How to Improve Your Website’s Navigation
Have you ever visited a website, clicked on a few links within the site, and ended up lost with no idea how to get back to where you were or find the information you need? Poor website navigation can be a major problem. If visitors to your website need to break out the ol’ sea charts, compass, and astrolabe to navigate the murky waters of your digital presence, it might be time to re-evaluate your website’s layout.
A major component of solid website design is proper website navigation. The structure of a website’s navigation is one of the major influencing factors affecting sales, conversions, and bounce rates, which is why the team at FirstPage Marketing spends time strategizing about how we structure a website before we begin any project.
Basics of Website Navigation
Although it is usually easiest to work out a plan for a website’s navigation from a fresh plan, it is entirely possible to restructure an existing website’s navigation if it is confusing or convoluted. The tips below can help to plan out most website navigational systems and improve user experience.
Organize Pages into Categories
When planning out a website’s navigation, it is best to start by listing off the different pages that the website will contain. Once all of the pages of the website are listed off, begin breaking them into categories based on what the pages are about. For example, a page describing a company’s history, its engagement in the community, and biographing its team members could fit in a category titled “About the Company.” Most websites with more than five pages will include at least a couple of categories.
Plan Out the Menu
Once the pages are organized, the menu system can be worked out in a way that lays out the website navigation tidily. The menu system should display the most important items first and highlight any actionable items prominently. There are different types of website menus, and the type of menu being used will determine how the categories are laid out. Dropdown menus, slide-out menus, and footer menus usually offer some of the best ways to display page categories to a website visitor. The menu system should be available to a visitor no matter where they are on the website.
Use Proper Page Titles and Links
Nobody likes mystery meat. Make sure that it is clear what pages your menu items and links lead to. The URL for each page should reflect the purpose of that page, and a title for each page should be clearly visible.
Navigation Should Be Consistent
When a visitor goes from page to page within a website, they should be able to know instinctively where things are based on previously viewed pages. Links and directions should stand out in the same way on each page of the website and most pages should feature similar layout themes.
If you want to get help putting together your website’s sitemap and navigation strategy, the team at FirstPage Marketing is here to help. Give us a call to find out how we would structure your website’s navigation today!