Site Structure and Uniform Layout

Color schemes, font size, layout of pages, and navigation structure must be consistent throughout the site for the benefit of both humans and those search engine “tigers” that we want to keep well fed at all times!

Functional and uniform layout
Keep navigation consistent and clear. It is the most important concern for good “usability”. Visitors are more likely to stay at your site when they realize how quickly they can find their way around. Keep the link names (“anchor text”) as simple as possible. Your home page link should be easy to find so people can “start over” if they get lost.

Understandable Navigation
Arrange the pages (navigation) as if you are giving a tour which culminates in a purchase or contact. The hierarchy of the site should flow from most requested information to the least important so that significant areas are easy to find.

Keep site structure logical
Create a list or flowchart of the major content areas and sort individual pages into their relevant categories. It will be easier for visitors to locate the specific information they want if the structure makes sense. If a series of pages is dedicated to a particular purpose, include it as a directory name within your hosting account, giving you additional credit for keywords. For example, a shoe store may categorize items by type and then each type by brand. Great choices of directory and page names for “ABCShoes.com” could be:

Running Shoes
ABCShoes.com/running/asics.html
ABCShoes.com/running/brooks.html
ABCShoes.com/running/nike.html

Tennis Shoes
ABCShoes.com/tennis/reebok.html
ABCShoes.com/tennis/brooks.html
ABCShoes.com/tennis/nike.html

Keep the structure relatively flat, meaning as few layers (directories, sub-directories) as possible. Shorter paths to internal pages result in more credit by search engines.

Organize link menus
Ensure easy access to each page. Large sites may need a Site Map, Search Feature or drop-down menu such as at http://www.HealthandEndurance.com. In particular, a horizontal or vertical drop-down menu allows easy categorization of pages, while using a small area of the page. With multiple sub-menus, visitors can jump from one page to another with minimal clicks. New pages can be quickly added at to the appropriate location.

Maintain consistent layout features
All pages must show consistency in terms of backgrounds, colors, navigation, font sizes, etc. If they don’t look like they all belong to the same website, you don’t look professional. It also invites confusion.