Putting a Content Based Website Together

We’ve covered long term content and short term content, information pages, and touched briefly on advertising. Now it’s time to bring it all together.

File Structure

One of the absolute biggest mistakes I made when building websites was to not plan far enough ahead. So I ended up with pages like “www.example.com/keyword.html“, “www.example.com/keyword.php”, or “www.example.com/keyword.asp“. Really the best way to do it is “www.example.com/keyword/“. Yes I know you can fix it with htaccess and mod rewrite but “ugly URI’s” really irk me. I have one site that has 500+ pages that I won’t touch because the file structure FUBAR. Additionally think about your information architecture. For example if you most popular items are shoes and dresses and they come in red and blue I would do this

example.com/dress/red/
example.com/dress/blue/
example.com/shoes/red/
example.com/shoes/blue/

and not this

example.com/red/dress/
example.com/red/shoes/
example.com/blue/dress/
example.com/blue/shoes/

Groups directories and files by categories and not characteristics.

Content Management Systems

I’ll admit I haven’t tried many of these, to be completely honest I use my own homegrown products. I’ve never been able to find “off the shelf” software that lets me do things exactly the way I want. I don’t mind rolling up my sleeves and digging in the code, but if that’s not your thing by all means use a CMS. They really can save you hours of time.

Include Files

These can be a real lifesaver. If you use the same header, footer and side panel navigation elements make them include files. When you need to make a change it’s only one file to update. This has saved me hours of work.

New Content

Unless you have an older website that is well spidered, adding new pages deep within your website can often be problematic. One of the best solutions I have found for this is adding a “New Articles” section to the homepage or side navigation. This makes the new content readily accessible to the spiders. Keep 10 to 15 items in the list and include a snippet if the page design allows it. Add new items to the top and remove old one’s from the bottom
TIP: I’ve found some very interesting results using Google Site Maps (see Google Site Maps Review coming soon).

tags: (search engine optimization | | | search engine marketing )

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