Best Practices: Site categories

Site categories are meant to help you create a mind map for your people to intuitively find what they're looking for when browsing sites or content. There is no one-size-fits-all model since each organization is different in structure, content and culture. To give you an idea of the variety, below are three different sets of site categories for three different organizations. Much of this is driven by the type of sites and content that get created. 

A good starting point for creating and aligning site categories is to input them into a spreadsheet and run the grouping by a few users to see if the alignment makes sense. Once your program has matured a bit, it might be good to run a few user groups through browsing exercises to see how they look for information. It’s easy to create new categories and realign sites and content, so make adjustments as feedback and content dictates. 

Site categories are normally left to Site owners to decide since they should best organize their content and how their colleagues think about it. It might make sense to have some standards for similar sites, but this also may halt people from creating more intuitive categories.

When you assemble your final best practices, consider the popularity of certain departments or teams e.g., HR or Sales. These may want to have their own site categories.


Company #1 site categories. This is a medium sized, non-profit company that's always testing out new intranet configurations. They conduct operations across several countries. 

  • Country
  • Department
  • Fun
  • General
  • Location
  • Product
  • Team
  • Test
  • Uncategorized

Company #2 site categories. This is a larger organization made up of multiple companies.

  • <Company> Business Partner
  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion
  • Employee Communications
  • Engineering
  • Facilities
  • Get Help (Intranet Resources)
  • Groups/Clubs
  • Human Resources
  • Information Technology
  • Marketing
  • Operations
  • Policies
  • Projects
  • Resources and Tools
  • Sales
  • Security
  • Uncategorized

Company #3 site categories. This is a smaller company with a focus on company culture. They have three offices located throughout the US.

  • Culture
  • Department
  • Location
  • Mandatory
  • Sales
  • Marketing
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