Information Architecture


In previous articles, I introduced important IA concepts and covered the first steps involved in organizing your site’s information. All the steps and preparation have led to this final stage, where it’s time to implement all those ideas and concepts and create a site map.

If you’ve been following the steps from part 1, you should have a long list in excel or on notecards with each piece of content you will have on your site. Obviously this list can get pretty big for sites with a lot of depth/content/products, so try not to get overwhelmed – we’ll break them down into manageable chunks. Organizing your site’s information is crucial to long-term success and efficiency – don’t skimp on this part.

The First Sort – Top Level Categories

This is the most important step of the entire process – it is where you put all your content into ‘piles’ that would make sense to an end user (and with an eye to SEO and your most important keywords). Take your big list of content and sort them into no more than five to seven piles, grouping things in a way that makes sense to you. Continue reading “Implementing Information Architecture – A Step by Step Guide (Part 2 of 2)” »

David Norris

Over the years, I have delved into many fascinating areas of technology, and have spent much of my time optimizing NetSuite accounts and websites. Whether building websites or automating backend processes, my focus is always on providing as much value to my customers as possible, and helping them to solve their most difficult problems. The first step is understanding your business' needs and challenges. Contact me to begin the conversation.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterLinkedInGoogle Plus

So what is information architecture and why should you care about it? In simple terms, it’s the way you organize the information on your web site. The decisions you make when deciding how your users will navigation your site have far-reaching effects, including SEO, usability, and conversion rate. I’ve written a lengthy introduction to information architecture concepts. I will now go into the process of building your site’s structure.

The Process

There are, of course, no hard and fast rules for organizing your site. For any given site there are probably a number of ways to set it up that will work well, and any number of methods to get there. This is a general description of my method, gleaned from my experiences and readings over the last 8 or so years of working with web sites.
Step 1: Keyword Research
This will be a crucial component of your web site, from start to finish. You should never really stop doing keyword research, but once you have generated a pretty big list and determined what your most important keywords are, you will be able to move to the next step. I will write more about this very involved topic later, so if you are new to the concept you may want to do a little reading on it. My favorite keyword research tools are:

Try to find the top few keyword phrases that get the most search volume that describes your site as a whole, as well as for each major category. You will define the categories more explicitly later, but for now you should already have a general idea of the major categories of content that your site will have. During this process you will no doubt be returning to this step to refine things.
Step 2: Piles of Content Continue reading “Implementing Information Architecture – A Step by Step Guide (part 1 of 2)” »

David Norris

Over the years, I have delved into many fascinating areas of technology, and have spent much of my time optimizing NetSuite accounts and websites. Whether building websites or automating backend processes, my focus is always on providing as much value to my customers as possible, and helping them to solve their most difficult problems. The first step is understanding your business' needs and challenges. Contact me to begin the conversation.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterLinkedInGoogle Plus

One of my favorite topics in web site design is information architecture. That’s a fancy term that basically corresponds to how you organize the content and navigation for your site. In other words, the method by which you put your content into groups or categories, and thereby build the site’s navigation structure. It’s a question you can consider at any time in your web site’s life, but it really pays to figure it out up front. Having to change the structure of a site that’s already running presents a number of challenges that are best avoided. I’ll start by introducing the concepts, then in my next article I will walk you through the process.

An Overview

When it’s time to organize or reorganize your site’s content, what should be kept in mind? The short answer is a lot. If you don’t want to do a good deal of research to fully understand the concepts, I would suggest hiring a consultant to help you out. I’ll try to cover as much as I can.
Theme Pyramids
The basic structure of almost every site out there is hierarchical – you start with one home page, then move to a number of top level categories. Each of these can have items (like articles or individual products) or other categories. The structure can be drawn like a pyramid or organization chart. The basic idea is to make your home page about your broadest topic – whatever your site as a whole is about. You then break that concept up into logical categories. There is a terrific introduction to the idea of theme pyramids at Search Engine World.
Here are some caveats to keep in mind while creating a theme pyramid:

David Norris

Over the years, I have delved into many fascinating areas of technology, and have spent much of my time optimizing NetSuite accounts and websites. Whether building websites or automating backend processes, my focus is always on providing as much value to my customers as possible, and helping them to solve their most difficult problems. The first step is understanding your business' needs and challenges. Contact me to begin the conversation.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterLinkedInGoogle Plus