Site Architecture Considerations When Redesigning Your Web Site

We redesign web sites quite frequently. Here are the architectural rules we follow when producing new sites for our own company and our clients:

Site Structure

When redesigning your site, you should use a pyramid structure.

Large Site: If you have a large site (100+ pages), organize your content from your home page down and then into categories, sub-categories, and detail pages.

Mid-Size Site: For sites of say 10 pages to 100 pages, you can organize your content with home page, categories, and detail pages under those.

Small Site: If you have a really small site of less than 10 pages, just do home page and then detail pages all in the same hierarchy.

From an SEO perspective, the pyramid structure helps pass down “link juice” from your home page to the most important categories pages.Moreover, from a user perspective, it helps define to your audience what the most important categories are, and then indicate their detail pages.

301 Redirects

When redesigning your web site, it is a MUST that you redirect any old page names to their new versions.Your pages have most likely been indexed by search engines and linked to from other web sites.

If you do not redirect users, they will ultimately hit your dreaded 404 error page or your home page. This simply stinks and does not help the user or search engines.

By redirecting them to the appropriate page, this will help your website visitors actually find the new pages. Moreover, it will help pass any existing link juice for SEO purposes to those new pages. This will help them rank as high as the previous page, perhaps even more if you have updated the code, title tags, copy and internal linking of your new web site.

Yes, writing 301 redirects takes time. You need to plan them out and test. But it will benefit your site overall.

URLs

When redesigning your web site, you should consider having your URLs as close as possible to your root domain. This means that you want to keep your pages from being under sub-sub-sub or sub-sub directories.

  • Good:”  www.yourdomainname.com/your-practice-area/
  • Bad: www.yourdomainname.com/practice/subpractice/practice-name

It’s simpler to have a short URL and search engines seem to prefer URLs that are closer to the root of the domain.

Page Names

You should also consider very descriptive page names.

  • Good: www.yourdomainname.com/your-practice-area
  • Bad:”  www.yourdomainname.com?id=456

This helps users remember your content and is great for search engines, too, as they record all the keyword-rich text associated with your page name, or even links to that page from other sites.

Domain Names

If you have a great domain, stick with it. If your domain stinks, then now is a great time to change. Simply 301 redirect the entire old domain over to the new on site launch. What is a good domain or bad domain?”  Check out our article on how to select a domain.

Wrap -Up

If you have any questions, leave a comment or let us know how we can help.


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