In this era of rapidly advancing internet and mobile technologies, ecommerce site architecture has become one of the most important things that every online business needs to focus on. Every website essentially comes with a structure, which could be a streamlined one or a disorganized accumulation of pages. Now, if you’re an online shopper, would you buy from an ecommerce store that’s difficult to navigate and hard to buy from?
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In this article, we’re going to offer our best strategies on creating the best architecture for ecommerce sites without requiring any special technical knowledge.
What is website architecture?
Put simply, website architecture refers to the way you structure your website. It plays a pivotal role in the success of your ecommerce business as it directly impacts several crucial aspects like how you present your business to the online visitors and driving conversions.
Why Ecommerce Site Architecture is Important?
Before delving deeper into the strategies, let’s take a quick look at why you need to focus on having optimized ecommerce site architecture.
It enhances user-friendliness
It directly impacts your ecommerce site’s user engagement. If your users don’t find things in order or face difficulties in locating what they’re looking for, your site won’t be appealing to them and they’ll likely be navigating away quickly.
On the contrary, a logical and strong site architecture lowers bounce rate by offering improved user-friendliness. Thus, improves user engagement which ultimately contributes to improved ranking and sales.
It lets search engines crawl your site better
The objective of web crawlers is to index the content of your web pages in order to return them in search results. If you can create a strong site architecture, crawlers will easily access and index your content. This increases your probabilities of ranking higher in SERPs.
Have you ever seen something similar to the above image when using Google?
In the context of SEO, sitelinks offer a multitude of benefits including pointing users to the most accurate information, improved navigability of your site, improved rankings in SERPs, to name a few. And one way to get sitelinks is to have robust ecommerce site architecture.
9 Strategies to Create the Perfect Ecommerce Site Architecture
For any online business, effective website management makes a huge impact on its site traffic, conversion rates, and sales. Click To TweetYou’ve to get it developed in such a way that all the categories and subcategories remain properly organized. Here’s the compilation of our best twenty strategies that would help you accomplish this goal.
To create effective ecommerce site architecture, first, you’ve to chalk out a sound strategy on how you want your site to be structured, based on your business objectives. Apart from deciding on the items you want to sell; you need to choose the business model as well.
For instance, you can either sell the items on marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, etc. or only through your ecommerce store. It’s also possible to sell the items on both the platforms simultaneously. Whatever you choose, deciding on your ecommerce site architecture first ensures that nothing’s missed and your time saved in the development process later on. To do this, you can use GlooMaps – a free visual sitemap tool.
Decide on your site’s hierarchy
Put simply, your site’s hierarchy refers to the way you organize your information. Remember that a clear hierarchy not only helps users to browse your website but also search engines to understand the importance of your web pages. Here’re the things you need to consider when planning the hierarchy.
- Keep it logical and simple to help both web crawlers and your users
- Don’t keep too many main categories unless you really need them
- Maintain a balance in the number of subcategories within every main category
Make your URL structure follow your site’s hierarchy
URL structure plays a crucial role when it comes to creating the best architecture for ecommerce sites. Your URL structure should follow the same logic that you’ve applied to when developing the navigation hierarchy.
In the above image URL structure for the blog post “What Is Physiotherapy” would look like this:
Always use real words rather than symbols or IDs when creating your URL structure.
Get a good domain
It’s important to get a good domain name right from the beginning as that would save you from redoing anything later on. Try to get a custom domain as that would bring SEO benefits and make your ecommerce store instantly recognizable. There’re lots of domain name registrars available out there so be sure to go with a reputable one like Domain.com, for example.
Stick to the 3-click maximum rule
This is an unofficial rule among UX and UI developers and suggests that every subpage of your website should be reached within a maximum of three clicks from your homepage. Take a look at the below image.
Remember that if your ecommerce site architecture takes lots of clicks to get to a subpage from the homepage, it could leave a real adverse impact on both SEO and the user experience.
Internal links not only let users navigate your website but also in spreading link juice and establishing the information hierarchy.
Though internal linking directly contributes to creating well-integrated ecommerce site architecture, you shouldn’t make it complicated. Basically, each of your web pages should’ve some links “from” and some links “to” another page. It’d help the search engines understand the importance of each page and how they can get there. Take a look at the below model that’s commonly used.
While multiple internal links on a single page are completely fine for SEO, you’ve to make sure that it looks natural.
If you’ve got a broad range of pages and categories or complicated site architecture, it’s always advisable to add breadcrumbs. They help your visitors better understand their present position. It also helps Google bots to understand your site’s hierarchy in a better way. In the below image, the URLs highlighted in yellow are breadcrumbs trails.
There’re three types of breadcrumbs like the following ones.
- Attribute-based breadcrumbs: Perfectly-suited for ecommerce websites, these explain the relationship among products to help visitors find a new approach.
- Location-based breadcrumbs: These highlight a page’s position within the website hierarchy, making it possible for a user to visit similar pages.
Here’s an image that would help you understand both of these clearly.
History-based breadcrumbs: These display the path that has been taken by a user to any web page. However, they aren’t widely used as users can use the browser back button to perform the same job.
The use of a breadcrumb trail entirely depends on the way your site hierarchy is designed, it can only act as an additional feature, not as a replacement of a conventional menu.
Assign parent pages
When it comes to creating the best architecture for ecommerce sites, you should consciously add parent pages when publishing content.
In the above example, how the “Services” page highlights the services on offer and points to child pages which offer more detail on each of them. If you don’t assign any parent category to your content, by default, they’ll be assigned to your homepage. This could lead to a flat website architecture where a single homepage holds too many pages underneath it.
It would create difficulties for your visitors in finding what they’re looking for and for the search engines in determining which of those pages are most important.
Add an XML sitemap
For search engines to be able to conveniently find your site’s most important pages and to understand when they’re last updated, consider creating an XML sitemap. It makes your ecommerce site architecture less confusing, so that your pages of being found, crawled, as well as, indexed increases. Take a look at the below image to understand how a sitemap simplifies a site architecture for search engines.
Here, a search engine can easily find all the nine pages in the sitemap by visiting the XML sitemap file only.
Core PHP or Magento – Which one should you go with?
Though both of these can be used to develop an ecommerce website, we’d always suggest you to choose Magento over core PHP and there’re reasons behind it. In the context of ecommerce, core PHP is quite popular for letting the developers create fast loading websites. But as the owner of the website, you can enjoy a comprehensive range of benefits by having it built using Magento. Click To TweetLet’s take a quick at the key benefits offered by it.
- Comes with lots of SEO features
- Offers flexible, scalable, and customizable solutions
- Maintains the standards of responsive web design
- Offers security and reliability
- Integrates easily with third-party modules and add-ons
Keeping all the above benefits in mind, it’d be safe to say that regardless of the size of your ecommerce business, Magento is the solution you should prefer over any other technology.
How you Can Design an Ecommerce Website Like Amazon?
Did you know that Amazon had a brand value of almost 316 billion USD as of 2019? We’ve reviewed the giant’s key website design elements that helped it in becoming unstoppable. A robust ecommerce site architecture that comprises of speed, scalability, and security
- An efficient, convenient, and easy to navigate web design based on the latest trends
- A solid development strategy that encompasses the use of trusted and reliable hosting providers and high-end technologies
- Implementation of an all-inclusive SEO strategy
You can design your ecommerce website based on these parameters and modify them according to your business needs.
5 Amazing Ecommerce Website Design Examples
When it comes to designing an ecommerce website, many website administrators don’t consider the latest ecommerce trendswhich are related directly to driving more sales. Here, we’ve handpicked ten ecommerce websites with impeccable design to help you get some inspiration.
A perfect example of how a perfect blend of clean design and simplicity can result in a great ecommerce website. It makes the somewhat dull and boring process of purchasing a pair of spectacles memorable.
See how the Danish website has come up with rich and nicely designed visuals to entice any chocolate lover.
The zoom on hover feature together with the high-resolution quality of the imageries makes this website a must-watch if you’re planning to design a top-notch fashion ecommerce store.
A great example of how a blend of fonts and color schemes can be used to convey a website’s message successfully.
See how a smaller number of words with big bold pictures can enhance the design quotient of a website.
In addition to implementing the strategies we mentioned above, you can also check your competitors’ ecommerce site architecture to tweak yours. Finally, regardless of the strategy for creating the best site architecture, be sure to keep it as SIMPLE as possible. Prioritize the real users’ convenience to navigate around your ecommerce website.