Navigate your prospects correctly
Category: WebFriday October 2nd, 2015
You don’t need telling that your website is your business ‘shop window’. An element of your promotional kitbag, it needs to be a well thought through and maintained tool.
There are many aspects of your website to consider that go beyond, or indeed before the commonly identified elements such as copy, imagery and SEO. The primary consideration when developing your site should be the reason it exists. Is it there to:
- Create brand awareness
- Inform potential customers
- Collect data
- Support other promotional activities
- Sell products and services or
- Generate enquiries?
When you have identified your website’s raison d’être, this is the time to map out your website structure – or navigation. A poorly laid our website will result in new visitors leaving quickly. And your website will have failed in its task. Your website navigation should guide your visitors to take the action you’d like – whether it’s to click here, to register their details, or buy your products and checkout.
So how can you ensure that your navigation will work for you? Here are our top 7 website navigation tips.
1. Plan it
Before you do anything, map out your hierarchy before you build your site – focussing all of your attention on the site’s purpose in life. This will give you the opportunity to test how the site will navigate visitors around it and it will also help you organise the information you want to add.
Make sure that your navigation differs in colour and font size to your body text. It needs to stand out clearly on you website so that visitors don’t have to think about looking to navigate to other pages.
Keep your navigation as simple as possible and ensure that your visitors can immediately identify the areas that they (or you!) want them to visit. The rule of thumb is that a visitor should click no more than three times to get to where you want them to go. It’s not always easy, but bear this in mind. Website visitors are impatient!
Try to avoid standard navigation descriptions such as ‘products’, ‘services’ or ‘about’ – they are just the same as every other website. Talk to your customers in language that is unique to your company.
5. Be concise
Keep your navigation short. Too many items or choices distract your visitors. Keep your website objective at the front of your mind and let this inform your navigation structure.
The eye of your website visitor is most interested at the beginning and end of your website navigation. Put most important items in your menu first, and at the end. Keep the less important elements in the middle. The standard location for contact is at the end of your navigation – however this can be a waste. Keep your contact details constant at the top and bottom of your website (you’d be surprised at how many visitors can’t be bothered to scroll back up to the top to find your email or phone number).
7. Clickety Click
Make all navigation elements clickable links. When using multiple categories within your navigation, all heading elements should be clickable links too. Web visitors naturally expect to be able to click. Hovering just doesn’t cut it.
So, our top seven website navigation tips. There is an eighth. And that is to test your navigation – not just yourself, but ideally with potential customers. Better now than before your website is unleashed and representing you in a global marketplace. Because that’s what it will ultimately be doing.
If you are considering re-vamping your website, or creating a new one, contact Darren Joslin on 02920 463047 or via firstname.lastname@example.org
image courtesy of arztsamui/freedigitalphotos.net