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The Business of making websites | 14th September 2020

Sailing the Digital Seas: 8 Navigation Tips for a Smooth Website Journey

Navigating Your Website with Ease

Effective website navigation should make browsing as straightforward as reading a clear map, not getting lost in a maze. Your website’s navigation system guides visitors through your content, ensuring a user-friendly and satisfying experience. Here are eight best practices for website navigation that will help every visitor find what they’re looking for quickly and efficiently.

1. Strategic Planning: Map Out Your Navigation

Before you start building, plan your site’s structure carefully. Consider what your visitors are looking for and ensure key elements like the ‘Buy’ button are easy to find. Put yourself in the shoes of a new visitor—your site should make their journey for information effortless.

2. Prioritise Key Pages: Highlight Your Most Important Content

Not all pages are created equal. Make sure that the most important pages are immediately visible on your navigation menu. Keep essential links like your ‘Buy’ button prominent to draw attention and encourage action.

3. Use Clear Labels: Keep Menu Titles Simple and Descriptive

When setting up your navigation menu, choose words that are simple and understandable at a glance. Avoid technical terms that might confuse someone unfamiliar with your jargon. Each label should give a clear idea of the content it leads to.

4. Be Specific: Avoid Vague Labels

Avoid generic labels such as ‘Photos’ or ‘Services’. Instead, be specific about what these sections contain. If your site offers services, specify what kind, like ‘Web Development Services’ or ‘Marketing Consultations’.

5. Simplify Navigation: Rethink Drop-down Menus

Although popular, drop-down menus can be cumbersome and may lead to a frustrating user experience. They can also be problematic for search engines, potentially hiding your content. Consider simpler navigation options that are easier to use and scan.

6. Include a Search Bar: Help Users Find What They Need Quickly

If your site contains a lot of content, a search bar can be invaluable. It allows users to bypass navigation menus for a direct route to their intended destination. Ensure it’s well-integrated and features predictive text to enhance usability.

7. Ensure Accessibility from Every Page

Make sure visitors can easily navigate to other sections of your site no matter where they are. Don’t make them backtrack to the homepage to continue exploring. A consistent main menu across all pages encourages thorough exploration and improves the overall user experience.

8. Stick to Familiar Navigation Practices

While innovation is important, familiar navigation structures provide comfort and ease for users. Stick with well-known layouts and positions for your menu, such as at the top of the page or in the header. This familiarity helps prevent confusion and enhances usability.

Conclusion: Smooth Sailing Through Your Website

By following these eight tips, you create a navigation experience that’s not only user-friendly but also effective in guiding visitors through your website. Good navigation is like a good map: it gets everyone where they need to go without fuss or confusion.

“A well-navigated website leads to happy visitors and successful business outcomes.”