with no clear pathways to information can be a major turnoff to your website visitors. If you don’t make it easy for them to find (and perhaps purchase) what they seek, they will go looking somewhere else. Keep visitors on your site by applying these tips for organizing website content.
First, identify these three things.
- Brand. Who are you? Are you a media website offering loads of information and education? Are you a nonprofit offering assistance to those in need? Are you a retailer selling a product? Define your brand’s identity and move forward from there.
- Call to action. What do you want your visitors to do? Do you want them to read, give you their email address, register for a webinar, donate, or make a purchase? Identify what you want your website visitors to do when they’re on your website, and you’ll have a better understanding as to how to organize your content.
- Target audience. Who is your website for? Your audience may be multiple types. For example, a nonprofit website’s audience will more than likely be people in need of their services, donors, sponsors, volunteers, board members, and foundations. Knowing the people who make up your audience will give you insight. Look at your website through their eyes and imagine how they would like to see content displayed for their personal UX.
Take a look at AllClear ID. Not only is it plain to see what solutions the company provides, but the call to action is straightforward with evident Learn More buttons. Plus, because AllClear ID services both consumers and businesses, there are obvious pathways for each audience.
These pages should be on every website.
No matter your business, service, or purpose of your website, it should go without saying that there are certain pages that every website should have. These pages will set the stage for how the rest of your content should be organized. Consider these pages as the foundation of your site and your additional content.
- Home. Your home page is the first thing people see when they visit your URL (i.e., www.yourdomainname.com). This page should be a brief overview of your brand identity—who you are and what you do.
- About. This page allows for more storytelling. It’s there that you can go into more details about the history, mission, and purpose of your organization and website.
- Contact. There are actually websites that exist without any contact information listed anywhere. Hopefully, these forgetful website owners are your competitors. One of the easiest ways to nab a sale or achieve whatever goal your website has set is to include a contact page on your website. It should include any and all ways that a visitor (potential client) can get a hold of you: email, phone number, postal address, physical address (if you have a brick-and-mortar location), and a contact form on that page that a user can easily fill out and submit.
- Blog. Your blog works as your news hub and allows for the opportunity to continually add fresh, new content to your website. Search engines love that. One of the easiest ways to boost your SEO is to blog regularly.
Check out Partnership for Drugfree Kids. The nonprofit has a clearly marked About Us page and Parent Blog. The group’s contact page is titled Get Help & Support, which works as a call to action and supports its mission.
Landing pages are essential to organizing website content.
Now that you’ve organized content based on Home, About, Contact, and Blog, let’s talk landing pages. The landing pages you create set the organizational structure for the rest of your content. Our Creative Lead, Cameron Campbell, wrote about creating landing pages that work, and in that blog post he says:
Website landing pages are important. They are a sales opportunity. Think of them as windows for conversion—your chance to influence a website visitor to become a customer. That’s why landing pages should not be taken lightly or treated as an afterthought.
Each service you provide, each product you sell, each subject matter you report on (if you’re a media site), should have its own landing page. Think of your website content like the products available in a large hardware store. Tools, lighting, garden, and indoor plumbing each have their own aisle. And within each aisle, each type of product has its own spot.
So, while you would find wrenches, hammers, and drills all located on the aisle for tools, hammers would be grouped separately from wrenches and drills. Grouping and organizing your content in the same sort of manner makes the UX of your website friendlier and more pleasant. If you walked into a large hardware store and found hammers in the aisle for indoor plumbing and drills located in the garden section, wouldn’t you get frustrated and leave the store? You’d probably never return, too. When a customer encounters a bad experience, they feel betrayed and as though their time has been wasted. Don’t do this to your website visitors. The best way to make them feel welcomed (and encourage them to return) is to help them consume your content in a simple, easy-to-navigate manner.
We recently had the pleasure of redesigning the corporate website for Campbell’s. The experience of working with this client was, of course, “mmm mmm good.” But aside from building a tasty relationship with a beloved brand, we have been greatly impressed with how the company organizes content and utilizes landing pages. Visit the Campbell’s corporate site, click around to explore, and see for yourself.
Make headway with headers.
In the hardware store example, “tools” would be the header. It’s the main grouping or category for a myriad of subcategories that fall beneath it. For a media site, “current events” would be a typical header. On a nonprofit website, “volunteer opportunities” is a usual header. Headers act as headlines and allow your website visitors to instantly find the information they seek in the most obvious manner. When it comes to website UX, making things obvious is a good thing.
We love the way our client Uwishunu organized their content with headers, like Latest Posts, Popular, By Neighborhood, and Roundups. What headers could you use to keep your content neat and easy to consume for your website visitors?
Avoid these things.
- Cluttered navigation bar. The navigation bar is the main navigational menu usually located at the top of your website that helps visitors move from one page to another. Now that you’re inspired to organize your content neatly, don’t get so caught up in the excitement that you dump the entire kitchen sink there. Use your navigation bar to display your main product, service, or topic categories (i.e., tools), then rely on subcategories (i.e., hammers) to be displayed in a dropdown menu for each one.
- Long drop down menus. But don’t allow your dropdown menus to be so long that they match the length of your web page. Remember, you’re trying to create a pleasant UX for your visitor. Consider consolidating subcategories and relying on “more” in order to control the length of your dropdown.
Let’s take a look at Central Market. As the biggest grocery store chain in Texas, the brand offers a plethora of products. Imagine if the company listed each and every department or subcategory within their navigation bar or as a dropdown menu? Instead, Central Market offers one shopping category: Departments. Then the customer is offered 15 subcategories (i.e., Frozen, Product, Housewares), which are conveniently listed in a two-column dropdown, making it easy to select the correct virtual aisle and shop accordingly.
Website content that is organized shows that you care about the visitor experience on your site and value their time, which will encourage them to return. You may even instill loyalty due to your thoughtfulness. So, view your site through the eyes of your customers. What can you improve? Which content needs clearer pathways? If you need assistance with organizing website content, contact us. We would love to help by providing an audit and making recommendations.
Also published on Medium.