Many Webmasters take their website navigation menu for granted. It is just one of those things that is always there on a website so we often forget how important it really is.
You might have the best content in your niche and people get instantly attracted to you, but if they land on your website and get confused with your navigation system, there is no way you can build a successful website like that. You are building a website so humans can visit, therefore we need to make it easy for the them to navigate around your website.
Website Navigation System Tips
Website navigation is important and it is now time for everyone to think about how the visitor can actually get around the website. When you understand how SEO works, you realize that the navigation system is included in this.
#1. Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
Years ago people used to try all sorts of navigation systems and move their main menu around all over the website. We’ve even seen flying menus and flash menus, but they all disappeared over time. Now days website visitor expects to see the main navigation system menu in the normal places. Their eyes automatically go and look in known spots, which is usually at the top of the page for the main menu, and just below for the submenu. If they can’t find what they want there, then they move to the bottom of the page and look further.
Keep it simple stupid. We all know that saying, but Webmasters like to make things difficult sometimes. Website designs can be beautiful and appealing without being difficult. Make sure that your navigation menus are neat and clean. They are there for a purpose and people need to be able to read them clearly and click on what they want. Many professional WordPress Themes follow this principle of keeping it simple.
#3. Where is The Search Box?
Some people say that having a search box on your website is not necessary. My personal opinion is that the search box is very important and accounts for a big part of your websites usability. This is the backup system for when a person cannot find what they need, so make your website search box appear in an obvious position.
#4. Test Your Navigation Menu
If you have a WordPress website you can easily create drop down menus or multiple navigation menus. This is great but many people make the menu and never think about it again. I like to test my menu to see if people are actually clicking on the menu items. I also like to rearrange the order of the menu and also change the sub menus.
If you have a Google analytics account click on “content” in the menu and then click on “in page analytics”. Google will show you what people are clicking on. Maybe this will tell you that a certain menu item is not worth having there.
You can also set up Goals to see if people travel from the home page straight to a submenu item. Or you can click on navigation summary when investigating a particular page, then you can see the previous and next page. So you can see where people came from and where they left to. These are just a few examples of ways to test your navigation menu.
#5. Include the Boring Basics
People like to be different but website visitors expect certain things. We all know they expect the navigation menu to be in a particular area on a website; however they also expect the menu to contain certain things. For example, the main menu should have a home link, about us, contact us, and so on. If these menu items are missing on the website altogether, people get suspicious.
I myself had to follow the rules too much, but it is a fact that people expect these links in the menu.
Navigation menus are boring but we need them. They are there for the website visitor to navigate through your website. Therefore when creating your navigation menu simply think about what the human user would want and you cannot go wrong.