A Guide to Organizing Content On Your Website
You've decided to create a new website on Cardsetter! (Virtual High Five!)
It's tempting to get in there and start playing, adding photos, and making your site "look" amazing! In fact, we highly encourage doing this.
After you've had a chance to get familiar with Cardsetter's features, it's time to strategize on how to organize content on your site.
This critical step is where we see many site owners get held up. It can be overwhelming to decide on how to organize everything, but it doesn't have to be. With Cardsetter, an important thing to keep in mind is that you are never "stuck" with how you initially set up or organize your site. You have the freedom to create and evolve. Arrange your website how it makes sense now, change it up as the need arises.
With Cardsetter, you can think of your content as a stack of cards. You can group, and (re)arrange cards of content on your site; however you like.
While Cardsetter will never force a site structure upon its site owners, it can be helpful to use the following framework to help you get started on organizing your website for your audience.
We suggest starting by drawing your thoughts out on a whiteboard or with pencil and paper (sometimes you think better away from a screen). If you prefer to use software for this purpose, check out draw.io.
Let's dive in!
Begin with Your Content Themes
What is your website (and your brand) all about? Think of themes as the main topics that most of your content falls within. You'll likely have a small list of three to six themes, though some sites may have more or fewer. Your content themes tell your story and let your audience know what to expect from you. Themes also help you to organize content within your site.
A Healthy Lifestyle site may have the themes - "Nutrition," "Fitness," and "Wellness," for example.
Use Sub-Themes for Deeper Organization within Themes
Within these themes, you can have sub-themes.
In our example, the Nutrition Theme on the Healthy Lifestyle website could include Recipes, Advice, and Supplements.
Tags Allow for Associating Any Piece of Content with One Another
Tags can be used to associate individual pieces of content with one another. Tags can be created "on the fly" and can be as specific or as broad as you like. Tags are instrumental in setting up "Feeds" on your site. Using Feeds, you can auto-populate sections on your website with like-content using Tags.
Our Healthy Lifestyle site owner could "show five most recent articles tagged with "recipes and salads" on the Nutrition page or even the homepage.
You don't need to determine every tag you will ever want to use right at the start. However, you may want to start with a few tags related to your themes and sub-themes.
Plan Your Menu to Help Your Audience Navigate Your Site
What's most important for your audience to be able to find? This is what should go in your menu.
Thinking about your menu will help you determine the main pages that you need to build out as well. These may follow your main themes.
Your Home Page Should Engage Your Audience
The homepage is where it all comes together to guide your audience through your content and keep them discovering more. You'll want to showcase what's new and what's relevant to your audience, along with any sponsored content or promotions that you want to get noticed.
A logical way to organize your homepage is to begin with what's new or noteworthy near the top of the page.
Then, group sections on the homepage of like-content cards within your themes. You want to put your "best content forward" to engage your readers and draw them in with your site and your brand.
Theme Specific Pages
Theme-specific pages can become Main Sections on your homepage and may be featured in the menu. They help your audience quickly get to related content in the topic they are most interested in but still allow for content discovery within that section.
When you visit USAToday.com for example, you find sections on "Life," "Money," "Tech," and "Travel," among others. Your site can follow this strategy, creating Main Sections around the themes that are relevant to your site.
Just like your homepage, these would include content that is new and noteworthy at the top. Then, you could group like-content around your sub-themes throughout the page as the user scrolls.
In our Healthy Lifestyle site example, the Nutrition page could include new articles from all of the sub-themes at the top of the page and then as you scroll down the page, you'd find recipes, advice articles, and info on supplements grouped in their respective sections.
Create a Sitemap to Help Visualize Your Content Organization
Visualize your content's organization by outlining a sitemap. Again, we prefer to use a whiteboard or pencil and paper at first as it allows for more fluidity, but you can do this in a tool like draw.io as well.
Create Wireframes for Your Key Pages
A wireframe allows you to plan the layout of a page and placement of content without thinking too much about the design, to start.
Wireframes can help you think about your main page's structure. A few pages we suggest you begin with include:
- Theme Specific Sections
- Article/Blog Pages
On a blank piece of paper, draw boxes with labels to note what content will go in different sections on the page. You can indicate where you'll have images, signup forms or anything else that you plan to put on the page.
We hope this framework helps simplify the process of putting your Cardsetter website together. When you begin with a little bit of planning, your site will come together quickly. Moreover, because your website will now be on Cardsetter, you can easily make organization adjustments as the need arises.