Why 3-Tier Web Site Structure?
Site structure = Web site structure
Have you ever noticed the reason why in no time and without any difficulty, you can find your favorite book sections? Because of the layout of the bookstores are commonly organized in a logical and predictable way, you the shopper with or without prior planning will know where to find your favorite sections.
If you just relax and think a bit, you will soon realize that you're living in an organized world. And there is no difference when it comes to Web site structure.
The reasons you need to structure your Web site properly:
In fact, there's one more reason. A well-designed Web site structure helps Search Engine Spiders navigate through out your site faster and more easily, so they can index each and every Web page of yours in less effort. You should be aware that a Search Engine can't rank a Web page without indexing the page first.
Now what I recommend you to do is to structure your Web site in a hierarchical organizational structure. Why?
Although there are several ways to divide a Web site into logical sections such as sequence structure (books and other printed matter), it has been proved that hierarchical structure works nearly almost for every site concept.
A reason is that site owners usually build their Web sites around a single theme or a central idea, which then links to several subtopics. Another reason is that hierarchical organizational structure is familiar to the majority of people. Why did I say so?
Let's look at the structure of the US government. At the top is the Constitution. Below it are the Legislative, Executive, Judicial branches, which stand in a horizontal line right below the Constitution. And below each branch, there're several departments listed horizontally.
U.S. Government Structure: http://www.library.arizona.edu/about/libraries/govdocs/research/govstructr.html
Our family structure is also another good example.
Thus, because hierarchical structure is a traditional organizational diagram and most people can easily understand and because this particular Web site structure works well for most Search Engines like Google and Yahoo, this Web site structure is the best of choice.
Basic Site Structure
My experience has taught me that an ideal hierarchical structure should NOT have more than 3 tiers because it's simple and easy for both human visitor to get access to an individual Web page and for Search Engine spider to crawl and index the page.
Remember that a deep directory structure unnecessarily forms very long Web pages' file names that may cause Search Engine spiders to get a headache whenever attempting to crawl them. The deeper, the harder.Here's an example of a long Web page's file name; it could look something like this:
Let's say you want to read it to your friend. Thus, it's a good idea to minimize your site's tiers to only three. Just keep it simple and easy, anyway.
Home Page (Tier 1)
An excellent Home Page can tell its visitors what it is exactly about. Each and every visitor has no need to scroll up and down and left to right just to figure out what this site is about.
Thus, go to the point. Be succinct. Tell them what you are doing and how your site can serve them. Once your visitors land on your Home Page, they don't have to nose around.
It's also a good idea that you have your own Unique Serving Proposition, which is the heading on your Home Page. Your USP not only tells your visitors who you are but also separates you from the crowd. It makes you unique. I think that it's worth having your own USP on your Home Page.
Main Sections (Tier 2)
Each of your main section is a directory that links to its sub-sections (sub-pages), detailing of those areas of the topic of each main section. So combined all, your main sections form the backbone of your Web site structure.
For example, if the theme (or niche) of your Web site is about 'Healthy Juicing', then your main sections could be 'Vegetable Juicing' and 'Fruit Juicing'.
Sub-Sections (Tier 3)
Each sub-section contains a specific piece of important information that is related to its main section's topic. And each main section's topic is related to the theme of your Web site or site concept or your niche market.
Your sample Web site structure may look like this:
Chapter 22 Series