Organizational folders vs long web pages question

My web site incorporates what I refer to as ‘major topics’ and ‘minor topics’. These are basically just categories and subcategories. For instance, a major topic may be ‘Hand Tools’. Its subcategories are chisels, saws, carving gouges and so on.

The way I currently have my pages organized is to place the major topics into their own folders and ditto with the minor topics. This works fine, but has two downsides:

  1. The …/minor/… text appears in the link and;
  2. The number of pages in the minor folder is beginning to concern me as the site grows with content.

I do not like the ‘minor’ appearing in the title, but I can live with it. I do not know how to prevent the folder title from appearing in the link, but this may not be possible to overcome. However, I am not certain and at the end of the day may not be that important.

In some pages I have opted to have all the subcategories ‘listed’ at the top of the major page allowing the user to just click on a subcategory link which scrolls them down to that topic. An arrow at the end of the topic zooms the user back to the top. This works very well and eliminates the need to have all of the extra pages that these subcategories would require.

That said, my questions are these:

  1. Is it best practice to use several pages? or
  2. Is it best to reduce the number of pages and have long, content-laden pages?

I have not noticed that my site is slow loading, but that may not be true for someone else.


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Personally I prefer a number of shorter pages, than one very long one. But it depends on the size of each individual item. If they are all quite small, then do put them all on one page.

How are you organising your site and pages, are you using a database?
If not, it should be considered if the number of pages is growing at any significant rate.
This will enable a single php file to handle potentially hundreds of similar pages with varied content by simply filling its tags with data pulled from the database. It makes a big site much easier to manage.

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Thank you for your post.

Someone once referred to this website as a ‘resource’ and I suppose that title has some merit in that I am covering in some detail all of my tools and experience as a woodworker. That in itself is not going to cause any world tremors as I will always consider myself to be a novice woodworker because woodworking IMHO is too vast a subject to ever master. That said, the content I am continually adding is going to increase substantially so I really want to get off on the right foot before I get too far down the wrong path.

As I sit on the fence: I like the convenience of having all related content on a single page because of the reduced housekeeping and page clutter. However, I also like the idea of utilizing a separate page for each subcategory because as content increases it does not have the effect of making for some very long pages.

As to your database question: No, I am not using a database. I am not aware of how to do that, but will take a look at that. My Contact and resulting Thank You pages are php based, but that is the extent of my php knowledge.

Thanks again. I sincerely appreciate your comments and time.

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I don’t know how many pages your site has, but if there are a fair number, taking the time to learn some basic php and sql will save you a lot of html maintenance in the long run.

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I think as long as the site navigation is good it won’t make much difference to visitors if they go to a new page or to an area of a long page. Though the number of HTTP requests and bandwidth might have an effect at the extremes.

And you are wise to think ahead about how you decide to organize things as it will affect your work load.

When I first started, every page was a separate file. Doable for a few pages but it quickly became a maintenance nightmare editing every file and FTP uploading them every time I added a new page.

“includes” helped a lot. Similar to moving common CSS and JavaScript files out of the pages to eliminate redundant code, moving common header, footer, navigation into their own files helped a lot too. This let me only need to FTP upload a new page without needing to edit and re-upload existing files.

Nowadays most sites use “templates” that have content pulled from a database. (eg. CMS apps) but you don’t need to do it this way. You could code the content into pages and upload them.

Anyway, long pages vs. many pages.
I guess this decision requires you to use your common sense.
I have seen sites that have “one paragraph → next page” articles. Personally I don’t care for that and can’t help but think it’s being done to reduce bounce rate or increase ad impressions more that to give a good user experience.

So I think if it would make sense to have “hammers and chisels” on the same page, do so. If it feels like they aren’t related closely enough, give them separate pages.

And if you think you will have many “smaller” pages, consider using a CMS, as SamA74 says, keeping content in a database will save you work in the long run.



As I write, I have David Powers ‘PHP Solutions’ (3rd Ed) at my fingertips. Chapter Ten is all about MySql / MariaDB databases, so down this path I will go. I did not plan on this, but I have no doubt I will be much wiser when I get through this chapter.

Thanks for knocking me off the fence.

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Thank you so much for your in-depth response to my query.

It never ceases to amaze me at the incredible help I have always received from responders such as yourself and SamA74. You guys are simply incredible.

As I just noted to SamA74 I will take a hard look at using the PHP MySql database and hopefully take my meager web skills to a new level. I am totally aware of the power and functionality of PHP, so I know I am making a good decision even though this was not on my to-do list.

I sincerely appreciate your time and expertise.

Pizza’s on the way.



Sorry, but I you mentioned '… moving common header, footer, navigation into their own files. '. I get the navigation css styling because I have put my nav styling into its own style sheet which has helped tremendously and reduced the redundancy to a single style sheet.

But how do you move all of the html data into its own file?? Can you elaborate on that, please? Or did I misread your comments?

I have taken great pains to insure that all of my header data - , and so on are completely consistent from page to page. That said, if I ever decide to change my font style I will have to change each and every one of my web pages which is already a huge pain. So having all of this redundant data in one file would be great to know.

Thanks again.

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As an over simplified example
a page

$page_title = "Hammers"; 
include head_section.php; 


$head_section = <<<EOHS 

echo $head_section;
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Got it! Thank you very much for your help.

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