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How Website Hierarchy Impacts Customer Experience

How Website Hierarchy Impacts Customer Experience

The website is one of the most essential tools for a business. Websites offer customers information about services and products while also acting as an integral part of customer experience. 

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What Is Website Hierarchy?

In terms of web design, website hierarchy is a way to organize information. There are several layers of organization within the overall framework of a website. The homepage acts as an informational ‘hub’ with content including branding and general information for the site. Site architecture consists of different pages that contain further content to aid navigation. 

Importance Of Website Hierarchy

A website’s architecture is important because it affects the overall customer experience. It can make or break how people feel about your site and even your company as a whole.

The homepage is the key page for an easy-to-navigate website. It should be organized logically, with content that makes sense to users. This way, visitors will find what they’re looking for, no matter how specific their search is. Users don’t want to spend time on a website that’s disorganized or difficult to navigate around. A sitemap generator can help you outline the path users should take when visiting your site.

Website hierarchy can be broken down into three different layers: 

  • The homepage: This is the first page of a website that users see when they click on the site’s URL or type in the information for their bookmark. The home page commonly includes branding and general information about the company or person who owns the site. 
  • The internal pages: This is the main content that surrounds the homepage. It contains informational pages about products, services, and projects.
  • Supplemental pages: Lower-level pages encompass advertising, privacy policies, and disclaimers.

Website Hierarchy’s Role In Customer Experience

Here’s how the structure of websites impacts customer experience:

  • Navigation Is Easier

Above all, websites with meaningful web hierarchies make it easier for users to navigate through the site. Easy navigation is a crucial aspect of user experience. For instance, a good site architecture allows users to quickly find the information they need and navigate from one page to another. 

  • Information Is More Accessible

As mentioned, visitors are more likely to find the information they’re looking for on websites with a clear web hierarchy. It affects how easy it is for customers to use a site and how informative it is. For instance, if users can easily access pages with information about prices or other details regarding items being sold, this can increase conversion and customer satisfaction.

  • Users Can Make Better-Informed Decisions

When customers have easy access to information, they can make informed decisions. Sites with a clear website hierarchy allow customers to easily compare products and services and read reviews, ultimately increasing customer satisfaction.

  • User Engagement Is Increased

Customers with satisfying experiences are more likely to return to your site. Engaging customers involves ensuring that users have a good experience with your website every time they visit. 

Web hierarchy is vital in helping you determine what content you should put on your website. It includes the company’s logo, social media buttons, company contact information, and so on. It’s fundamental to web design, but it’s also important for improving website functionality and increasing customer engagement.

The Impact Of Poor Website Hierarchy

In contrast, poor organization on websites can spell disaster for a business. Here are some of the ways poor web hierarchy can negatively affect your company’s customer experience: 

  • Reduces Customer Satisfaction

Visitors to a site with an unclear web hierarchy may struggle to find the information they need. It can lead to customers becoming frustrated and potentially calling your company or looking for the relevant information on another website. An unorganized website will also contribute towards a negative perception of your business, resulting in users turning towards competitors that offer a better customer experience.

  • Distracts Customers from Completing Transactions

Poor web hierarchy can also lead to customers becoming distracted and disengaged from their tasks. It’s because users may become frustrated and lose interest in the products and services they were viewing on your website, ultimately resulting in lost sales or even lost customers.

  • Causes Content Confusion

When content is organized in unclear ways, customers are more likely to become confused when distinguishing between different pieces of information. For instance, if prices are simply listed on a page with no other details visible, customers could mistakenly assume they’re free when in fact, they aren’t. Such confusion can negatively affect your company’s sales, especially if customers see what they believe to be a bargain and choose not to come back.

  • Lower Conversion Rates

Poor website hierarchy results in users struggling to find the information they’re looking for. It can result in customers becoming frustrated and leaving your site, which means you miss out on potential sales. The more people leave your site, the lower your conversion rate will become, hindering growth and negatively impacting the business as a whole.

Tips For Creating A Good Hierarchy

A good hierarchy is vital to creating an effective website. These tips can make it easier to create a successful site architecture: 

  • Use descriptive titles: Titles should be descriptive and intuitive enough that users can guess where they’ll end up if they click on the link. For example, use “Home” instead of “Main” or “Welcome.”
  • Keep it simple: Limit the number of directories on your website to around six. Anything above this can make it difficult for users to find what they’re looking for.
  • Create breadcrumb navigation: Breadcrumbs allow users to see where they currently are in your site’s hierarchy. It can help them understand where they’re located and why.
  • Maximize your internal linking: Make it easy for users to navigate your site by ensuring that internal links are easily accessible. The more you can offer, the more satisfied your customers will be with their experience.
  • Add relevant metadata: Metadata is additional information about a website’s content. When structured correctly, metadata can help search engines index your website differently.
  • Include a site map: A site map allows users to understand the structure of your website and how everything fits together. If you have many pages, it’s wise to include a sitemap so that users can find what they’re looking for without hassle.
  • Add social media links: Social media platforms play a vital role in today’s marketing strategies, so it makes sense to add sharing opportunities for these sites alongside your web hierarchy. It’ll allow users to interact with different parts of your business across the internet. 

Conclusion

From eCommerce sites to online journals, each type has its unique structure. In this way, website hierarchy plays a crucial role in helping you understand how different types of websites are organized and the essential functions of each page.

In short, understanding website hierarchy can have a massive impact on your approach to creating a user-friendly site and improving the customer experience online.

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About the author

Tom

Tom

Tom is a gizmo-savvy guy, who has a tendency to get pulled into the nitty gritty details of technology. He attended UT Austin, where he studied Information Science. He’s married and has three kids, one dog and 2 cats. With a large family, he still finds time to share tips and tricks on phones, tablets, wearables and more. You won’t see Tom anywhere without his ANC headphones and the latest smartphone. Oh, and he happens to be an Android guy, who also has a deep appreciation for iOS.