Using our sitemap we can lay out the architecture of our new website. A couple key things to keep in mind:
- Simplicity wins in digital.
- No more than 5 -7 major sections should appear in the main navigation.
- Strive to keep drop-downs to a minimum.
- A Blog can become a site within a site using blog categories to keep the navigation clean.
Wait…what is a blog?
Originally coined as a phrase “web log” in the late 1990s, blogging has risen to prominence as a fundamental disruptive media technology. With the ever-ongoing ease of Content Management Systems (CMS) and easier and easier interfaces, blogs have become a powerful way for everyday people to publish content on the web and get their voice heard.
Why is this so?
With the fundamental laws we’ve seen of Moore’s Law (technology gets cheaper and faster) and Long Tail (an audience for everything), niche blogs are proving to be every bit as influential as traditional media outlets. Their power lies in their ability to attract a passionate audience by focusing on niche topics.
Say you’re into tech startups – TechCrunch.com would be the blog you’d follow on social media to stay in the loop and click thru to their posts. If you’re into Thai cooking, well there’s authoritative blogs on that as well.
Note: Technically speaking, blogs are no different than a website. It’s still just good old HTML that has been pushed out using some slick code. Whereas on a website it has “pages”, a blog has “posts”. To a search engine or a user, they look just the same. Bloggers publish their posts under different “categories” – think of them like file folders.
For example, TechCrunch might have a category on their blog called “Web Startups” – any blog post related to that would get filed under Web Startups to make it easy to search and organize all that blog’s content around that topic. Much like a file folder.
Many companies and causes are launched and gain notoriety through nontraditional blogging outlets like TechCrunch, Mashable, and The Huffington Post. Each of these digital properties has the ability to drive massive amounts of high-quality traffic and have made blogs the new frontier in public relations.
Back to the User Persona and empathy – companies who employ blogs to produce remarkable content for their target market in turn boost quality traffic from Google. Marketers can also approach blogs of a similar nature and offer to write a guest post or two (if their writing quality is superb) and in turn get links back to their website, which also drives more traffic.
We know from our SEO section, that getting links to your website is one of the most powerful ways to rise in the Search Engine Results Pages aka SERPS (and one of the most difficult tasks to do given the time intensity).
What blogging means for digital marketing:
- The main site can maintain a clean architecture by using Blog Categories to organize less important information that should not appear in the main navigation.
- Search engines love constantly updated websites – blogs fill this demand perfectly for Long Tail phrases and over time can pull in significant amounts of quality traffic as they earn links and a following.
- Over time, the blog can start to exert an influence within a specific audience and establish the brand as a thought-leader in the space.
Key takeaway: blogging has become the center of online marketing efforts for its ability to pull in good quality traffic through organic search results. Companies can maintain clean architecture on their websites and still cover a wide breadth of topics utilizing a blog format within the website’s sitemap. Over time the brand can establish itself as a thought leader in the space and exert influence.