This article outlines the basic MindTouch site structure.
Why should I optimize my structure?
Effective self-service dramatically increases your renewals and upsells by making it easier for your customers and employees to access, navigate and leverage your most valuable content. Adhering to the most up-to-date best practices regarding search engine optimization (SEO) allows you to control the digital conversation surrounding your products/services. An easy-to-follow content structure gives your customers and employees faster access to knowledge, ultimately increasing brand awareness and inevitably increasing profitability.
The MindTouch framework
The goal of the MindTouch frameswork is to provide an effective and efficient navigational experience that mimics the way our brain stores information for your customers and employees. This will make for an intuitive site that promotes self-service, reduces support time, creates product experts, and drastically shortens sales cycles. Since it is important that you understand the overall conceptual layout of a MindTouch site and that you can frame your MindTouch content within the site’s hierarchy, we outline three separate use cases to demonstrate appropriate mapping techniques.
The basic MindTouch structure
MindTouch offers both a hierarchical structure (expanding downward and outward) and a taxonomy structure (relationship mapping). The hierarchy is used to organize content for navigation, while MindTouch simultaneously builds content relationships, helping narrow information searches dramatically.
The term "knowledge tree" is used within this article as a soft analogy to the association between a tree and your site's structure, where the trunk would act as the top of your hierarchy and the branches act as categories/guides that inevitably lead to your leaves, aka your articles (content).
Breaking down the hierarchy
There are four (4) structural levels to a MindTouch site:
Your success homepage is the top of your hierarchy and consists of a category page. This homepage is the starting point of your navigation and houses your different subordinate information segments (categories).
Categories organize contents for specific divisions such as personas, products, services, languages, etc. Categories can contain other categories and guides.
Example: Ford has a Car category, a Truck category and a Van category living on the homepage.
Guides live inside categories and house articles. Guides act as directories for information on specific subjects such as persona types, product systems, individual services, and specific languages. Guides can only contain articles.
Example: Ford has Commercial Trucks, Large Trucks and Small Recreational Trucks in its Truck category.
Articles contained inside guides can either be topics, how-tos or references depending on the specific information you want to relate to your readers. Topics are unique in that they can contain how-tos or references as sub-pages.
Example: Ford has an article titled How to choose the appropriate work truck in their Commercial Trucks guide.
A hierarchy in action
If you can visualize it, you can build it . . . the following is an example of Ford's MindTouch structure:
The above chart shows the basic downward and outward structure of the MindTouch hierarchy while sticking to four (4) levels of content (Home Page (Category) > Category > Guide > Article). This tree-like structure can have as many branches as your success center needs, and MindTouch will intuitively connect and link the information as your knowledge tree grows.
Customizing the hierarchy
The structuring system is designed to adapt to your company's content and branding efforts. Although we strongly advise against deviating from the recommended structures as not to compromise your SEO, there is some flexibility in accommodating the individual needs of your knowledge path.
Read our best practice article on creating a checklist to ensure quality content.