Information architecture made easy with 3 example sitemaps

Sep 23 by Russell Dean

The aspect that information architecture tackles is your website’s user-friendliness. This is the simplest way to put it. By smartly organizing the information that a user has to go through in order to get to what he wants, you improve the chances of his visit turning into a conversion.

Think of the website’s information architecture like a roadmap that uses categories to separate content. This design allows the user to skip information that he doesn’t need, and to reach the information that he does need.

The information architecture plan should be built based on a simple sitemap, which you can then adjust according to your objectives and to your audience’s preferences. You can also work on improving its SEO features in the meantime.

1. Audience

Your audience’s actions should be your main information architecture research base. You need to study your audience’s behavior on the company’s website. Learn what steps they take before converting, and lessen those steps in order to improve the user experience.

What may seem like a logical information display to you, might turn out to be impractical to the user. So you should keep an eye on stats, and use data analysis heavily at this stage. The main goal is finding the sweet spot between the information architecture and your audience’s preferences.

2. Objectives

As you outline your information strategy plan, don’t forget to once in a while check if what you’re presenting is still in line with your primary business objectives.

3. SEO features

Although SEO friendliness is a website’s most important feature when it comes to driving traffic, you have to learn how to concentrate your efforts. If you decide to invest time and resources into SEO-orientated content, make sure that it fits into your overall information architecture plan. The best strategy in optimizing pages is to start with one or two keyword-dense landing pages, and then decide if you should create more.


Sitemap Examples

1. Service providers

These types of websites, which promote and offer time and skills for a price, will usually have the same sitemap pattern. These websites are designed for professional services such as consulting, bookkeeping, construction work, and many others. These businesses usually have $/hour pricing.

  • Objectives: Create leads through contact forms;
  • Audience: Decide if the provider is trustworthy, find pricing rates, view previously completed projects, and get in touch with the provider;
  • SEO: Use keywords that are relevant to the company’s niche.

2. Activity providers

This category includes hotels, restaurants, bars, gyms, or any other business that basically sells you the possibility of enjoying an activity, in a pre-established venue.

  • Objectives: Turn the user’s website visit into a reservation or a booking;
  • Audience: Find details relevant to the desired activities, make a reservation, review pricing, get directions or find out opening and closing time.
  • SEO: Use keywords that are relevant to the company’s niche.

3. Product providers

The most popular platforms for product providers are e-commerce sites, which usually use categories, sub-categories, and filters, in order to help the user get to the information needed easily. In the example below, the main categories will divide preferences into women’s, men’s, and children’s shoes.

Each sub-category will then be relevant to the main category. The filter is used to give the user the possibility of further-more narrowing the search results, by using criteria such as size and pricing.

  • Objectives: Sell products, gain loyal clients;
  • Audience: Find products, browse options, make a purchase;
  • SEO: Use keywords that are relevant to the company’s niche, with a focus on popular items.

By starting with a simple sitemap, you’ll be able to outline a user-friendly information architecture that’s going to make your content more accessible, thus improving your conversion rate.