Whether you run a blog or a website for the services you offer, it needs to be eye-catching and easy to use. You don’t want people getting confused when they click on your website. Neither do you want them getting bored with your content halfway through. That’s why information architecture and content design are so important and require a solid content strategy, dedicated content creators, and organized workflows.
With the right organization, you can improve the design for better overall user experience and more business to come.
What is Content Architecture?
Content Architecture is all about organizing your information in a meaningful way. You want your content to be clear and intuitive for anyone who clicks on your website. This means combining the creative solutions you have and your content strategy for an overall user-centered design. Usually, this means having a few things as a part of your website.
You have all your information in front of you. You may have a workflow of the entire process of getting your website up and running from beginning to end. Content modeling is the first step to enterprise architecture. Think about how you can produce the most accurate model of information to your website and how everything can be connected.
Wireframes and Wireframing
This is the process which involves visually stripping down your website to see the bare bones. Get rid of the design for a moment and think about the actual path users take to get to what they need, not the appearance of the content you put forth. This wireframe will be the blueprint to your website, letting you illustrate all your ideas in a way that people can understand. Especially if you have a team working with you, this is a good tool to communicate your ideas.
The interface of your website must be able to work with your information. You don’t want the structure of the website not to match what’s actually printed on it. Instead, the website should fit the content so everything looks as good as it properly can.
Everything on your website should run smoothly. The design should fit your users. Think about how they’ll be accessing the content and where they’ll need to look for information. Check on the navigation process and the sequence of clicks someone will need to see the information they’re looking for. The order of information is important in the overall sales process.
How does it affect User Experience?
The whole point of content architecture is to improve user experience, making it easier for people to find what they need and interact with the information you post. As you create hierarchies, navigation, and categorizations, you’ll be able to divide content into categories that are understandable and simple to access.
You’ll want a user interface that induces maximum engagement. This means that the information architects that you hire should be able to implement a structure that will integrate readers and give the idea that they know what’s going on, and engage with their emotions.
Understanding the psychology of your potential users is a huge part of this since you don’t want to overwhelm your users or confuse them.
How Does This Apply to Web Content & Blogs?
All of this means that you need to decide what kind of information you want on your website, how you want the structures of the menus to look, what first-level menu items should look like, how many menus you want, what your links should be called, and so on. There’s a lot that you and your information architect need to think about in order to guide people through all the information they’ll encounter as a part of your blog or site.
So when someone arrives on your website, they’ll be wondering if you have the information they need and how quickly they can find this information. Think about your potential users when you’re setting up your blog or website, and what people might type into their search engine to find you. Know what you want to accomplish with your website and who will need your information.
As you begin getting users to visit, you’ll notice patterns of interaction with them. Check to see where people are visiting the most and if you’ve made it easier for them to get there.
If there’s a page that a lot of people are searching for, but they can’t find it all that easily, consider changing the data architecture in order for them to find it quickly without leaving your website.
The harder people have to work to find the data they need, the less amount of time they might spend checking out your business.
Hub-Spoke Model for Content
Looking to get more traffic heading over to your website? Well, then you have to implement a plan. One of the best plans is the Hub-Spoke model, which allows your architects and your clients to look ahead at your material. This lets them plan rick pieces of content in many formats and promote them in other pieces of your work.
Basically, your user will find your website, think about what they need, make a decision, and either stay to read what they need or click away. That’s why the hub is so important. You’ll create one long form of content that interacts with other areas of your website. This usually consists of other articles that can act as standalone pieces on your website.
The Hub-Spoke model is one of the most-used models online. That’s because it’s meant to help you save time coming up with ideas or guest posts. You’ve already done most of the work crafting the hub pieces; all you need to do is add in the spokes.
Just make sure that you pick your hub content well, and that this central topic can be explained in a long form. Have a few points to elaborate on and make sure it’s the type of post many people will click on.
A cluster involves presenting your data in a way that will allow people to see impactful results. They help you establish yourself as an authority by providing information clustered around one topic, so when people type in keywords, they’re better able to find results.
Basically, a cluster is made similarly to the hub-spoke model. You have one central article with sub-topics within it which will generate links to other pieces of the cluster on other pages. Think of it like having a central point on a graph, with many other points clustered around it.
That’s why you’ll want to have some good keywords that will direct people to the part of the cluster that they want to go to.
You know all about the idea of the hub. This can be applied to the concept of the pillar as well. A content pillar works the same way. It acts as a large piece of central information on a specific topic or theme. This one pillar can be broken up into many different sections by itself. Pillar content is a little different though, since it’s based around one piece of material, but doesn’t necessarily link to other material directly.
Think of eBooks, reports, and guides. These are all types of material that can be turned into other ideas. So if you write an eBook, for instance, you can then create blog posts based on it, send out social media updates, and make videos. All of this is meant to attract all different kinds of buyers.
When you’re writing your pillar though, do make sure that it’s something that you know well. It will be a long piece on your website. It will need to be written well to be able to fuel the other pieces you plan to make from it.
Categories and Tags: Taxonomies
You know what categories are on your website. Like if you had a cooking website, your user interface would involve recipes for lunch, dinner, and breakfast. This allows your users to find what they need quickly. People can also find what they need through tags. Think of if you read a book: what words encompass the story? Tags can be something simple, like what ingredients are in a recipe or the level of difficulty for completing a task.
Both categories and tags are types of taxonomies. Taxonomies are another way to organize data by grouping similar things together. For instance, if you have art projects on your website, you might group projects that take the same amount of time, or what specific materials a person needs.
Taxonomies can help you group your articles together in a way that makes it clear what they are and where people can find the information they need.
Mapping out a Content Architecture
You have all these methods under your belt now, but just knowing the general method you want to use doesn’t mean that you don’t need to map out how you want your website to look. From the very beginning, you should spend a legitimate amount of time figuring out the content architecture and the overall website structure.
Begin by mapping out exactly the path you want people to take when they visit your website. Use different colors to understand the different paths people take, and be sure to include a legend when you share your map with your team.
Think about whether one idea can be split into many. Consider what the smallest section of content is that needs to be included. This will help you narrow down your pathways to figure out what you want the end point to be and how you want people to get there.
You may use card sorting for this process. Card sorting is a method that helps you organize your topics into categories to better make sense of and label these groups.
You can use your map in multiple ways to identify your page types and technical issues. You can also use it to understand how your website compares to your competitors. They’re great tools for showing your data to a larger group of people.
Establishing Topical Authority
Your site users and readers need to know that the information they’re accessing is correct. In order to reassure them, it’s your job to establish yourself as a topical authority. This means they will know you to have authority over a broad set of topics. Not just over one idea or keyword.
Think of having authority over all headphones, rather than trying to have authority over all objects that happen to be white. Your topic should be both sufficiently broad and narrow at the same time. But once you’re able to settle on your niche, having topical authority creates high-quality content all across the internet.
Google will then be able to rank your site based on your authority on the subject and the keywords you use for people to find your topic.
What is Content Design?
There’s information architecture, but there’s also content design. You want your information to be organized. You also want it to have a great look to attract people to stick around once they click on a link. But it’s not only about the actual look. Your content design should also be done to fit the material you have. Pictures should be in the right place, and text should wrap around properly to be read easily.
Even subheadings are a part of the the design, helping your readers go through your website without getting bored. Make sure that everything within your content is explained well too, attracting as wide of an audience as possible. Together with information architecture, a content design will make your website that much more appealing and easier to navigate.
No one likes clicking through a website for ten minutes only not to find what they’re looking for. Even if they do find the right webpage, it can be a little frightening thinking of trying to find it again if the information architecture doesn’t help them. Set up your webpage so that your users will find it easy to use and have a better experience overall. With the right architecture, you’ll hopefully end up with more business to come in the future.