Does your your site navigation put off your visitors?
If visitors can't find what they are looking for quickly they will simply leave your site, finding another which is easier to browse through so it is essential to get your navigation perfect.
- Primary navigation
Keep it simple and clear and don't offer too many navigation options. Keep the primary navigation near the top of your pages and keep it consistent across every page. Content Management Systems are great at providing a standard template across all pages. Don't make your visitors have to relearn the navigation on every page. If you have many pages then group your primary navigation into areas that can cover several pages - for example if you have lots of products group them throgh a product page.
- Do not bury your content too deep
Do not make visitors have to dig to deep to find your content, try to keep your navigation to no more than three levels deep. Consider using breadcrumbs, links to previous or higher level pages if your site has a complex and deep structure, so visitors can be aware of their navigation trail and find their way back.
- Use the footer
- Include links with your page copy
Use relevant phrases within the body of your text to link directly to other pages, this helps your visitors to get to the information they want quickly and is also an essential Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) must have.
- Avoid complex navigation systems
- Search box
Consider using a search box, most commonly found in the top right hand corner, allowing visitors to search all of your pages for the content they are after.
Regarded now as quite old-school, however a sitemap can provide enormous help for some visitors who just can't seem to find the page they need. It will usually list all pages on your site in a basic way and can also help search engines find their way round your site.
The ultimate aim for a professional navigation structure is just this: don't make your visitors have to think about where the need to go and how to get there. Make it easy for them.