While it may not sound like the sexiest of all web design topics, creating a sound structural navigation for your website is probably one of the most important parts of web building. One of the first things taught in any web design course is the inter-connected aspects that all websites share with one another and making sure your links are clear, concise, and bountiful is a good way to ensure more traffic and a positive user experience.
Not only will the people visiting your site have an easier time navigating around to different sections, the search engines will be able to list your site closer to the top of results pages. Unless you have a clear journalistic structure, you are going to need to have a standard hierarchy of links available throughout your website.
The main link bar on your homepage should highlight the most important sections of your website. While it is important to have a clear and simply laid out design for your link header, you may also want to apply some creative design techniques as well. Since this will possibly be one of the first things that your site’s visitors will see, you want it to be eye-catching.
After every section in your link header, you need to include sub headings of relevant topics. Think of your website as a large manual or reference book. You should have clearly labeled sections that contain many sub-sections which users can find more specific information. Every main part of your website should be reachable throughout links on every subsection’s page.
While having clear links at the top of your website is always important, if you have a large amount of text and copy in the body of your website, you will want to redirect readers to certain sections through various keywords. By placing strategic links in and around your articles and copy, people can easily navigate to different parts of your site when they need to.
One of the most effective ways you can attract advertisers to your site and rank higher in search results is to create a keyword cloud based on the frequency of words on your website. Generally placed on a sidebar, a keyword cloud highlights in bold the words that pop up the most frequently in your site, giving those searching through it a clear and distinctive view of what your mission is all about.
Your site map provides two very important functions for the overall success of the website: it allows users to easily see where certain sections are located and it lets spiders and crawlers put in place by search engines to list your site easily in search results. There are several programs online and in many HTML editing programs that will take your site’s pages and make a map out of them.
While an ad agency or graphic artist will be worried about compelling design, it is up to you to build the most surefire links possible in order to comply with proper web standards. Do not take link building lightly because it will come back to harm you when people need to continuously click the back button in order to stumble through your pages.