Step 1: Implement an intuitive site map

Structure your site so that users can quickly locate the content they need.

Site map

Your current site organisation may be in need of a revamp to fulfil the needs of your users. This needn’t be a daunting task. Draw out your site’s current structure (excel, powerpoint or viseo work well) and consider whether it fits user needs. Use the following questions to conduct a site map health check:

  •  Do you have too many sections? Between three and seven top level sections is recommended for an optimum user experience.
  • Make sure each section has a clear objective or call to action and cluster related information into one section.

Top-tip: If you have news or an announcement, you may not need to create a new page but can instead add to an existing page or consider using Imperial College news, events, or a blog, to update your users.

  • Are the links between sections intuitive? Do they reflect the most common journey a visitor will take through your site?
  • Are the most popular sections of your site (you may wish to use Google Analytics to identify them) easily accessible from your homepage?
  • Do multiple pages repeat similar information – can they be combined?
  • Are pages now out of date or redundant – can they be deleted?

Now organise your new sitemap into a tree structure using the following principles:

  • Map your site to fit your audience’s needs, not your own filing system.
  • Aim to limit your structure to no more than 3 layers deep from the main homepage.

Top-tip: work with your Faculty Web Officer to refine and finalise your site map. They can support you in getting feedback from users on your proposed structure.

Site structure example


Use your new site structure to plan out your links between sections. It may be helpful to consider one branch of your site at a time.

Site structure

Rules to follow:

  • Each page in the top of each branch (parent) should link to all its subpages (children), and the other way around – this should happen automatically as you input content into the new CMS.
  • Your homepage must link to relevant department/faculty/division that is above it.
  • Plan out the useful links to feature on your website – again think about the user journey. Where would they need to go next?  Don’t forget pages outside your own section that may be relevant

Top-tip: Because you’re linking from pages that are closely related to each other content-wise, you’re increasing your site’s possibility to rank high on a google search. You’re helping the search engine out by showing it what’s related and what isn’t.

Once you've organised your new site structure you can proceed to Step 2.