Even the most robust and visually appealing websites can evoke frustration to visitors if they cannot navigate the content. The navigation is the foundation of your website. Easy and efficient navigation is a must when designing a website. The navigation is a roadmap to your website content and, ultimately, your brand. The navigation assists in steering the visitor through the site, making it easy and engaging. The longer the visitor will stay.
Why should website navigation be the focal point of your website design?
Navigation is the road map for visitors to explore your business’ products and services and virtually engage with you. We believe your website is your sales team, and the navigation bar answers the question, “So tell me, what does your company do?”
For a new business owner, immense angst comes when creating and designing the menu or navigation for their website. We are so fortunate to work with startup companies because the navigation exercise drives the creation and identification of their business.
It is challenging to design a website without a foundation provided by focused and robust navigation. Often, the exercise of creating it strengthens the company’s brand message and offerings. The navigation design can be the most time-consuming piece of website design, yet there can be no website design without navigation.
Is the order of the navigation essential?
Yes, it is! People tend to remember the first and last items on a list. Therefore, we always suggest placing the most critical items at the beginning of the navigation bar. Keeping the list short, rank order the remaining places on the navigation. The “contact” or envelope icon should always be displayed last.
Make it easy for your visitors to find what they are looking for. Regularly visit your analytics to understand what your visitors are searching for and the pages that they stayed the longest. It may spark a revisit of your navigation layout and order.
6 tips to consider when creating your website navigation.
- Always have a search option or place a magnifying glass on or near the navigation. It makes it easier for your visitors to find what they are looking for quickly.
- Link the logo to your home page. There is no need to place the word home on the navigation.
- Keep the navigation clear and easy to travel through. It should never take more than two or three clicks for your visitor to find what they are looking for.
- Your navigation bar should always be visible when the visitor scrolls or moves from one page to another page.
- Your visitors can also access navigation from the footer. Listing ‘Quick Links” or “Favorite Links” in the footer enhances the user experience.
- Limit the number of items that appear. Too many can be overwhelming to the visitor, and we think 7 to 8 items is the sweet spot.
The value of good navigation and SEO
Websites are built to attract customers and build your SEO. According to Melissa McGraw, SEO Wizard and owner of The Creative Potential,
“It takes more than a pretty website to impress both your audience and Google. If you want to improve your search rankings, get more clients, and make more sales, it will take good website navigation.
If the menu hierarchy on your website is confusing and your website is hard to navigate, users aren’t going to stick around in the hope they’ll eventually find what they need. They’re going to head right on over to your competitor’s website to see if they can find what they’re looking for.
Website navigation has a huge impact on SEO because Google takes into account a site’s usability and engagement. Remember that Google and other search engines are there to please users and therefore consider the usability of websites when ranking them. It all comes down to keep your site super clear, easy to use, and logical. If you don’t give it a second thought, your Google Analytics will end up telling you that most people click off your site within seconds of entering it.”
Please do not overlook the importance of the navigation
We spend a significant portion of website design time working with our clients on the navigation. This exercise can be both frustrating and rewarding. Let us help. We want your website to shine, so schedule a free consultation for website design services.