Planning your church's page hierarchy doesn't have to be daunting task. Creating, arranging, deleting, re-creating and re-arranging pages could take a lot of time. We want you to save time, so here's a major time-saving tip: Plan your work, then work your plan.
What is page hierarchy?
Page hierarchy is the arrangement and ordering of pages as parents, children, or siblings in relation to other pages. This page hierarchy will serve as the menu on your website. In this article we are not talking about the actual content of each page, but rather the titles and arrangement of those titles in relation to one another. Here's a visual example:
Step 1: List all of your pages
The first step is to list all of the pages you think you will need. Keep your website's purpose in mind: (1) inform and invite visitors, and (2) engage and equip members. If your site has an additional purpose, keep that in mind as well.
Now start writing or typing, in no specific order. For example:
Step 2: Merge pages when possible
The goal is not to have as many pages as you can, but to provide to visitors easy navigation. Visitors are short on time, help them find exactly what they're looking for without burying it beneath many other pages. Could you merge "Service Times" and "Directions" and make it "Service Times & Directions"? Does your "Children's Ministry" need it's own page? If you anticipate the page only having a paragraph, perhaps you'l want to merge it with your other ministry, "College Group" and just call the page "Ministries". For our example, we'll keep them separate.
Step 3: Arrange the pages in a hierarchy
Now look at your list and arranging the pages in order and hierarchy. The most basic arrangement is to have all pages as siblings—no children, no parents. If your pages can't be grouped together into a theme or category, and they are few enough (5-7), you may want to keep all items as siblings. If you can group some pages together, you will want to have at least one parent/children relationship. Simply rearrange, and indent/outdent your list until you feel it makes sense. You also may want to add an item to serve as a parent. Here's an example using our list above:
In the above example you can see that we created a few new parent pages in order to group the children together. While these parent pages can be separate pages in and of themselves, we recommend using them merely as placeholders that link to the first child in the list. This is typically what website visitors expect. When you add your pages to the menu in your SolaSites dashboard, you will be able to decide if the parent page is a placeholder linking to the first child, or if it is actually a page with content. But we mention it now so that you can decide if you need to write content for those pages or not.
Final Tip: Keep it simple, get started, and enjoy the process
You can always change things later. Website content is very important, but you'll always be able to log in and change the content later. We recommend only giving content that meet your purposes. Are you informing potential visitors with information they actually are looking for? Are you inviting users so that they believe you actually want people to visit? Are you giving resources that edify and equip your members? Stick to these things, and the rest can potentially be removed.
As you work through all of these things, seek to do so with an eye on loving God and others. God glorifying and people edifying content. This can give you joy as you create your page hierarchy.