One of the most important aspects of business website design is the ease with which visitors can navigate through the site, or at least it should be. While there are several different factors that are considered important when it comes to successful website design, ease of navigation should be at the top of your priority list.
Great website navigation does not just consist of making sure there are functional links pointing to landing pages, blogs, your social media pages, or other online marketing locations associated with your site. Great website navigation also means providing your visitors with a user experience that leaves them with a positive impression of your website.
When your website visitors have to hunt for links or cannot find relevant information in the quagmire of page content, they will often (and quickly) leave your page. They will instead seek out a website that does give them what they are looking for in a easy to read and easy to navigate format.
When you are having your websites designed or redesigned and are looking for ways to simplify the navigation and improve your visitors’ experience, keep these tips in mind:
- Make sure your links stand out through bold, colorful, or larger sized text. When they blend in with the rest of the page, they are often lost in the shuffle.
- Always include a “search” link as the first option on your navigation bar. This lets visitors know you welcome a comprehensive search of your site content, and it provides them with an easy way to find the information they are seeking.
- If you have a navigation sidebar, put it on the right-hand side of the page. The reason for this is because most people read from left to right, so they are looking on the left side of the page first; this is where your informative or appealing content should appear.
- Design your links for people, not search engines. There are plenty of page options that can be optimized for SEO, but your navigation options need to be clearly defined and easily understood by humans, not machines.
- Limit the number of navigation bars or options to ONE. When you have several different locations on a webpage with several different navigation options, this can create a great deal of confusion and leave your visitors frustrated.
- Do not use “fake” or misleading links in your navigation bars. If you do have advertisements, banner ads, or similar marketing options on your webpage, don’t hide them behind links that appear to be something else.
Providing your site visitors with immediate methods of locating information is vital to having a successful website. Make sure you incorporate these helpful tips when designing the navigation options on your website, and always keep in mind that your users are the ultimate “judge and jury” that determine the success or failure of your website and landing pages. If site visitors are unhappy with your website, it might as well be invisible.
What other tips do you have for great website navigation? Share them below!