Website anatomy is more than just the layout and design. It’s what makes your website function as an effective tool for generating revenue for your business.
Website design is essential, but without good content and SEO strategies in place, you’re wasting time and money on a site that may not be optimised to meet your needs.
In this blog post, we will discuss the anatomy of a website from its conception all the way through development, so you can have peace of mind that everything has been taken care of.
Let’s take this from the top and unravel it one by one, and I’m sure by the end of my blog, you’ll have an in-depth understanding of every nook and cranny on a website.
What is the anatomy of a website?
Website anatomy is much like a human body. You can break it down into different sections, each consisting of skin, muscle and bone:
- A Site Identity Area for the site logo and introduction title
- A header section with a logo, navigation bar (menu), and contact button (optional)
- A Hero section with H1 or any heading tags, a compelling graphic/media along with a clear call-to-action button
- Main content area
- A footer section with contact and social details
Now let’s dissect the website even further and learn in more detail about a website’s skin, muscle, and bones.
The first area of a website consists of the site identity. It’s the information that you see on a browser tab and in search engine results.
Site Identity Icon
The site identity icon is the logo that you can see on the browser tabs. As you can in the screenshot below that, I have my logo as my site identity icon.
Many web designers and developers forget about these small custom details that can further enhance your website’s branding.
For optimal site identity icon use your logo with the dimension 512px X 512px.
In HTML, this icon is encased in <link> tag
<link rel="icon" href="https://yourwebsite.com/yourlogo.png">
Site Identity Title
It is an introduction title to your website that lets people know what you do or who you are in one sentence.
You must have a captivating title, as this text is the only thing visitors will see on your search results. Therefore, having a compelling title will motivate visitors to click and give your business a chance it deserves.
From an SEO perspective, this is a perfect opportunity to tell Google what your page’s about and the keywords you want it ranking for.
In HTML, the site title is encased in <title> tag
<title> Check my awesome website title </title>
It is your website’s address, typically in the form of “domain.com”. While you can have any domain name you want a bit, I would suggest you get a domain name that is easy to say, catchy and accurately represents you or your business.
If you see my domain name is “sparshgambhir.com”, while it may not be easy to say or catchy, it accurately represents me as it is my name.
With billions of people on the internet, it’s not surprising that many desirable domain names are already taken. Don’t wait – purchase a great domain name today. Get yourself a domain from GoDaddy.
Now that the top-most elements are covered let’s move to the actual website.
Important Terms: Above the fold and Below the Fold
The fold of the website is best thought about as a newspaper that’s been folded in half. Above the fold, you’ll see what initially catches your eye and below it is the content waiting to be read after an initial quick skim through.
The above-the-fold area of web pages contains important information about their company that visitors see as soon as they land. Therefore, these areas need to have an engaging design for customers to stay interested enough to scroll down below the fold to find more info.
Elements you should have above the fold:
- Big attractive heading
- A visually pleasing graphic
- A visible call-to-action button
The website header section is where the logo and navigation usually resides. It’s typically a three-line bar across the top of your site that includes your menu, search box, or whatever links you want to be easily accessible.
A good rule of thumb with web design is: keep it simple. Too many buttons or navigation links will confuse visitors.
Common elements in a header section:
- Navigation Menu
- Dropdown Menu
- Mega Menu
- Mobile Menu
- Search Bar
- Social Icons
Related: Create header section in Adobe XD
The logo is a clear representation of the company or website. It should be memorable and recognisable if used in marketing materials, business cards, etc.
It’s crucial to follow website conventions when placing logos on a page. For example, a logo should be placed high up, generally in the left corner, to have maximum visibility across screens while not taking up too much space. It’s also best if you can link your logo back home.
Navigation menus are vital for users to find what they’re looking for on your website. Navigation links can either be visible at all times or hidden until a visitor scrolls down the page a bit, revealing them in an overlay that appears when you hover over a link.
Following the website conventions, your site’s navigation should be easy to find and use and provide enough variety so that it doesn’t overwhelm visitors. The number of pages you include in the first level is a personal preference, with anywhere from 5-7 generally being recommended as an ideal amount for most users.
Dropdown menus are a navigation tool that appears when you click on the arrow icon next to an item. This allows for large lists of links to be organised and accessed without cluttering up your website’s page while ensuring visitors can find what they’re looking for more quickly.
Some research suggests that dropdown menus should not be used to lead to click fatigue and user missing most links within the dropdowns. While this was true some years back, now users are accustomed to dropdown menus.
However, it is advised that all the valuable and important links should be visible upfront on the navigation, not in the dropdown menu.
A mega menu can be a helpful tool when navigating complicated and lengthy websites. This type of navigation is triggered by hovering over specific links in the main nav bar, which then causes all other related links to appear below it on an overlay dropdown that’s organised into different categories and subcategories similar to what you would see with a sitemap.
Mobile Menu (Hamburger menu)
Mobile menus are a visual navigation tool that appears when you click on the menu icon on your smartphone screen. This allows for large lists of links to be organised and accessed without cluttering up your website’s page while ensuring visitors can find what they’re looking for more quickly.
The navigation on mobile screens can be troublesome. With less space to work with, it’s difficult for designers to create a visually appealing interface and easy to use. For this reason, many websites employ a menu system to keep the links organised while still taking up as little of the screen real estate as possible.
The search bar is a physical or digital input field that helps people find what they are looking for on the website.
There are many different ways to implement a search tool. One of the most popular ones is including it in the header section of your site with other navigation links.
Having a search bar on a website is helpful, but not every website needs a search bar. On a website where there are many products or blog posts, it makes perfect sense to have a search bar.
The social icons in the header section are a way to connect with your audience on other platforms. It is also important to have these icons because they can help boost traffic and engagement rates for your website.
Many people use social media as their primary form of communication, so including links to them is a great idea. You can keep your visitors up-to-date and also connect with them on a more personal level by linking to it!
Note: It is optional to have social icons in the header section. You can have them throughout the content, in the footer or the sidebar.
Your website’s hero section is the first impression of your brand and product. If you want to make a great first impression, be sure that your design has an iconic look with bold colors or high-contrast images.
A good place for inspiration? Brands like Apple do it well. They use simple imagery as their hero section on their website’s homepage.
It used to be a hero image before, where you place a big banner on top of your webpage. But now, it has switched to a hero section where you have an attractive slider, image or video. In addition to visuals, now you can put a big, bold heading and a clear call-to-action button.
The hero section is only used on landing pages or the homepage.
Common elements in a hero section:
- Visuals (images/videos)
- call-to-action button
Headings are an essential component of design. They act as a title for the content below them and should be set consistently to make accessibility easy on all users. Headlines can range from largest (H1) to smallest (H6), but they’re always bigger or bolder than standard paragraph text, so you’ll know what’s coming up next when navigating your favourite website.
To decipher the correct heading level, there are a few things you should know. H1 is reserved for your website’s title, and H2-H6 can be used to establish blocks of text with different levels of importance or hierarchy.
In HTML, headings are encased in H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, or H6 tags. It is advised that you only use one H1 tag per webpage.
A carousel is a moving element on the website that allows for multiple contents. Carousel typically shows many images, which will transition from one to another over time with more or less success depending on how interesting and engaging they are.
In a new study, researchers found that sliders might make it hard for you to get visitors to convert into customers. Sometimes people skip right past them and do not click on them.
But, there seems to have been some increase in interest lately. As a result, people are developing better strategies around using this type of interactive tool effectively while keeping its design attractive enough not to turn away potential viewers who want an easy way out without much effort needed from themselves.
A good example is amazon.com; they are utilising slider right at the top of their homepage. Nonetheless, I do not prefer sliders as they can hinder your website’s loading time.
Call to action (CTA)
A call to action is a button, section, line of text, or other content that compels people to take specific actions.
Be sure to include a call to action throughout your content. The goal is to inform readers and encourage them to take action of some sort in regards to the topic at hand.
This could be as simple as contacting you, subscribing to email updates or following you on social media. Including contact information and a form makes it easy for your visitors to contact you or your business.
The content area is the white space in which your website’s text and images are shown. It can be found between the header, footer or sidebar and the side of your browser window (or mobile screen).
Common elements in the content area:
You can have any web elements in your content area. But I have outlined some of the common elements that you can put in there.
- Visuals (image/video)
- Music embeds
- Contact form
- Social icons
- and anything you may want on the webpage
Buttons are the key ingredient to any site. So whether you’re a seasoned web designer or just starting, your buttons must look good and have an appropriate function for what they do!
Buttons can be styled in many ways, from simple text links to animated icons with hover effects like ‘learn more. Pick something that works best while still looking great on different devices- laptops, tablets and smartphones.
And remember: if people don’t know where they should click next when scrolling through your website, then their attention will start waning fast!
Contact forms are a great way of maintaining contact with website visitors, leading to higher conversions. Therefore, you must have an easy-to-use form for people to fill out if they want information from your company or products.
A sidebar is a vertical column located either on the right or left side of the content area. A sidebar is a great place to feature advertisements, links to other content or call-to-action. That’s because it stands out from the rest of your website and its primary purpose is usually just one thing (rather than acting as an accompaniment). However, keep in mind that having too many sidebars can make for some pretty confusing navigation.
Some people prefer a sidebar layout when it comes to website design, while others enjoy the simplicity of not having one. It’s personal preference and what will work best for your site is what matters most.
Common elements in the sidebar:
- Contact information
- Author information (for sidebars in blogs)
- Important links to your website
- Links to social media
- A search bar
- Sliders (for blog posts)
- and many other elements that you may want
A footer is the bottom line of a website. The same thing as the header, but at the end instead of the top.
Related: Create footer section in Adobe XD
Common elements in the footer:
- Social Icons
- Important Links
A copyright is a legal notice that also provides information about the ownership of intellectual property. A typical one looks like © [Year] [Site Name].
A sitemap is like a map for your website. It shows all of your website’s pages, videos and files in a straightforward way to make it easier for search engines like Google or Bing to find things faster. It also provides valuable information to Google, such as when it was last updated – so they can crawl through more efficiently!
Your website is an integral part of your marketing strategy, and it’s crucial to understand how the elements work together.
I hope this blog post has helped you learn about some new web elements, such as the header section, hero section, sidebar, content area, and footer.
Did I miss something you were curious about? Let me know in the comments below.