When designing a website, it’s important to understand that website architecture has to be set up in respect to web usability. It may seem like the two are very similar but they are actually quite different in how they are applied to a web development project. Website architecture is like the framework for a house whereas a site’s usability is everything within that framework. On the broader scale, architecture is like a subset of the subject of usability.

So how do you start the process of setting up a website architecture that delivers a good user experience? You start with your goals. What are you trying to achieve with your website? Are you planning to build readership by publishing authoritative content? Are you attempting to turn visitors into valuable leads? Finding the answer to these questions will help you focus on how you should structure your website.

The next step is to study your audience. You should know who your audience is by now if you’re taking the steps to build a website for your company. However, you need to think about why they would use your site and how they would use it. Create a scenario of what a targeted visitor would be doing on your site and try to figure out how you can fit your website’s goals into the visitor’s experience.

Then, you want to start doing research for your web content. What kind of information do you think your audience will want? Go out there and see what kinds of topics and content is gaining traction for your competitors. Make a list of topics and sub-topics that your audience really responds to. If you already have some content published, do an inventory to come up with a list you can refer to.

The final step is to start planning, creating and organizing content. If you have the budget, you can start creating content that you think people would really respond well to. But at this point, the real focus should be on planning your site architecture. An easy way to do this is to use index cards and label them with the topic/function of the page and a short description to help you identify its purpose.

Once you’ve set up the index cards, you can start grouping related and relevant content together. You also want to figure out how all the pages will connect to each other to set up your site’s architecture. You should also use a visual illustration to figure out how content will be laid out on your typical page.

This quick guide will help you set up website architecture in respect to web usability. It’s a simple yet effective process for helping you focus on your website’s goals and defining every aspect of your site’s structure. By using the index cards and illustrations, your web developer should have a clear idea of what to do and where you want to go.