Transform CONs to PROs: Create Efficient Navigation on Your Website

March 20th, 2013

Have you ever spent 5 minutes on a website desperate to find what you wanted? This is not really your fault, but rather the bad navigation of the page. If you want to learn how to avoid leading your own visitors into the same situation, read on!

Before you start working on your website’s structure, you should think WHY. This means you have to think about what the goal of your website is, as well as its menu, and therefore plan the navigation.

Having clear navigation is important for these few reasons:

Indexing and Optimization of the Website

All of the pages of websites are put in a sitemap – a list of all pages that crawlers and visitors can access. Having a sitemap, which all Webnode websites have, helps search engines better understand the structure and content of your website. Try to make the name of the pages as informative as possible.

Page names are visible in the sitemap and indexed by search engines, so placing some keywords there can be a good choice. Pay attention to the fact that crawlers don’t really go deeper than the 3rd level of the sitemap – so don’t hide the most important information.

Helping Clients and Visitors

The biggest challenge though is making navigation convenient for the user.

Let’s see one of the most common mistakes of navigation in the following example: A small website has a complicated multilevel menu and not much information on the homepage.

A hotel situated at the seashore builds a website to attract more customers. On the homepage, a visitor finds a description of this hotel, where it is situated, and a small story about it.

The menu is the following:Menu

When a visitor enters a website they will see only Homepage, Information and Contact menu tabs. It’ll take them extra time and effort to find more information about the hotel, so they’ll be circling through the entire website. Give the person what they came for!

Make the menu easy to navigate from the homepage:

-Homepage
-Rooms
-Offers and promotions
-Photos
-Contact

The menu looks small and yet there’s everything you need.

What about reservations – isn’t it the goal of your website? Put a reservation form directly on your homepage so that it’s simple to submit. Also select your best photos for the homepage and show the rest in the description of Rooms, otherwise the visitor will be overwhelmed by the whole gallery at first site. Try using a slideshow on your website to show off the best photos.

Other website do quite the opposite – they have 20 items in the menu, which make it unreadable. Meanwhile, grouping some of the items into logical sub-menus will not only save space, but also increase the number of happy visitors.

The Best Checking Tool

Find a website with a similar or same topic as yours, and try to navigate to the most important information. Was it faster and simpler than yours – if yes, then it’s time to improve the navigation!

Do you have experience with complicated navigation on websites? Are you planning on developing SEO on your website? Try the step-by-step guide.