“It is the objective of every website owner to have the highest amount of traffic on their website. Website navigation determines the amount of traffic it attracts and the conversion rate of such traffic from visitors to customers, leads, or subscribers.
Navigation is basically the most crucial aspect of a website. It acts as a highway to all the different areas and information contained within the website. Clear, logical navigation speeds up the users’ search and enhances convenience.
As a rule of thumb, navigation should be simple and consistent. Simple navigation enables users to find what they want swiftly and with less effort.
Consistency gives a consistent user experience, making it easy for the visitor to explore the pages back and forth as he wishes. There are several categories of navigation that a website owner can select from, as long as the selected one enhances information exchange on the website.
The following are indispensable points to have in mind while choosing a navigation setup.
Limit the number of menu items to seven
The number of links in the main navigation should be limited to a maximum of seven. Visitors will have difficulties in remembering and handling items in the navigation if they are too many.
According to psychologists, Short-term memory holds only seven items at a time. Secondly, fewer items in navigation setup are excellent for a search engine. More sites link to the homepage than to the interior pages gives most authority to the home page. This authority is cascaded down to deeper pages through navigation.
Brief navigation will translate to more authority flow to interior pages, resulting in higher ranking. Reducing the items will give them more prominence than should have been the case when they were more.
Descriptive navigation that uses key phrases will always be striking to visitors. This tremendously improves conversion and search engine optimization.
Due to the descriptive nature, the navigation bar visually becomes prominent; therefore, communicating promptly. Consequently, once it lists the main products and services, it gives a clear picture to the customer what the website deals with. Customers will absolutely have the confidence they are on the right site.
Caution should be taken against using labels like “services” and “solutions” because they do not communicate with visitors. Instead, there should be a page for each service, product, or topic, which improves the page’s ranking. The navigation set up should be chosen with a search engine in mind.
The Order of Website Navigation
Habitually, visitors give more attention to items at the beginning and the end of the navigation. Such items are also easily remembered. This has more to do with the cognitive nature of human beings. Consequently, items put at the beginning and the end of navigation gain more prominence.
For that reason, the most important items to the site visitors and the site owner should be put strategically at the beginning of the end of navigation. Less important items should be in the middle.
In fact, web design and content marketing principles dictate that items that are most important to visitors should be put in the most visually prominent parts of the navigation.
Avoid drop-down menus
Though they are popular, drop-down menus can sometimes negatively impact a website.
To begin with, they facilitate the skipping of important pages by visitors. This means the information on the skipped page is not communicated to the visitor. This beats the whole purpose of having the website. Secondly, if they are not properly programmed, they can be difficult for search engines to crawl.
Sometimes drop-down menus are not very user-friendly. When visitors move their mouse to the menu item, they may be prompted to click; this gives them more menu options, which become a bit confusing.
However, drop-down menus should not be condemned in entirety as they improve suitability when it comes to big sites. For a big site with many pages and a wide range of products and/or services, a mega drop-down menu may be a good idea, though it again increases the number of links from the home page.
To conclude, every website’s bottom line is to attract customers and retain them by simplifying navigation of the website.
The navigation setup, be it top, side, or mega setup, should, therefore, endeavor to achieve this objective. The points given should assist in making a worthy choice.”