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The Importance of Optimised Navigation on Your New Website

November 12, 2019

The navigation on your website impacts just about every measurement of your site’s success. This includes SEO, conversions, and whether or not your website is user-friendly.

In other words, good navigation helps to get visitors to your website, it keeps them on your site and helps them find what they are looking for, and it increases the likelihood they will convert, i.e. take an action you want them to take.

Therefore, navigation should be a part of your website that you discuss thoroughly with your website designer in Auckland.

Types of Navigational Elements on Your Website

Your website will probably have several navigational elements. The most common include:

Main menu

In modern desktop website design, this is the menu element that runs horizontally at the top of your website’s pages. It is consistent on all pages and contains the site’smain sections.

Remember, however, your main menu won’t have a single design. Most main menus are responsive so they will look different on a mobile device compared to a computer.

The mobile version of your main menu is sometimes referred to as the hamburger menu, a reference to the icon often used to indicate a menu on websites viewed on mobile devices.

Footer menu

The footer menu appears at the very bottom of your website and is consistent across all pages.

It can contain the main content sections of your site like the main menu does, but it is also often used for parts of your website not on the main menu. This includes your privacy policy page, terms and conditions page, refunds policy page, and similar pages.

Sidebar menus

Many website designs include pages that have sidebar menus. They are used for a variety of reasons, including to help users quickly find related or similar content. Sidebars are usually only included on specific pages.

Breadcrumbs

While not a menu, breadcrumbs are another important navigational tool. They tell the visitor at a glance where they are in your site map.

Breadcrumbs usually appear at the top of the page directly below the header. An example is:

  • Home > Blog > SEO > Blog Title

This means the user is on the page “Blog Title” which is in the SEO category of the website’s blog section. Visitors can click on any of these elements to navigate to a higher part of the site.

What is Good Navigation?

To ensure your website has good navigation, you first have to understand the primary goals of this navigation. There are two:

  1. To help visitors find the information or page they are looking for
  2. To encourage visitors to explore other pages on your website

So, what is good navigation? Here are five key pointers.

  1. Doesn’t have too many layers. One is great, two is ideal for larger websites, and three is borderline too many. Any more than three and you should consider revising the structure to simplify it.
  2. The navigation on your website should be intuitive. If you have to provide instructions to your users, it’s too complicated. After all, the people visiting your website probably visit multiple websites every day. They understand how website navigation works, so they should be able to instinctively work out your navigation too.
  3. The navigational elements on your website should be visible and easy to find, but they shouldn’t be distracting or get in the way of the content.
  4. Prioritise the most important pages on your website in the navigational structure.
  5. Ensure the links on the mobile versions of your website’s navigation are easy to tap on. After all, it will be clunky fingers using thesenavigational elements not the crisp and clear mouse pointer you use on a computer.

Optimise Your Website’s Navigation

Optimising the navigation of your website will require a consultative approach between you and the website design company you are working with in Auckland. As good navigation is crucial to your website’s success, it’s worth spending time to get it right.