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Best Practice: Improve Your Site Structure (MT4)

Have you spent countless hours tracking down articles on your MindTouch site? This could be symptomatic of a poorly designed site structure. Site structure enhancements can improve search engine ranking and overall site accessibility, as customers and end users have an easier time navigating your site.

Common issues

Following is a list of common issues that are known to adversely impact site structure and performance:

  • Unclassified pages – All pages should be classified. One exception to this rule is blank pages, which can be used as a Contact Us or About Us page. To resolve, classify the article type for all unclassified pages within the classification manager.
  • Categories under guides – Categories are designed to be a top-level navigation page. While categories can fall directly under categories, the MindTouch user interface will NOT display categories under guides. Similarly, it is best practice to keep category and guide templates separate and not merge them for a given page.
  • Articles under categories – Any topic, how-to, reference or custom article that sits directly under a category. To resolve, move those articles under a Guide.
  • Nested guides – Guides underneath guides. There are multiple options to resolving this issue, including:
    • Manually merging guides.
    • Moving the child guide under a separate sub hierarchy.
    • Reclassifying the child guide to either a topic, a how-to, or a reference.
  • Nested articles – Articles (including topics, how-tos and references) under  articles. One exception to this rule is when a topic falls under another topic (nested topics). See Nested topics below.
  • Portfolio pages – Will soon be deprecated from MindTouch TCS, MindTouch 4 and MindTouch Responsive. You are encouraged to replace all portfolio pages with category pages with simple view (see Category view below) from the classification manager.
  • Combination category, guide template on a single page – Adversely impacts site structure in a similar capacity to (1) Categories under guides and (2) Nested guides.
  • Multiple article classifications on a page – Pages should include one, and only one article classification.  If multiple article classification exist on a page, remove those that don't belong.  This can be done from the classification manager.

  • Nested topics – This common issue increases the number of clicks a customer or user might encounter while seeking his or her desired article. This can result in unnecessary confusion or frustration and is generally discouraged. Topics should exist within guides.
  • Category view – Categories can be set to either simple view or detailed view (includes summary). We recommend that the lowest-level category be set to detailed view and all other categories set to simple view.
  • Page limits under guides – Guide pages that include many articles can be a challenge to navigate. Consider keeping the number of articles in guides to a manageable level.
  • Articles under a deleted page – You can delete a page without deleting its associated children.  While this is permitted within your MindTouch instance, it isn't a best practice.  The operation can result in:
    • missing articles - articles without parents are effectively detached from the site structure, and are therefore difficult to access via search, hierarchy drill-down, pagination, bread crumbs, and other conventional methods for accessing content.  These pages become dependent upon links from other articles or external sources.  As those links are removed from webpages, articles become increasingly difficult to access.
    • poor user experience - users who are dependent upon these articles will have an increasingly difficult time trying to access desired content.