Plan the trustworthy website structure - template for the optimal structure.
How do you ideally build the structure of the website to attract new customers? What should be the main navigation points? How do I show my dream customer that I offer the right service for him or have the best possible product available?
I have dealt with this question time and again in hundreds of website projects over the past 24 years as head of a digital agency. At first glance, it seems like a simple question, but it's not. If you look for appropriate tips for planning the optimal website structure, you will find tools and hints like "write down your pages and sort them". That doesn't help much, especially if you don't even know yet which pages you want to display at all, or should sensibly do so. So here are the SEO consulting from Munich:
I focus now and here on the main navigation. In addition, there is usually a meta navigation with items like social media, login, country/language selection and a footer navigation with imprint, privacy, etc.
The classic navigation looks like this:
Homepage - Products - Company - Contact
Is that customer-oriented? No. It's purely ego-oriented.
My template for the optimal trustworthy website structure looks like this:
Why and how the individual points can be designed in detail, I present in the following.
Basic preliminary remark: No matter which points you include in the navigation, there should not be more than 7. We know from psychology that humans are not able to grasp more than 7 pieces of information at a glance. With 8 points, the brain automatically divides the individual words into two blocks of four. Thus the fast comprehension suffers.
A simple and quick point therefore: Nowadays there is no need for a homepage navigation point. Since it is clear to every user that they can get to the homepage by clicking on the logo, you can thus do without a separate main navigation point. This leaves 7 points in my recommended website structure.
1. the for... side
Customers are interested in the company only in the third step, and in the services and products only in the second step. First and foremost, they are interested in their needs and are looking for an answer to the question of whether and, if so, how the company can satisfy these needs. That's why I recommend a "For ...." item as the first navigation point (i.e., in the most important place that the user sees first).
At this point you can directly address your target group and make it clear that you are there for them. The main navigation point can therefore simply be called. For a doctor or clinic: For patients, for a lawyer: For clients, for a graphic designer: For agencies, etc. Here you show directly for whom you are there and can prove your customer orientation on the corresponding page.
It's not that simple in every company. If your company serves multiple industries, this is exactly what you should show. The same applies to applications or departments. If you would like to show all three areas, you can group these items together under the heading Solutions summarize. Each industry, each application and each specialist area gets its own subpage on which you present your special expertise, your results, contact persons for exactly this area, etc.. And clearly: The underlying pages are optimal for your search engine optimization and the organic growth generated by it. Because users are first interested in their needs, e.g. their specific application, they search for exactly that. With these pages you have the best chance to be found and to address your new customers directly.
2. references / cases / customer testimonials
One of the strongest building blocks of trust is successful results. These are perfectly placed here in their own navigation point. You can simply fill this area with a series of quotes or even store an entire database of cases, including search options and sorting functions, depending on what you have available.
3. products / services
Only then do the products and (services) come next. Many companies that offer both combine the two areas and thus offer services. If this is the case, it can also be named as such in the navigation. In some cases, the range is so large that it is impossible to avoid making two navigation points out of it. In this case you have to consider either leaving out the focus topic or moving the blog to the meta navigation.
4. Optional: 1 focus topic
This is the chance to include an individual trust booster in the navigation. In the 22 trust building blocks, there are different aspects that are sometimes more and sometimes less relevant for different industries. Examples are: Innovations, Awards, Values, Team. Don't think of yourself and what is particularly important to you. Showcasing the team, for example, is elementary for some industries, such as lawyers, and completely irrelevant in others. Just because your employees think it's cool to be on the website, don't do it. Okay, most employees can do without it anyway. But if it is important for your customers, which departments are covered by which employees, you should convince every single one of them that the complete team should be represented.
5. person / company
Now it's finally your turn and/or your company's turn. You can add an About ... before the name, that is a matter of taste. This point should never be missing (even if I have already experienced that even large companies thought that it would not be necessary to tell something about themselves).
6. blog / podcast / stories
Blogging is excellent for showing off your professional expertise. The same is true for podcasting. Both are also long-term traffic generators. I therefore believe that the blog belongs in the main navigation. The only requirement is that it is regularly filled, otherwise you should better park it in the secondary navigation. Stories are also a great alternative. Stories are more detailed in terms of content, have more images, movies infographics. They are wonderfully suited to show the passion for the products created. With the Stories navigation item, the user doesn't expect to read something new every week. An update every two-three months is enough. If all this is (unfortunately) not available, just leave out the navigation point. The social media strategy also plays an extremely important role.
Last but not least: The contact must not be missing if you want to address new customers. Even if you include a prominent call-to-action on every page, you should include a central contact point via the navigation. Here you will also find branches and agencies as well as a map of how to get there. In 99% of all cases, this navigation point is also called Contact. Only if you have frequent customers who like to get lost when they are looking for you, you can also include Contact & Directions as a navigation point.
With this navigation structure you have the optimal plan for building your website structure. Use this template to build your website optimally. Your website users will thank you!