Published on April 30, 2020 by Access Keys
There are a lot of tasks in an average to-do list of a person starting a WordPress website. You need to make sure your branding is stellar, work on designing a website by tailoring the theme to your needs, and come up with a content plan to promote it.
However, there’s a very important step many beginner website owners forget. This step is laying down the architecture of your website. You can’t have a website that is a complete mess to navigate.
If you’ve never thought about your website’s architecture before, read this guide to learn why it’s so important and how you can organize content on your website.
See what is in this blog (table of contents) hide
- Why is organizing content in WordPress important
- Organizing media in WordPress
- Organizing pages
- Wrap Up
Why is organizing content in WordPress important
The biggest reason to treat organizing content on your WordPress website seriously is this. Most users won’t be able to navigate a site if it’s too chaotic. With so many competitors available just a few clicks away, many users will leave your website and go elsewhere.
If a customer needs to read the “About us” page till the end to get to your company’s case studies, it may be too much for some visitors. If a blog website doesn’t have a clear hierarchy or content or tags and only gives a visitor a long list of blog posts, they may fail to find what they’re interested in.
Besides, having a clear content hierarchy is beneficial for your SEO profile. Pete McPherson from Do You Even Blog explains it in his article on the importance of categorization for SEO. To put it shortly, even though category archives may not pop up in search, having categories makes it easier for Google crawlers to search and index your website.
Also, organizing content on each individual page is proven to be extremely important for SEO. Now that you know that you should organize your website’s content, let’s see how you can do that.
The first step to having an organized website is nailing the navigation menu. It’s normally located in the header of your website and contains links to the most important pages of your website.
For most websites, the pages that the menu links to are located in the root folder. So if your website has an “About Us” page that has a link in the menu, its address is yourwebsite.com/about-us.
A typical website will at the very least have pages like “About Us,” “Contact Us.” Depending on the type of your website, it may also have pages that contain your e-shop, your blog, a list of your services, your pricing page, etc.
These most essential links make up the top of your website’s hierarchy. All you need to organize them is a header menu with links to all these pages.
For some websites like small business websites or portfolio websites, that alone would be enough. There’s no point in creating a lot of website architecture if you have little content. A flat architecture would serve you just fine.
However, many websites choose to publish more content and that’s when things get complicated.
Whether you want to create a dozen services listings with each page explaining that service in detail or you want to grow your website’s blog, you can’t have these pages listed as unorganized. This would create a mess both for you and for your visitors.
Website visitors would have to try and navigate an unorganized website, and you will have to struggle with gathering statistics. The solution is rather simple, you have to use WordPress categories to sort out your content.
Let’s say you own a website that promotes your coaching services and you have three packages of services, light, basic, and advanced. You need to create a category called “services,” create a page detailing each type of service, and put them in this category.
If your category expands on one of the essential menu items, consider adding all the child posts of this category to the sub-menu. Here’s how it looks on AccessPress.
Now, the best use of categories on the website is to sort out your blog posts. This time, though, your website hierarchy will go a bit deeper because you will create a category for the blog itself and child subcategories for each type of blog post you feature on the website.
Let’s say you have a blog about academic writing like Essay Tigers and you write about topics like business writing, academic writing, academic success, and blogging in general. Create categories for each of these topics and make them children of the “blog” category.
This way, when you write the next piece about academic writing, your article’s URL will be something like yourwebsite.com/blog/academic-writing/12-tips-for-writing-a-killer-thesis. If your website is unorganized, it would most likely be published with a URL like yourwebsite.com/2020/04/02/12-tips-for-writing-a-killer-thesis.
This would make it much harder to locate for a visitor who only wants to learn more about academic writing and doesn’t want to browse through the other content. The category page will dynamically display all articles published in this category, making navigating your blog a breeze for someone who’s new to it.
What if each category has more niche content in it. Say, articles that go into the academic writing category feature a range of topics like research, proofreading, style tips, etc.
If you have dozens of articles on any given topic, you may want to break up that category further and create more subcategories. However, there’s another way you organize this content.
Tags are a type of predefined taxonomy that doesn’t have a strict hierarchical structure. A page can be marked with multiple tags, and articles that are marked with the same tag can belong to different categories. That said, a user can visit a tag page to look up the archive of your posts that contain all posts that contain this tag, so it helps navigation just like a category page does.
If you were to put each article into a category that describes it perfectly, not broadly, you’d end up with so many categories it’s actually frustrating to navigate. Creating tags helps organize content into narrow niches without creating a strict hierarchy of content and making finding what you want on the blog easy.
The most important thing when it comes to organizing your content with tags is moderation. You don’t want to clog your website with extremely precise tags that contain only a couple of articles or tag a single article with a dozen tags.
Your main goal is not to create tags that describe any given article. Your goal is to mark it with tags that help readers find the next similar piece of content to read.
Organizing media in WordPress
If your website has a huge blog with hundreds of articles, you may notice that your media folder becomes rather clogged. It’s full of pictures and videos that are only organized by the upload time. If you need to find a specific image to replace it, it would be easier to go to the page where it is and access it via a link than to find it in this folder.
WordPress doesn’t support media folders natively, but you can add that feature to your dashboard with a plug-in that’s handily called Media Library Folders.
Backup your website before installing the plug-in just in case something goes wrong, install it, activate it, and you should have a new folder called “Media Library+.” You can create folders and sort content into them like this.
When you do that, you can easily locate any image in a URL like /uploads/folder-name/image.jpg. This is handy to use, but you should be careful when organizing media on a big website. Giving images a new URL will break the previous link and you’ll need to replace it to the new one.
Menus, categories, and tags cover most needs for organizing posts on your website vertically. The next step is to learn how to organize content on each page to make it easier for the visitors to navigate it.
Apart from using H1-H6 tags correctly, there’s one crucial thing that will help your readers find their way in a long piece of content. Add a table of contents to posts longer than 2000 words, especially the ones where a user may only want to read a part of the post, not the whole post.
For a small website or a personal blog, organizing content may not be the biggest priority. However, if you own a website that has over a hundred pages and you’re serious about SEO and user experience, sorting your content into categories is a must.
Take these simple tips and use them for your website. You’d be better off using them sooner than later because if you start reorganizing a bulky website, this may mean a couple of days of work and some downtime for certain pages.
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