Recent studies indicate we bloggers now have as few as 30 seconds to impress or lose the attention of a visitor. While there is no one correct way to move visitors around your site good web design means easy navigation for all visitors. If your site navigation isn’t intuitive then all the hard work you do to promote your content is for nothing, as visitors these days scan content quickly, and they won’t return if they can’t immediately locate what they want.
Intuitive Website Navigation
It’s critical. The design of a website’s navigation has a bigger impact on success or failure than almost any other factor. It affects traffic and search engine rankings. It affects conversions and user-friendliness. Everything important about your website is connected to the navigation, from content to the URLs. — Are You Making These Common Website Navigation Mistakes?
October 19, 2013 update
Below are some points to consider from The Complete Guide to Mastering Your Link and Navigation Structure
- Should your navigation be on the top, the side, or a combination of both?
- Should you include only main categories or sub-categories as well?
- Should you use drop down or fly out menus?
- Do you have enough room to fit your key pages in the navigation?
- If not, what should be moved “off” the main navigation?
- What other information needs to be presented in the navigational area?
12 Website Navigation Guidelines
The mobile explosion has yet to crest but visitors accessing our blogs via mobiles and tablets is on the rise and affecting on blog design. Laptops, smartphones and tablets are performing tasks that used to be the desktop computer territory. Our blogging future will feature responsive width themes, infinite scroll and effective use of custom menus, page templates and post formats. – Mobile Friendly Theme or Responsive Width Theme?
1. Do be sure the Main Navigation Bar appears on every page in the site to enable visitors to easily access specific sections or pages. The navigation bar is the most important tool for providing access to website content. It’s usually positioned horizontally across the top of the site but it can be located in left sidebar. (Note: Forgo the addition of any other toolbars, and/or pop-ups or pop-unders to reduce distraction and annoyance.)
2. Do include a “Home” button in the Main Navigation Bar so visitors can click it on any page on the site to quickly return to the front page.
3. Do reduce lengthy page and section titles by altering page and post slugs to create short title tabs in plain language in Main Navigation Bar.
4. Don’t use icons in Main Navigation Bar, as search engine spiders and crawlers do not read text in images and images increase page loading time.
5. Don’t overload the Main Navigation Bar with too many top level tabs. Fly-out menus or drop-down menus can be used to access sub-sections and sub-pages.
6. Do include a sitemap tab in the Main Navigation Bar.
7. Do include an About Us and Contact Us tabs in the Main Navigation Bar. Create a secure a contact form on your About page or a separate page so visitors can contact you, without you providing an email address that spam bots can harvest.
8. Do include a Popular Posts tab in the Main Navigation Bar to quickly guide new visitors to your most popular articles.
9. If applicable, include a Tutorials, How-to or Freebies tab in the Main Navigation Bar to quickly guide new visitors to those pages.
10. Provide a search box.
11. Insure links are easily distinguishable from regular text.
12. Don’t clutter. When it comes to sidebars and areas for widgets less is more. Display awards and anything else of no navigational use to visitors on a static page.
Improving Website Navigation
If you consider your own response when visiting websites, then you won’t be surprised to know 76% of consumers say the most important factor in a website’s design is “the website makes it easy for me to find what I want”.
Intuitive web design means that when a visitor clicks into a site they know exactly what to do to locate content of interest to them. Minimal clicking to take where visitors where they want to go is the objective.
Resource: Good Web Site Navigation – Reaching The Information Instantly scroll to –> Web site navigation checklist
Strong site navigation makes it easy for visitors to quickly find the information that interests them, sans a potentially frustrating “hunt.” It also helps search engines index your important information efficiently and effectively. … Conversely, poor navigation does more harm than good. It confuses visitors and sends them scurrying for the exit. — 6 Easy Ways To Improve Your Site’s Navigation
I have posted my 12 website navigation guidelines above. Now, I’m eager to have you readers add to them in the comments below this post, so please don’t hesitate to do so.