Before you create the actual navigational menus of your site, let’s spend a few minutes reviewing what constitutes an efficient and effective web-site structure. You can probably visit a few of your favorite web sites to quickly identify what works and doesn’t work in terms of structuring content.
Use a logical hierarchy
For example, the BBC web site (bbc.com) organizes its content in a hierarchical structure of groups and sub-groups. The top-level pages in each group can be quickly accessed through a navigational menu at the start of the web site, as shown in Figure 6-1. Then, those groups are expanded upon in the footer area of the web site, as shown in Figure 6-2. The content in between the header and footer includes images and excerpts from the various areas of the site, to engage and draw in the site visitors.
Each of the main content groups seeks to fulfill one of the site’s goals for its users. Remember, if a particular group, sub-group, or even a page on your site doesn’t solve a problem or address the need of your intended audience, it will likely distract users and even confuse them. All web sites need a structure that has been designed to help users easily access the content they seek.
When your site only has a few pages or posts, it could be tempting to not spend too much time working on the navigation. If you want to give the site a chance to grow gracefully, however, then it’s wise to consider each content group and whether you need to add more groups to enable the site to grow into itself.
Enable a chronological view
For example, people often post to blogs over a period of years. As such, it can be helpful to organize posts first by year, and then by category. Figure 6-3 shows how a summer camp handles this.
Plan and test
It can be helpful to plan out and test your site’s structure prior to actually building it. For example, some people write the various content types on index cards or sticky notes, and then move them around on a table until they are in a format that makes sense. You can even perform some basic user testing with this very rudimentary type of site menu, simply by asking friends or family members to look at your proposed structure and say where they might ‘click’ to find a certain bit of content. If they can easily find where you put your various pieces of content, you have probably found a successful site structure. If not, consider moving the content until it makes sense to your testers.
> Tip: You can read more about developing and testing efficient navigational structures here: http://conversionxl.com/website-information-architecture-optimal-user-experience/.
After you’ve identified the most effective structure for your site’s content, you can transfer that into your WordPress development. The method by which you structure your various bits of content will depend mostly on how they are managed in WordPress.