You are in a deadline. You browse the Internet to start your research. You type your keywords and find garbage. You type again but unfortunately you get lost in the unchartered gloom of poorly created website.
Making the target costumers angry and frustrated is what a good website MUST NEVER allow to happen. An orderly structure, say various signposts assigned strategically here and there, must be available to help the visitors find their way. As much as possible, make their experience quick, effective and painless.
How to do that? The keyword is ‘navigation’.
The success or failure of a website depends on the navigation design itself. It creates a bigger impact, affects traffic and search engine rankings. Everything important about your website is connected to the navigation- from content to the URLs.
Avoid non-standard style. Yes, it pays to be different but your navigation style isn’t the best place to do it. The number one rule is to help visitors find the needed content – be it in the horizontal navigation across the top or vertical navigation down the left side- in the most standard places making your site easier to use. This would mean a lower bounce rate and more pages per visit and most importantly, higher conversions.
Stay away from generic labels. Navigation is supposed to be descriptive. Keywords like ‘Services’ or ‘Products’ are labels too bland which don’t contribute at all, business-wise. Save visitors the click and reduce your bounce rate as well by making your website navigation descriptive. Start using labels that include popular key phrases according to the Google Keyword Tool.
De-clutter. Putting too many items in your navigation is a no-no. The availability of hundreds of links on the home page is a terrible mistake which only misleads or misguides the users. Concise navigation is the key. When your navigation has too many links, it pollutes the flow of the home page. The more concise your navigation is, the more home page authority will flow to interior pages, resulting to higher ranks.
Put your priorities in order. As the rule of thumb, put the most important items at the beginning of the navigation and the least important items in the middle. Saves the user more time and gives the website more clicks.
Remember, while it may be true that content is the king on the web, your website needs all the navigation aids you can find so users can have the time of their life. Never assume that your navigation system is perfect though. Take notes. Ask for feedback. Tweak, test, re-tweak and re-test.