No visitor to your site should be able to work out your internal structure

If a visitor to your site is able to take one look at it and be able to determine your internal organizational structure, then your site has failed.

This is because the ability to derive that structure is the tip of the iceberg that gives away one of the critical traps in the way of delivering a successful online marketing effort: it shows that your attempts at information architecture are focused internally and not externally.

Here’s a clue: visitors to your site don’t care about how your organisation is organised.  They really don’t care.

They have come to your site to achieve their task, whatever it is: if your site is laid out for the convenience of internal senior decision makers then it makes it far more likely that your visitors cannot find what they need.  And if they cannot find what they need then they will not be able to perform their tasks.

And so they will leave, and likely never come back.

Again you need to approach the whole online marketing exercise from the outside and pose the question “what do my visitors want to achieve on my site?” – and resist the call of the MD or CEO who tells you that the site needs to mirror the orgchart.

Put it this way: how many times have you, personally returned to a site that has annoyed you and left you unable to complete the task you went there to achieve?

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