Pages: Build pages like a boss

Professional-grade pages balance content needs with a site's structural hierarchy.

Beyond a typical website’s homepage are its “internal” pages. Internal pages make up the framework of a site, organized in a hierarchical structure of parent and child pages that is represented in the site’s navigation menus. This makes pages ideal for relatively static content like “About,” “Our Initiatives” or “Get Involved.”

The internal pages of your website provide in-depth information about a particular topic or story. They may also act as containers for more dynamic content, like posts used for news, events or people profiles.

Planning your site’s pages

As you’re mapping out your website and adding new pages, consider these important features of each page:

  1. Location: Consider where the page appears in the site architecture. Top-level pages appear in the main navigation; child pages are listed in the sub-navigation on the side. List pages in a logical order, such as by chronology or importance, or in alphabetical order. It may help to create an outline of your site to test before adding pages.
  2. Title: Give pages descriptive and specific titles that include keywords your site’s visitors — as well as search engines — will recognize. Keep in mind that visitor’s may not see a page’s parent, especially if they’re viewing your site on a mobile device, so you can’t rely on a parent’s title to provide context. For example, if your group offers multiple programs, a page titled “Degree Requirements” doesn’t identify which program’s requirements are listed. A better title might be “Degree Requirements: MS in Computer Science.”
    Consider: Will users understand what a page is about if they arrive to it directly from a Google search on a mobile phone (while patting their head and rubbing their belly)?
  3. Content: Content consists of the information — including text, images and links — on a page. Consider your objectives, and focus on one clear message or group of related messages per page. Create blocks of content that guide your visitor’s attention through the page. You can accomplish this using styles like subheadings and bullet points or using a page builder such as Tailor to create more visual layouts.
  4. Singularity: Avoid repeating the same content on multiple pages of your site, or duplicating content from other websites. Instead, designate one page to provide the full details about a certain topic, and use links to send visitors to those details.

Deciding how much content to include

Effective internal pages have one clear message or group of related messages. If page has child pages, it may provide an introduction to all of the content in that section; as you drill down to child pages, the content and message get more specific.

Find the right balance when separating content onto different pages. Long pages can be overwhelming, but many separate pages can require unnecessary clicking or cause visitors to miss important information.