27th May 2015
5 Tips For Better Navigation On Your Website
Whilst there is currently a lot of focus in SEO circles on the importance of website content and mobile optimisation as signals, navigation is a critical element of the website, that Google inspects and judges, that should not be overlooked. Consider these five tips that will help with website performance.
1. Easy Path To Every Page
The website needs to be designed so that it is easy to locate any page. Always aim to design your navigation so that any page is only a couple of clicks away to find. You can group your pages in a single navigation bar. You can have further descriptive headings and lists of relevant pages underneath each heading.
If you have multiple pages grouped under one heading or sub headings then use mega drop down menus to visually help your users navigate the site. You can incorporate images and graphics into your mega drop downs to clarify the navigation, increase interest and to point users in the right direction. Here is a good example of a mega drop down menu on an electrical appliance online shop. By selecting cooking>Gas cooker> the user is two clicks away from a listing of all gas cooker products in a site that has thousands of electrical appliances:
Good example of multiple product grouping in a mega drop down menu
2. Put Menu In A Clear Place
Place the menu where it is expected or where it is up-front and centre stage. The harder you make usability with surprise positions for menus, the less inclined every visitor will be to explore. Something to be wary of is having a page that you think looks great, designed innovatively but has a less than obvious functionality. Never presume people will be willing to explore your site, in fact – presume the opposite – make it easy and attractive to click on a menu option.
3. Don’t Overpopulate The Menu
Don’t put too many headings in the menu or it will be too much information for a user to comfortably navigate and it looks messy. This is a relatively common mistake. We’ve all landed on a site where there is a menu column on the left side that has about 30 headings – each in small writing – even sites where the menu is trailing below the fold. It’s not just that this makes for an over complex user-journey – it’s a big ‘turn-off’ visually.
4. Plan User Journey To Sale
Make sure the order of the options is correct in the menu or you might be in danger of giving the visitor a bad user journey through the site, or leading them away from a sale. Need an example of how to lead the eye? Take a look at Varn’s website. The Menu headings are in this order: About Us > What We Do > Our Clients > Our Blog > Contact Us > Free Website Audit.
Translate this journey this way: This is What We Do>We Have Proof We Have Happy Clients> Here Is Free Advice To Follow> Get in Touch And Get Something Good For Free!
We give our website visitors reasons to explore the website and contact us in the headings.
5. Use Links To Help Google
Use links, not buttons. This is so Google can crawl the words. Be obvious but sometimes you can be in danger of being too general – for instance – is there a more precise or engaging way to say ‘our products’. Our products doesn’t narrow things down for Google. It’s worth thinking about.
Navigation is about helping a user to get to their desired destination on your website as effortlessly as possible. The less clutter and confusion the better.
If you want help designing your user journey and your website navigation map, contact the team at Varn.