Mind Mapping & Internal Link Equity

Bill Slawski recently made a post about using mind mapping to think of types of people who would be interested in a site and types of content one would want to create to appeal to them.

Effective navigation acts as a visual cue and guides people through your site. If your site was rendered without graphics or CSS would people still be able to understand what your site was about? Today I spoke with the owner of Saffron Marigold. While the site has been featured on HGTV and in the NYT it is still only converting to a portion of its potential because the top level navigation consists of about, products, policies, shopping bag, my account. That navigation could not possibly be any more generic.

Effective navigation is descriptive and places the most important / common / profitable needs first.

I just looked at my navigation, and it wrongfully assumes the reader already knows what search engine optimization is. This site would be more effective and profitable if there was a page linked to about What is SEO?, or some other general introductory post.

Published: May 30, 2007 by Aaron Wall in publishing & media


A Reader
June 8, 2007 - 2:29pm


Beautifully put, the same concept you are describing in this post is used in web2.0 website designs.

Ashish Roy
May 30, 2007 - 8:10am

Hi Aaron,

Perhaps, you could give the navigation under the "archives" section on the blog home (and all other pages) from just below the Consulting Services image. Also, your catchphrase: a new chapter every day could now become new chapers everyday. You are coming out regularly with more posts than 1 a day.


David Wilson
May 30, 2007 - 1:53pm


Yes the navigation for Saffron Marigold is very generic. Can you provide an example of a site that you think has a really good navigation?


May 30, 2007 - 2:40pm

I disagree to an extent about your Saffron example. True, the navigation links aren't particularly descriptive, but you only have so much room for a descriptive navigation bar, right? How do you get around that?

Also, Ashish pointed out your "a new chapter every day..." How important is a site's catchphrase? How do you come up with a good one since it's an essential extension of the site/blogger/brand?

May 30, 2007 - 3:56pm

Hi Aaron,

Can you please provide an example of an e-commerce shopping site that you feel has a good navigation structure (from a usability and conversion standpoint)?


May 30, 2007 - 5:31pm

Like I told Sandip at the San Antonio airport last December; I want to see him launch an affiliate program -- that, along with the navigational and base infrastructure fixes, will really create something special.

May 30, 2007 - 5:53pm

Great tips... I see I have some changes to make to my site. One good example that I kept thinking about when you were outlining your changes was Bruce Clay. Mr. Bruce Clay the respected SEO expert truly outlines his website in the fashion that you have described featuring the learning and methodology behind SEO and PPC and other services he provides.

With regards to the Saffron Marigold website I would agree with Aaron. They are missing out on many sales simply by not providing the visitor with a direction or path. In most cases a visitor will review areas like best sellers, what’s new and sale items. These are attention grabbers and they keep the visitor shopping and interested especially if they do not know exactly what they need.

A few good e-commerce examples I have come across are plazarugs.com and Ditalia.com these guys utilize both a top navigation and left side. With the top they feature there key products and on the left they have more detail categories for the exact shopper. A great example is my favorite Italian food site Ditalia.com who keeps what is most appealing and important to the customer in front of them at all times. You will notice that on the very top and bottom of the page is where the customer service and policies are. To me when I visit Ditaila I am looking for the perfect cheese or the right wine typical not too concerned with policies but if needed they are there.

May 30, 2007 - 10:44pm

This site would be more effective and profitable if there was a page linked to about What is SEO?

my answer is no! because that's not what this site is about, or at least what it became.

May 31, 2007 - 1:37pm

You're right about navigation having to satisfy usability and business criteria at the same time.
In the case of your blog - you already have a prominent "glossary" section, which has the description of what SEO is.

In terms of what SEO Book is - you have you rsales letter and you also have your "about" section for those who want to know who you are.

So I'd say you're covered on the information side of things.

It's a different story if you feel you need to tell people what your blog has become. IMHO - your blog has evolved a lot and is no longer just about SEO or your book - so for that you might need to add something...

May 31, 2007 - 3:09pm

Odd that Bill Slawski hasn't got a single mindmap displayed in his post about using mindmaps. I use mindmaps every day for planning all my blogging/ writing/ publishing projects (see Tubetorial.com for videocasts on how to use mindmaps). Provided you don't over do it, it's a very productive tool.

Re Saffron Marigold. Sometimes generic simplicity works. It's still a very attractive site.

Bill Slawski
May 31, 2007 - 9:05pm

I was tempted to create a mindmap for the post, Raj.

But the link I provided on mindmaps has a few outstanding examples. I thought that would be enough. :)

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