A Scenic Tour of the Online World

Good Information Architecture for Content Marketing

Friday, January 27th, 2012

We often see clients organize their website content to match their org chart – silos of information that make perfect sense to the internal audience, but probably aren’t optimally organized from your audience’s perspective.

If, for example you sell medical information systems products and services, you might be tempted to list your x-ray-related goods in one area, your lab-specimen items another, and your medical equipment in a third.

But if you sell to different audience segments – say, small practices, larger clinics, and hospitals/medical centers, you’d be better off organizing your site around their needs. Yes, you should probably still have products pages for each product line, but those are silos, and they shouldn’t be featured as prominently as links and landing pages focused on individual audience segments, particularly on your home page.

Continuing with our example, the home page should feature portals for each audience segment, and each audience segment should have its own landing page. (Which should be keyword optimized.) The landing pages should feature links to the 3 different product “classes” mentioned above – but those should show only the products of interest to this audience segment.

You’ll wind up duplicating listings in these segment-specific site sections, but if you’re using a CMS (content management system) and it’s been configured properly, maintaining these kinds of overlapping categories is easy.

A well-configured CMS should also make it easy to cross link between, say, client listings, case studies and products/services. It’s doubtful that any one site visitor is going to be interested in all of your case studies, but she probably will be interested in whichever services are highlighted the case studies she digs deeper into.

Presenting your content vertically and horizontally makes it easier for your audience to find the information they’re looking for, and gives you a better chance of keeping them on the site long enough to understand the value you provide.

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