Creating a Site Navigation Structure

Created by Will Rogers, Modified on Tue, 06 Sep 2022 at 11:26 AM by Will Rogers

This article is going to walk through part technology tutorial and part strategy development.  We're going to break this down into steps to help you build a great site navigation strategy.  


Step 1: Brainstorm

Start by taking the time the white board all of the potential pages you might have on your site.  Here are some thoughts to help get you started:

  • What pages are necessary?
  • What pages help answer the major questions people ask you?
  • What pages present the information about your business/community?
  • What pages help people know you better?
  • What internal resource pages do you need?

And let's add to this exercise by thinking through what common pages you may want to use.

  • Standard System Pages (ignore this for the moment, focus on the page type)
    • Home Page
    • Events
    • Blog
    • Content Directory
    • Groups Directory
    • Member Directory
    • Organization Directory
    • Courses
    • Job Directory
    • Store
    • Stories
    • Categories 
    • Membership Overview
    • Search Page
    • News Feed
    • Login
  • Custom Pages
    • Home Page
    • About Page
    • Welcome Pages
    • Explanation Pages
    • FAQ Page
    • How To Pages
    • Policy Pages

Our recommendation, not that you're asking!  But hey, here's what we recommend to launch with:

  • Home Page
  • About Page
  • Join/Membership Page
  • Member Directory
  • Groups
  • Content


Step 2: Prioritize

You might also call this voting.  Take a moment to look through all of the things you've written up that could POTENTIALLY be on your site and take a moment to note/vote on which are your highest priority.  Our goal right now is to get you setup and rolling, not build the entire perfect universe.  So let's start with your most needed pages.  You can always add more later.  


Step 3: Organize

Now it's time to organize your pages.  Think through the following questions to categorize out your key pages.

  • Main Header Navigation
    • What are your main navigation heading titles?  Remember, this is your main header bar navigation.  
    • Do you want to keep this clean with just a few links?  
    • Do you want to have drop downs with a title and items within (ex: Resources as the header and then Blog, Content Library, and Courses)?  If so, what are your heading and what falls under each heading?
    • What are the pages you want accessible from your main navigation?  You can create other links to certain pages - don't feel you need to have everything in your header navigation.
  • Backend Pages
    • What pages are unlinked and used more for internal purposes?
    • What pages do you share with people upon certain stages of their engagement?
    • What pages help you answer and guide people for specific questions?  

This should now help you organize the look of your heading navigation.  


Step 4: Layout

Now it's time to sketch out a mock of a blank page and note what's in the header and what's in the footer.  Items can be in one or the other or they could be in both.  Your hidden/unlinked items don't need to be in this sketch.  So for example, you may have Home, How it Works, Blog, and Join in your main navigation (up top) and then About, Policy, Contact Us, and Join in your footer (at the bottom).  And just to keep track, you have Categories, Member Directory, and Welcome pages unlinked for now.


Step 5: Build

Finally!  It's taken a little work, but you are going to be thankful you took the time to work through all of this to create the perfect site navigation for your community.  Side note... remember you can always change things so our goal here is to get started.  It's okay if it doesn't feel perfect to you yet.  

To start, access Mission Control and look for the Page Builder on the left or Manage Menu Navigation in Mission Control.  They both take you to the same place.



Here you see your directory of pages view where you can manage current pages and add new pages.  To manage current pages, hover over the page - here you can move the page location, edit the page, clone the page, or delete the page.  

PLEASE NOTE - once you delete a custom page it's really gone... so make sure you want to delete something first!  



You can choose to add a page directly here or create a drop down folder.  

Drop down folders are just like what we've all used for years in any file structure from Microsoft or Apple.  You create a file group and then you can add pages beneath.  You will want to use a drop down folder for instances where you may want a drop down menu from your header navigation or simply to keep you administrative pages better organized.  

To add a page, select the Add Page drop down and select the page type you want.  You can choose between a custom page, a link, or a system page.  System pages are pre-designed pages aggregating automated content from your resources.  



Next you can give the page a title, select page image, set if the page is in the header/footer/both, designate as a landing page, note where the page is located (under which folder), page URL, page access (public or membership tier), and some optional SEO text.  

For custom pages you will go next to the page in draft mode where you can begin building.  For system pages, click publish and you're all done.  



You can see there's a lot to think through when designing a site navigation but it's not that difficult.  The trick... take your time and work through this process.  You will get frustrated if you try to start right here in the site navigation builder without having a plan.  You will be a site design pro in no time. 

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