Good Navigation Means Positive Online Experiences For Your Target Audience
Optimisation is not just about technical issues like coding and administrative options like link building, it’s also very much about look and feel. If your site is poorly structured or hard to navigate, it will directly affect your optimisation and more importantly it will negatively affect the online experience for your target audience.
The twelve steps to great navigation
# 1. First things first – think about your user and what they expect to find on your site. Will they be drawn to specific products on your site or will there be a tailored service they’ll be attracted to first? This must be a positive online experience for your visitors with as little clicking/frustration as possible.
# 2. Trends come and go but ‘Home’ is always ‘home’, never ‘welcome’ or ‘Fáilte’. It’s what people expect when looking for the homepage. Make sure everyone can find their way ‘home’ quickly and efficiently, wherever they are.
# 3. Your key pages should always be top-level – identify the pages you feel are of greatest priority to your customers and prospective customers and place them along the top navigation level.
# 4. Include an ‘about us’ page to give a little history or background about your organisation .Many people still feel the Internet can be an impersonal medium. An About Us page also allows you to weave in more targeted phrases and reinforce your overall message.
# 5. While it is tempting, we advise that having a generic ‘products’ or ‘services’ page is not best practice. Individual product pages allow for a greater SEO impact.
# 6. Your pages should be split into core categories. Once these have been decided, plan your navigation around these categories and populate them accordingly.
# 7. Ask yourself – can someone visiting your website get to the information they need in three clicks or less? If they cannot, redesign your site to make this possible.
# 8. The ‘contact us’ page is a staple of anyone’s internet diet. Make sure yours is clear to see and can be accessed very quickly and easily.
# 10. Are your terms and conditions available? If not, add them now. People may not read them straight away but if they buy from you they need to be aware of your Ts&Cs.
# 11. Make sure the visitor knows where they are on the site at all times. This can be done using different design effects when they are on a page or by using breadcrumb navigation if your site has a deeper site structure.
# 12. Create goals for each of the core markets and add features that drive people onto the next stage in the goal funnel. Your key landing pages should focus on your key message. Solid ‘call to actions’ on this page will really fuel conversions.
Good navigation is all about ensuring a pleasant user experience for visitors to your website. Small changes like many listed above can have an immediate impact. Other options referred to may require the expertise of your web designer. Whatever is needed, just make sure your online customer is always your priority.