Planning the structure of your Web site is one of the most critical stages of site design. It determines how your site will look to humans and to search engines.
There Are Several Meanings of Web Site Structure.
The most important one is the navigational structure: how the visitor or search engine gets to your site and navigates through it.
The second most important is the conceptual, logical structure, which the way that you and the visitors ordinarily think about the site.
The Website Must Have The Following:
Site Map –
The Site Map is a separate page that is used by visitors and search engine spiders to find all the pages on a Web site. It is usually linked from every page of the Web site, and, in small sites, it has a link to every page in the Web site, regardless of hierarchy, using the full path to that page. If the site is large (over about 300 pages), then lower tier pages can be put on secondary site map pages. The site map is essential, not just for visitors. Search engine spiders, the robot programs that add your Web pages to the search engines, use site maps to navigate quickly through the site and get to all your pages.
Repeating Links On Every Page –
Several Web site pages or facilities must be accessible from every page of the site. These include The main page, the site map, the contact page, and some other pages that you want to push in the search engine. Pages like the home page and the site map must always be linked using a full path absolute link, and the link text (”Anchor Text”) should include the keywords of the main page, not just “home.” Search engines use that link text to rank your main page. If you are selling shoes, the link text should say “Shoes.” Unless your Website is called “Home,” it is not a good idea to link to the main page with the text “home.” A shopping site needs to have a shopping cart link on every page as well, of course.
The following additional links and features are optional, but are highly recommended:
Featured Pages –
As noted, you may need to promote a particular item on every page of your site, or a group of pages. Often, the item or items to be developed will change, so it is good to have a dynamic system that can quickly generate these links.
Personalized Content –
You may want to show visitors content that is especially relevant to them based on their previous shopping, geographic location, or customization specifications.
The search is not essential for search engines, but it can be necessary for visitors. It ensures that every page on the site is only two clicks away, making it easy for them to find the information they need.
Hierarchical Navigator –
This is a graphic portrayal of where the visitor is in the site, for example:
Shoes >> Ladies Shoes >> High heeled shoes >> Designer shoes
The visitor can click on any of the upper-level links to get to that portal page.
Directory Organization –
The other aspect of Web site structure is the organization of files in directories. There is usually no reason why this has to follow the hierarchical structure of the Website, though the two types of organizations often coincide. The site should be organized for technical convenience. Extensive directories may not be handled well by FTP clients or Web page design software, so you will want to group content. Humans need to work with organized groups of material too. You do not want to go searching through thousands of files to find the one you want to edit. Also, content that has to be renewed should stay together, so that you can upload an entire directory using FTP if you have static pages. Another important consideration is that some parts of the Web site, such as applications based on CGI or PHP, or financial transactions areas, require special treatment and protection in the .htaccess or robots.txt files, and it is convenient to group these pages.