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When it comes to website structure, there are two main benefits to putting a little planning and know-how behind setting up your site:
1) Better stats for Google (lower bounce rate, longer avg. time on site, etc.)
2) Higher conversions… whether that’s sales or signups
I follow some pretty simple guidelines for my own sites that definitely work for me, so I’ll go over some of those in this post so that you can use some of them on your own sites.
Tips for a High-Converting Website Structure
A static homepage: I don’t do this with Strayblogger yet, but I do it on most of my sites. The main idea behind this is so that you control exactly what your visitors see when they land on your homepage. Your homepage will be the most visited page on your site by far, so it’s a good place to put your most valuable(both to you and your readers) information. If you’re not aware, WordPress by default uses a dynamic ‘posts’ page as your homepage that will show your most recent posts… a blog in other words.
When you use a static homepage, you go in and choose a “page”, not a post, that will be your homepage and will always look and stay the same unless you manually edit the page of course. To set that up, go into ‘Settings’, and then ‘Reading’, and you’ll see this:
You just check the ‘static page’ option, and then choose the page you want as your homepage. If you want a dedicated blog page, you would just setup a “page” titled ‘Blog’, and choose that as your ‘Posts page’ below the Front page option.
Some ideas of what to put on your homepage
First of all, your homepage should basically be an article about the overall topic of your site. Shoot for 700 to 1,000 words so that it’s substantial… both for human readers and search engines, and then as you build your site out you’ll be able to add links to your main pages right from the content of the homepage. If you look at my stroller site, you’ll see this in action:
The links on your homepage within your content shouldn’t just link to your money pages… that’s the wrong place to link to your money pages. Your homepage should link to your main category pages, and those main category pages will then have links to your different articles in that category. So basically what you have is a hierarchy of pages like this:
You should choose anywhere from 3 to 6 “categories” that any article on your site will fit into. Then, you create a “page” in WordPress to serve as that category page. Then go into your menu options and list these category pages in your navigation. First you have to do it under “Appearance” > “Menus” like this:
In Profits Theme, you choose ‘Top Navigation 2′, because that’s the menu under your logo… that’s just the way I setup all my sites, you can do it whatever way you want. I just prefer one main Nav bar under my site logo such here on Strayblogger. In Profits Theme, this is under Profits Theme > Site Options > Display, and then check the box to Remove/Collapse Top Navigation #1:
Then, on each category page, you make it another general article about that category or topic, and then link to the pages within that category. Here’s another example from my stroller site:
What this does is it gives your visitors a lot of places to go, and this increases your avg. time on site and avg. number of pages that visitor views. The longer you can keep a visitor on your site, the higher chance they’ll subscribe or buy something you’re promoting. These improved metrics also increase the quality of your site in the eyes of Google, which will improve your search engine rankings as well.
As you continue to build more and more pages, you should spend a little time going through and interlinking your articles. If you have a page titled “How to Cook Trout”, then in your other articles whenever you mention cooking trout or eating trout, you would link back to your page on “How to Cook Trout”. Interlinking is another thing that boosts your search engine rankings, mainly because it get’s people viewing more pages per visit and staying on your site longer.
What to Put in Your Sidebars
Your sidebars are very important to the success of your site. This is where the bulk of your money-making actions will take place: 1)people subscribing to your list and 2) visiting your money pages.
As you can see in the shot below, I have a simple optin on my top-right sidebar, which is the best place to put it.
I know I beat this like a dead horse, but if you’re not building a list yet- it will drastically reduce the amount of time it takes you to build up your traffic, sales, and income. You can also watch the list building webinar if you haven’t yet…
I know this will get asked, so to get an optin form like the one you see above, you can either use Optin Skin, or Profits Theme has a sidebar optin widget you can use. In either case, you simply get your form HTML from iContact and paste it into the widget where it says “Paste Autoresponder code here”:
The next best way to use your sidebar space is to link to your money pages. It’s not a bad idea to include a couple of your best pages, whether they’re money pages or not- this goes back to the idea that you want your visitors to see your best stuff when they visit your site.
The easiest way to list the specific pages you want is to first create a custom menu in your ‘Menus’ options inside WordPress:
Then, you need to simply drag the “Custom Menu” widget into your sidebar inside the ‘Widgets’ menu:
Putting your Amazon.com affiliate disclaimer on every page: If you’re an Amazon.com affiliate, you need to have a disclosure statement on any page with Amazon affiliate links that discloses your affiliate relationship with Amazon. An easy way to this so that you don’t have to edit every single page is to use the “widgetized footer” feature in Profits Theme. Here’s what it looks like in action:
To set it up, it’s under Profits Theme > Design Options > Layout. Then you find this section, and make sure it’s un-checked.
Once you’ve done that, then you need to configure the widgets inside your “Widget” options:
At this point the only other thing I can think of that you might be wondering is, “How do I link to all my other pages besides my money pages in my sidebar?”
To answer that let’s recap: You setup your homepage which will link to ‘category pages’ and other main pages, and then on your category pages you’ll link to all the articles within that category. Then, you want to interlink your article pages wherever it makes sense to, and that way there will be a way to access any given page within a few clicks from the home page.
The idea of putting your best content directly accessible on the homepage and from any page in the sidebar is that it will be your individual pages that bring in most of the traffic, and then the main thing people click on is your homepage link, and from there they’ll funnel to your money pages… that’s how it works hypothetically and it will work that way the majority of the time. Some visitors will bounce after just a few seconds no matter how good your site and content are, but if you’ll take some time to plan out your site and set it up correctly, over time it will perform much better both in terms of traffic and revenue than it would if you just kept publishing pages and didn’t do anything to organize them.
Okay- I hope you liked this post and learned something useful… Please share/tweet/+1 this below and leave a comment or question.