No page should be more than 3 clicks from the homepage

OK, this one straddles the line between Architecture and Content somewhat, but I’ve got it here because if your site structure is complicated or broken then it may take some help from your web developer to fix.

Every page on your website should be within three clicks of the homepage. Maximum.

Why? Firstly, users are pretty lazy (yes, you!) and we’ve been spoilt trained by search engines to expect instant, fast answers to questions. So, if I land on your website you’ve got a very small opportunity to get me from where I land to where you want me to be. Remember, everything we do has to either:

  1. Get people to our website.
  2. Get people on our website to do the thing we want them to do.

So, we don’t put our products all the way at the back of the shop and make people walk a long way to get them. Instead, we put our best, freshest, most colourful products at the front of the shop to entice the customer to make that first step (or click). We keep the distance between arrival and goal as short as possible. 

There’s a reason supermarkets have flowers and fruit and veg at the front and the men’s underpants near the back…

“Ah, this is a fresh shop! Everything here is fresh! I shall do well here”

Eddie Izzard

The second reason for keeping pages close to the homepage is the decreasing value of pages as they move further from the home page. I’ve managed to write almost 11K words on SEO without having to use the phrase I hate most in the SEO industry… Link Juice, but here we go…

You might remember “Link Juice” from our Dungeons and Dragons list of web terminology, but here’s a more complete definition: 

Link “Juice” is the magically, ethereal “something” that one page passes to another when it links to it. So, if page X is worth 100 Juice and links to page Y, page Y gets a portion of that “Juice” passed to it. Page Y links to Page Z but it has less juice than X, so passes on a smaller amount again to Z. 

When someone links to your website from theirs, more often than not they will link to your homepage. Your homepage therefore collects a lot of Juice (at least, hopefully, it does). Pages just one step away from the homepage are therefore viewed as important, pages two steps away less important, and so on and so forth.

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