A man creating a website.

The tree structure: a fundamental step in website creation

Drawing up the plan of a website is an important task, but difficult to do. Organizing content and prioritizing it takes time and creates teamwork.

Despite the good quality of the presentation of a website, your goal could not be achieved without a well-done navigation . That said, the tree structure should not be neglected when creating your website. To be able to create a good structure of your site, read to the end.

What is the website tree?

The tree structure of a website is a kind of diagram that is used to organize its content. It is presented in the form of a diagram structuring the pages into sections. It also defines the different levels of navigation. Thanks to this map, visitors will be able to easily access the page that interests them.

When creating a website, the tree structure is the first step to design. Once set up, it allows the team to have an overview of the site. They then have to check the pages and produce graphic mock-ups and prototypes.

What should the tree structure of a website contain?

The first challenge a company faces is listing the content to organize. The navigation device of the site is based on various media. Here are some examples:

  • Main navigation menu: Can contain a secondary menu that appears at the first view of the main menu.
  • Secondary navigation menu: This is the child menu of the item selected in the main menu. It can also be a completely different menu.
  • Internal search engine : with one or more search links
  • sidebar : used to promote horizontal navigation from products or suggested articles,
  • footer : giving access to the main categories of the site or key pages.

It should be emphasized that a well-thought-out tree structure makes it possible to establish an effective navigation device for all situations.

What is the purpose of a website tree?

The tree structure has several functions for a website.

Improved natural indexing

In SEO, the tree structure plays a primordial role, both in the hierarchy of pages and on the global level. Indeed, search engines, including Google, use algorithms to analyze the pages of a website. This is where the tree structure is necessary, because the hierarchy of the site guides Google’s algorithm. If the architecture is consistent, the search engine will quickly understand how your site works and the content it offers. As a result, it will give these pages a good indexing and optimal positioning in relation to a given query.

A site with a clear structure is therefore ranked higher in the pages in the search results.

Guide for visitors

Admittedly, organizing a huge amount of information is difficult. However, the management of it can be improved little by little by setting up the tree. If the site is well structured, visitors can easily navigate from one page to another. In this case, they will be able to easily find what they came looking for in the site. Note that when a visitor spends less time on a site, the chances of generating conversions increase.

How to design the tree structure of your website?

First of all, the tree structure of a website is based on the identification of one or more personas. This is to determine the typical profile of people who will probably be interested in browsing your site. Then, to offer them a friendly experience, the company must put itself in the shoes of these potential visitors. Based on their behaviors, you will list, hierarchize and classify your content in a logical order.

List the contents of your site

First, the elements you want to feature on your website should be listed. To do this, you need to be as comprehensive as possible . That is, gather everything you want to put in your site into a folder. Then, organize them by theme or ideas, not pages. Identify the primary content type from the start. As soon as the inventory is complete, you might have a clearer view of the site hierarchy.

Analyze your competitors’ tree structure

The tree structure of your competitors’ sites is often a great source of inspiration, which contains very useful information. Analyzing their website will allow you to verify an idea that you probably forgot during your inventory. In addition, it will give you ideas to properly organize your content.

Organize and organize your content

To bring your site’s content to life, there are two modes of reasoning to follow.

  • The bottom-up approach : It consists of focusing on each type of content identified. Then, it is necessary to combine the elements of the same type to reason in a general way.
  • The top-down approach : It consists of initially defining the first level of hierarchy, then slowly moving down. The global vision must always be maintained.

These two approaches are complementary. However, care must be taken to be consistent in the hierarchy of content. For your information, the first rule to follow for a good organization is not to exceed three levels. Of course, the home page must be level 1. The second rule is that the visitor must be able to find what he is looking for in 3 clicks.

Formalize the tree structure and put it to the test

The final step in tree design is its formalization. It is best to write the first thoughts on paper. Once the general structure is established, you can edit it via software.

As soon as the tree structure is formalized, it should be tested and put to the test in the face of reality. For this, the best technique is to define scenarios and identify the navigation of the website for each of them.

Designing the tree structure of a website is an important phase, because it is the skeleton of your site. You must indeed structure and prioritize your content to direct visitors from one page to another targeted. Also, with a well-organized sitemap, search engines will more easily understand your content.

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