I’ve just overhauled the menu structure of my blog. It’s taken me days and I’m so annoyed I didn’t get it right from the start. But it’s been worth it. My site looks cleaner, it’s easier for me to use and my traffic has jumped by a quarter.
If you’re new to the blogging game, save yourself the stress and time by getting it right from the start. (Click here for more tips on getting started).
As I’ve learnt the hard way it’s important to keep your menus to a minimum for three reasons:
- It’s more user friendly. A clean site is easier to navigate.
- It’s more engaging. Splitting your site into micro menus directs your reader to fewer posts, whereas if you use less menus your reader will spot more stories, and may well click around your site more.
- It’s easier for you. Working with menu after menu and sub menu is confusing. Using fewer menus is simpler and quicker for you.
- It boosts SEO. Adding in drop downs and sub menus dilutes your ‘SEO juice’ and makes it harder for search engines to understand the structure of your site. Consequently if your blog structure is complicated, you won’t feature as high in the rankings.
Now here’s how to get started:
- Consider all your subjects. If someone asked you to describe your blog, what would you say? What’s it all about? For me The Expater is about parenting, beauty, health, wellbeing, relationships, life and travel, with a special focus on Chile as well as my personal stories and practical blogging guides. It also features careers, insurance, cultural etiquette, style tips and motivational tips.
- Order these subjects into imaginary folders. Organise each category into an imaginary folder based on your reader. To make it clearer, do this on paper, creating note cards and spreading them out into groups on the floor. For example, I could group most of my sections into lifestyle. Then I’d have travel, Chile and blogging. It can be tricky to consider where each category boundary lies, and sure, some may overlap but the idea is to narrow your selection down. Think about what your different audiences will be interested in. So for example I have people living in or travelling to Chile, I have expat women from all over the globe, and I have fellow bloggers. Of course some of my readers fall into all categories, but hopefully this gives you an idea of the grouping I’ve gone for.
- Now hopefully you have three or four categories, you can add these to an ‘about me‘, as well as a ‘contact‘ page. In total you’ll have a maximum of six choices for your reader to navigate on the homepage and a lovely, clean site.
It can be tempting to create category after category, to add in menus, drop down menus and pages, but you’re just confusing your reader (and yourself).
If you’re worried about losing all structure and feel that your posts are getting lost in one big ‘lifestyle soup’, then fear not – you can use tags to guide your reader. I’ll guide you through tags in another post soon.
Of course your blog will develop over time and you may have to make a few tweaks, but getting your menu structure clear from the start will help keep you focused as a writer. I’ve gone from about ten menus with over fifty drop down sub menus to a much clearer menu structure.
I’ve even made a few more changes today, removing my categories of beauty, health and parenting and putting them under my bigger lifestyle category.
I’m going to follow this post up with a more practical ‘how to’ guide on creating the menus, categories, pages and tags. But I hope this helps in the meantime.
Are you new to blogging? Feel free to leave me a comment or ask me a question by using the form below.