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Organize Your Website

Thursday, August 25th, 2005 by | Filed Under: Web Design
 
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Before you jump right in to build your website, take a few moments to arrange it in an orderly, logical way. I don’t know about you, but I hate it when I go to a website and all the information, and I mean all of it, is on the main page.

I realize that people are excited about their information and they want it all up front. However putting everything on one page just makes it hard to read. There is too much going on for visitors on your site to focus on any one thing. This is especially true if you make someone scroll down forever to view your info. Also, having all your info on one page makes that page load a lot slower.

So, organize your information into different pages and provide the links to these pages from the main page of your site. By providing links to the other pages, you let the user choose which information they want to see. Your main page should have the links to the other sections of the site and a bit of information that describes the purpose of the site.

I’m going to stay with the example of a site dedicated to my dog Lily to demonstrate the organization and building of a site. I want the site for Lily to include information on how I got her, what type of dog she is, some pictures of her, some of her favorite things and activities, and how about weekly diary or something like that. Yeah, a weekly diary sounds like fun because it will be a page where the information gets updated frequently. A site with frequently updated information gives visitors a reason to come back again and again. I’m going to break down the information that I just listed into different pages for the site. Here’s how it will look:

Main Page

-About Lily (what type of dog, how I got her)

-Photos (photos of Lily, her family, friends)

-Lily’s Picks (favorite toys, food)

-Weekly Report… (diary page, updated weekly)

Okay, that’s enough. I’m going to put these pages into a tree diagram. A tree diagram is nice because it shows the layout of the site and how the pages should be connected to each other. This isn’t such a big deal when there are only 5 pages total but if you have 30 pages it becomes very helpful. Here’s how this looks when you put it into a tree diagram.

image

Here is what the site tree would look like if I added a few more pages. Let’s say I’m adding two pages in the Photos section, two in Lily’s Pick and one in About Lily.

image

Okay, the site is organized and I have a plan for the layout, so now it’s time to design it. Next time we meet I’ll show you some design basics, tips and some tricks. So, until then, do your homework and have your site organized

~ Kim

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