Recommended Site Layout
February 14, 2005
The following diagram shows a typical business site layout, and how it interacts with various sources of traffic. This layout is designed to take maximum advantage of adding content to increase user value, retention and search engine traffic, while providing opportunities to convert that traffic to prospects and customers.
Pages on your site
The home page will typically be the entry point for type-in traffic (people who type in your domain name) and bookmarkers. Links from other sites (such as directories) may also target the home page. Users entering at other points in the site will often go to the home page to locate other features of interest. The predominant use of the home page is as an entry point to site navigation, and for branding your message. The home page should be linked to all other pages in the site.
Navigation pages include various index pages and a site map, and should be linked to all other pages of the site (so that a user entering at any point can find their way around.)
Utility pages include such must-have pages as an “about” page, a contact page, and a search page. Many of these should also be linked to all pages of the site, and all of them should be available via navigation pages. The majority of traffic will come from other pages within the site.
Sales pages are pages where you add information on your products and services. This may be part of a shopping cart system, or lead users to a shopping cart or a newsletter signup. Most of the traffic for sales pages will come from internal site navigation, direct links from content pages, or from landing pages.
The majority of pages in the site will be content pages — these are pages designed to offer specific solutions and information to visitors who are likely to be interested in your products or services. By targeting specific keywords and phrases, these pages will draw search engine traffic looking for information relevant to your products. By providing specific value to this user base, you encourage visitors to explore the site, and bookmark and return. Navigation and targeted links should be provided to lead users to your product and services pages. The majority of the traffic to these pages will be from search engines, as well as from new and returning users exploring the site.
Landing pages are specialized sales pages for use when you have specifically targeted traffic for a product or a service. This traffic may come from pay-per-click advertising, links in your newsletter, or links from within your content section. Landing pages may be on your main site itself, or on a separate site of their own. They may link to sales pages or directly to order processing systems. They may also include links to the home page or site navigation (or not), but they should probably not be linked to the rest of your site navigation (other than your site map).
Type-in traffic and bookmarks
People who type in your domain name as a result of your offline marketing efforts will typically enter your site at the home page. Many bookmarkers will also bookmark the home page, although a number may also bookmark other specific pages within your site.
Inbound links from directories, and one-way or reciprocal links from other sites will often target your home page. As you add value to your content section, you will also probably find other sites adding deep links specifically to pages within your content section.
Search Engine Traffic
Search engine traffic will appear on virtually every page of your site (including some places where you least expect it), but if you’ve properly targeted specific keywords and phrases, the bulk of relevant search engine traffic will enter directly at pages within the content section of your site.
Traffic that you have targeted to specific sales terms will link directly to landing pages or specific sales pages. This may include pay-per-click advertising, promotions in your newsletter or ezine, or links from within relevant articles in your content section.