All websites are basically trying for an objective of some description. You are there to inform about a company and what it has to offer or a club and what its fixtures and news are. The third kind of website is one that both offers and sells you something. The carrot and the stick kind of website, this kind is the most prevalent on the web, the commercial website in some sort of form.
Making it clear to your users how your website works need to be the first priority once they have landed and started to read.
The basic information to enlighten your public of what kind they find where and how the website works is important and usually consists of your menu as well as your sidebar. These two items should be clear and unambiguous as this is the easiest way to convey to the visitor where everything is. It is your visitor center, as it were.
Any visitor center is only as good as the guide manning it. If you have a daffy no brainer who doesn’t know where to find the pen and paper, you are in major trouble. What you need is a well thought out, well documented menu as well as a well thought out, documented sidebar and an internal search tool.
It is no good having archives, which are listed as Feb 2009 article 210. No one knows what article 210 is. You need a name and a description which will clearly indicate what it is about. While you might know you published the article about the flower show in February no one else will. Group listings are a better way to go than months. In other words, if you wrote an article on planting bulbs in March you need to list it in the Planting section and maybe also in the bulb’s section. This way anyone will be able to find it easily.
Your internal search engine will be maintained at the same time as you write the article. The need for the search engine is to be able to find any articles about bulbs or planting or for that matter, the month to plant bulbs. Your key words are of prime importance for this and will also help with your Google search engine listings as they will obviously show you what is important as a listing item. In fact, by doing them, you will be doing a lot to find out how the search engine works.
All of these items will both help your site and make your visitors user experience so much the better.
I recently saw a sidebar listing archive that had been extremely well thought out. Not only did they have all the listings well categorized, but they also had thumbnail photos on the listings so that you had the visual image as well. It was top class and worked extremely well.
It told the customer what was there, where to find it and the easiest way to find it and get in contact with the website owner.