Apr 13 2008

Organizing a Web-Site

Seth Godin had an interesting, brief post on organization. He finds that alphabetical order is not the best way to organize most things– he argues that relevance is a better measure of organization than arbitrary letter rankings.

I think that applies to sites as well. Most blogging platforms organize posts chronologically by default, but that’s a terrible way to organize information. If someone leaves and later returns, it will be virtually impossible for them to pick up where they left off. If you wanted to send an article you read yesterday to a friend, your only hope is to search through all the posts again. The only strength of chronological organization is that it’s relatively easy to tell when there’s an update.

Avinash at Occam’s Razor has a better approach: a site-map. He splits his articles into a few rational categories and then orders articles within those categories chronologically. That’s effective because it ties articles together in a logical way. If you liked his first article on web analytics, you can run down the list and find ten more in a row. Avinash’s site-map wisely includes dates. That, too, is effective because it helps readers quickly identify if there have been updates and where they can be found.

I like Superhero Nation’s organization– a combination of widgets and chronological ordering– but that clearly pales before a real map. If you look at the widget on the left labelled “Writing About Superheroes,” you can see that we’ve only included links to six articles there and then added a link to a map for our superhero writing articles. Widgets are a great start, but they will probably grow inadequate as you accumulate content. How many widget-links can you use before people’s eyes glaze over? Probably 20, at most. But we have 500 posts (including 120 quotes of the day and 60 articles on writing).

One response so far

One Response to “Organizing a Web-Site”

  1. Silvercaton 21 Apr 2011 at 8:44 am

    I think a lot of people get bogged down in staying organized. One of the reasons blogs are great is that at least if you’re meticulous about tagging (and maybe put a tag cloud) people can find what they want.

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