By Jo Fraser, on Apr 19, 2019

How to organize your content and untangle your site’s navigation

Most of us use some type of map –– be it the Google or paper variety –– to navigate around unknown cities and places. Navigation helps us to get to where we need to go, and anyone who’s had their phone die on them in a new city knows how it feels to be completely lost.

What if you also felt like that when purchasing a pair of shoes on an e-commerce site, or when trying to book an online doctors appointment? Links don’t take you to the right place, the checkout process doesn’t feel quite right, and you’re starting to feel like the site might not be so trustworthy after all. It’s a feeling that anyone involved in site navigation or content modeling wants to avoid at all costs. And how do they do that? By having a foolproof content model from the get-go.

Pedro Carvalho, a solutions architect here at Contentful, says “content modeling really is the answer to life, the universe and everything” (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fans might appreciate that one). When it comes to Contentful, he’s right.

Your content model is your foundation. It’s how you master the navigation of a website with hundreds of pages, and hundreds more links, tags and content fragments. It comes from understanding what types of content you have, analyzing the components or modules, and defining how they all relate to each other.

Content trees, with their top-down, branching structure, were sufficient back in the day. A modern-day content operation requires a lot more. In the last decade, we’ve opened Pandora’s box (and set content creators free), and what we’re left with is an explosion of channels, content pieces, and users. Now, content is better organized in structured, granular fragments that link to each other like a complex graph. One which takes into account incoming links, tagging and content discovery.

In other words, we need a map –– a good one.

Fortunately, we can offer you a good place to start. This white paper will expand on a new way to approach organizing your content. In particular, we’ll look at:

  • Content geography in an omnichannel world
  • Incoming links, tagging and content discovery
  • The limitations on content types as tags
  • Content discovery within Contentful

You can download the free white paper here.

Jo Fraser

As managing editor of Contentful's blog, Jo is a power user of Contentful's product as well. She collaborates across our product and customer success teams to help editors and content creators find their way around Contentful and elevate the authoring experience.