Looking for Examples of Really Really Big Content Sites

21 replies
I am working on a site of mine and it's going to be more complex than your typical website.

I am trying to look at big sites--really big sites--to see how they structure everything for comparison. More specifically, big content sites that have content spanning multiple topics.

The ones I have been able to think of so far are:

about.com (which uses an URL structure completely different than my plan)
ezinearticles.com (and other article sites)

Others?

Right now, I am thinking about an URL structure like this:

Code:
http://www.mydomain.dom/category/subcategory/topic/subtopic/subsubtopic/
Since a single article could span multiple categories (or subcategories or whatever), I'm considering using the lengthier URLs for listing content and then, when people go to read a specific article, they are taken to an URL like this:

Code:
http://www.mydomain.dom/growing-money-trees-from-seed-coins.html
That way, each article has its own unique URL with appropriate keywords and there would be no duplicated content.

That's my thinking anyway. I'm hoping to take a look at a few more big sites to see how they manage things. This URL structure is kind of scarily long, but it makes logical sense and, I think, will be easier for readers to follow. Plus, in some cases, I can have a shorter URL that redirects.

For example, I might have:

Code:
http://www.subsubtopic.dom/
Redirect to:

Code:
http://www.mydomain.dom/category/subcategory/topic/subtopic/subsubtopic/
That way, I can promote a shorter URL that will be easier to remember, while still having an organized URL structure.

Anyway, what suggestions do you have for large sites that I can take a look at?
#big #content #examples #sites
  • Profile picture of the author Michael Mayo
    Originally Posted by Dan C. Rinnert View Post

    I am working on a site of mine and it's going to be more complex than your typical website.

    I am trying to look at big sites--really big sites--to see how they structure everything for comparison. More specifically, big content sites that have content spanning multiple topics.

    The ones I have been able to think of so far are:

    about.com (which uses an URL structure completely different than my plan)
    ezinearticles.com (and other article sites)

    Others?

    Right now, I am thinking about an URL structure like this:

    Code:
    http://www.mydomain.dom/category/subcategory/topic/subtopic/subsubtopic/
    Since a single article could span multiple categories (or subcategories or whatever), I'm considering using the lengthier URLs for listing content and then, when people go to read a specific article, they are taken to an URL like this:

    Code:
    http://www.mydomain.dom/growing-money-trees-from-seed-coins.html
    That way, each article has its own unique URL with appropriate keywords and there would be no duplicated content.

    That's my thinking anyway. I'm hoping to take a look at a few more big sites to see how they manage things. This URL structure is kind of scarily long, but it makes logical sense and, I think, will be easier for readers to follow. Plus, in some cases, I can have a shorter URL that redirects.

    For example, I might have:

    Code:
    http://www.subsubtopic.dom/
    Redirect to:

    Code:
    http://www.mydomain.dom/category/subcategory/topic/subtopic/subsubtopic/
    That way, I can promote a shorter URL that will be easier to remember, while still having an organized URL structure.

    Anyway, what suggestions do you have for large sites that I can take a look at?
    Dan, Just Do It! Why wouldn't you just do it?

    My stats show it works.
    Seriously, It all depends on the keyword demographics of your site. Some
    niches reply better than others depending on what you have to offer and
    also if the niche has a market spending money.

    Kinda hard to give you a better answer with out knowing more details?
    You know how to contact me if you need to be confused more...lol


    Hey, You asked and I replied,
    Have a Great Day!
    Michael
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    • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
      Originally Posted by Michael Mayo View Post

      Dan, Just Do It! Why wouldn't you just do it?
      It's for one of my core websites, so I want to do a bit of research before I put the work into implementing it.

      Actually, it's an URL structure I came up with many years ago, so I'm kind of in verification mode now, making sure it's still good before actual implementation, because I'm not afraid to do things a different way if it would be better.

      My stats show it works.
      Seriously, It all depends on the keyword demographics of your site. Some
      niches reply better than others depending on what you have to offer and
      also if the niche has a market spending money.
      It's a big niche with a lot of competition. It's pretty much going back to where I started, except, when I first started, monetization options were more limited than they are now. I don't even think AdSense was around then.

      Kinda hard to give you a better answer with out knowing more details?
      You know how to contact me if you need to be confused more...lol
      I know. I've been spreading my questions out on this site in different places so that fewer people will be able to figure out what I'm up to.
      Signature

      Dan's content is irregularly read by handfuls of people. Join the elite few by reading his blog: dcrBlogs.com, following him on Twitter: dcrTweets.com or reading his fiction: dcrWrites.com but NOT by Clicking Here!

      Dan also writes content for hire, but you can't afford him anyway.
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      • Profile picture of the author GameVoid
        Suite101 and AssociatedContent are both places with a huge amount of category spanning content articles.

        (Sorry I can't post the links, not post old enough yet_.
        Signature
        Professional Writing Services Content creation, article rewriting, sales pages, marketing materials and much more.
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  • Profile picture of the author christopherNV
    Banned
    [DELETED]
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  • Profile picture of the author jacktackett
    Dan,
    what CMS system are you using if any? And what structures does it support. Trying to go against a CMS' structure can be painful.

    Also, you didnt say how you'll handle the redirects so I'd recommend using 300 type redirects and just having the content in one place, instead of any meta refresh or php coding. Just a suggestion.

    Finally - your structure sounds fine to me, the devil is of course in the details.

    Good luck!
    --Jack
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    Mega Monster WSO for KimW http://ow.ly/4JdHm


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    • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
      Originally Posted by jacktackett View Post

      what CMS system are you using if any? And what structures does it support. Trying to go against a CMS' structure can be painful.
      My own.

      Also, you didnt say how you'll handle the redirects so I'd recommend using 300 type redirects and just having the content in one place, instead of any meta refresh or php coding. Just a suggestion.
      Within the site, there wouldn't be any redirects. The pages on the long URLs would link directly to the articles on the shorter URLs.

      Outside the site, if I use shorter domain names to promote certain portions of the site that have the long URLs, then I would use 301 redirects.
      Signature

      Dan's content is irregularly read by handfuls of people. Join the elite few by reading his blog: dcrBlogs.com, following him on Twitter: dcrTweets.com or reading his fiction: dcrWrites.com but NOT by Clicking Here!

      Dan also writes content for hire, but you can't afford him anyway.
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      • Profile picture of the author JayXtreme
        Originally Posted by Dan C. Rinnert View Post

        My own.
        Care to expand on this, D?.... don't be such a tease!

        You can PM me or DM me a link for more info on Twitter if you like
        Signature

        Bare Murkage.........

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  • Profile picture of the author Mokai
    askmen.com? or do you mean article directory
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    • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
      Originally Posted by Mokai View Post

      askmen.com? or do you mean article directory
      Any big content site. Doesn't really matter what type, just so long as they have a lot of content in a lot of categories.
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      Dan's content is irregularly read by handfuls of people. Join the elite few by reading his blog: dcrBlogs.com, following him on Twitter: dcrTweets.com or reading his fiction: dcrWrites.com but NOT by Clicking Here!

      Dan also writes content for hire, but you can't afford him anyway.
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    • Profile picture of the author butters
      Wikipedia, any encyclopedia website. Universities and schools, yahoo answers or the equivalent, major stores like amazon, science sites, news sites. Just a few suggestions .
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  • Profile picture of the author ~kev~
    Your looking for big sites? Here are a few that I visit - eweek.com, yahoo, news.yahoo.com, foxnews, bbc, news.bbc.co.uk, wikipedia.org, discovery.com, noaa.gov, cdc.gov, who.int, tomshardware,,,,,,.

    Those should be some good examples.
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  • Profile picture of the author AlexLewis
    your best teacher is to find similar sites like ezine or related to your niche and plainly jot down how they are worikng things out.

    since they may already have put in a lot of effort in tweaking their site for best performance !
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    • Profile picture of the author butters
      Another one which no one mentioned and probably one of the best examples out there would be eHow.com
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  • Profile picture of the author MisterMunch
    I would recommend removing as much as possible from the domain name.

    I have an understanding that the higher percentage of the URL is the keyword, the more effective it is. category/subcategory will take up a lot of space and not give any help.

    Look at squidoo or wikipedia.
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  • Profile picture of the author JayXtreme
    Some great answers here...

    Thanks for asking the question, Dan. It helped me, too.
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    Bare Murkage.........

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  • Profile picture of the author pube12
    CNN.com is HEAVY into SEO. Heard many interviews with their seo webmaster. Def worth checking them out to see some best practices for large sites.
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  • Profile picture of the author jlmkt
    eBay
    Some of the big download sites like cnet, zdnet and tucows
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  • Profile picture of the author agc
    I built a mega site several years ago... my FIRST caution to you would be that Google will only take 1 page per second (refer to their robots.txt spec for details) for indexing MAX, but in practice the number is MUCH lower no matter what you do.

    Using the single "domain", I was only ever able to get a small fraction of the total pages indexed.

    My suggestion to you would be the following:

    PHP Code:
    http://category-slug.domain.com/sub-category-slug/article-slug 
    This has the effect of adding additional front doors, one per category.

    The catch? You'll need a a (virtual) server w/ a dedicated IP so you can route the *.domain.com to your server and let apache drop the traffic on the "default" site. I think there's a free DNS out there that will map the wildcard host A record, but I forget which one it is. You really do NOT want to deal with your own BIND server if you can avoid it.

    Enjoy.
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  • Profile picture of the author talewins
    If you are trying to impress search engines most of the above is good advice. If you are wanting to keep your own lines from tangling then the following insights might be of use to you.
    #1, a page doesn't have to be in the same directory as the navigation. For example, I have 5,178 pages on one of my domains that I launched back in 98 with one page. As I kept adding new pages I kept sub-dividing the topics cars, old cars, sports cars, and finding mechanics for cars. Rather than actually moving the pages to the new directory it belonged in I would simply add the old address to the new navigation bar. As the site spurted over the 1,000 pages mark I also learned that I could have the same page on 2 or 3 navigation bars without hurting a thing.

    #2 I got where I hated typing out long urls so I worked out a way to keep everything short. .com/cancer/ became .com/c/ and healthyliving became .com/hl/ One myth that I've believed for years says that you need the name of your topic in the name - or url. I've never found this to be true for me as far as ranking went. The rule I've found to be true is that if I get the top spot, or hover in the top 10 then I stay there with that page's url and if I drop it to make a better name, I never move myself out of my ranking. However, it begins to look like changes are in the wind, probably because people now believe those myths. There is no excuse for not doing it right the first time, but if you do it wrong and still hit top spots, don't go correcting yourself; that's my advice.

    One of the latest myths that I have fallen for is that your links on a blog get spidered as quickly as the post. That is definitely not true; the post yes, the page being linked to from the post, no.

    The question I would suggest asking yourself is: Do you even want a big site?
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    • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
      Originally Posted by talewins View Post

      #2 I got where I hated typing out long urls so I worked out a way to keep everything short. .com/cancer/ became .com/c/ and healthyliving became .com/hl/
      The downside of that is that it's not easy for people to guess the URLs, and, for my site, I want them to be able to figure out relatively easily what the URL is for the thing they are looking for.

      There will be on-site navigation, of course, but some people might prefer to jump straight to the content they are looking for.

      The question I would suggest asking yourself is: Do you even want a big site?
      Yes. The only reason I don't now is because I let myself get caught up in the niche mini-site craze, instead of sticking with my initial plan.
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      Dan's content is irregularly read by handfuls of people. Join the elite few by reading his blog: dcrBlogs.com, following him on Twitter: dcrTweets.com or reading his fiction: dcrWrites.com but NOT by Clicking Here!

      Dan also writes content for hire, but you can't afford him anyway.
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