By Aimee Graeber • 10/03/2012
Do you know the difference between website architecture and website design?
Website architecture refers to the funnel that leads your customers from a page, to a point of interest, like a “buy now” button, or an email subscription form. It refers to the function of your website and its webpages. It does not refer to the colors on your website or your CSS stylesheet, but the actual structure of your website and its purpose.
Every page of your website should have intent. For example, before you “design” a page, create its structure. An article page includes a page title, URL, headline, subhead, body copy, and sometimes a photograph. Additional SEO elements include a meta title, a meta description and tags. These elements all contribute to the architecture of an article page.
Speaking of SEO, websites built with Google in mind attract visitors and convert them to new audience members. Your ability to capture traffic from search should be one of, if not your most important priorities. Structurally, sites that are true content marketing machines use keyword research to anchor their website architecture. Primary Keywords become Topic Pages and Secondary Keywords become Tag Pages. Keywords are targeted carefully and are used on a daily basis in headlines, subheads, body copy, URLs, meta data fields, free report titles and internal links.
Additionally, we’re talking about conversion architecture. Micro elements like Order-Forms-in-Editorial (OFIE’s) and Floaters convert website visitors into subscribers or and buyers. These elements of conversion architecture are built into the outline of the website and their funnels are defined beforehand.
- OFIE (Order form in editorial): An OFIE is an embedded subscription form that appears on web pages either to order a product or service, or more likely to sign up for an email newsletter.
- OFIN (Order form in navigation): These online order forms appear in the navigation panels of a website. The customer/end user fills them out to order a product or service or to sign up for an email newsletter.
- FLOATERS: Named a floater because it appears to float onto a webpage. This was a method created in order to fight back against pop-up blockers. While it may look like a pop-up, a floater does not open in a separate window and therefore cannot be blocked or banned.
- DISPLAY AD: An online advertisement that uses graphics. They are also called banners, skyscraper ads and rich media units. Publishers will sometimes use display ads to promote their free email newsletter.
- TEXT AD: An online advertisement block that uses text links, or text-based hyperlinks, without graphics. These are found within editorial content to sell a product or to obtain an email address.
- TEXT LINKS: Hypertext links in editorial or navigation that lead to a Rapid Conversion Landing Page. These are the best form of persistent conversion architecture because they are subtle, yet very effective ways to drive traffic to a Rapid Conversion Landing Page with the ultimate goal of increasing email database circulation.
A Mequoda website generally includes all of these elements of website architecture and helps to create a blueprint of your website business model. Defining website architecture will help you align your categories and articles with the products you have to sell. The alignment will keep you from straying away from your product line and keep editorial more focused.Discover how to design a user-friendly website when you download our FREE Website Homepage Ideas white paper.