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5 Website Navigation Tips
Unclear website navigation is much like trying to read a map in the dark.
Many people who are new to web design and e-commerce have trouble creating effective website navigation. Having the expectation for your shoppers to use your website without clear and easy navigation is just like expecting them to blindly find their way to a destination with all the lights out. They will leave your site, lost and confused, without bothering to find out what you offer, and will go to find a website that is easier to understand and navigate.
Building a quality and easy-to-use website navigation will lead to many more sales and is actually very easy to do. To help you create a more effective website, experts at Bright Builders have compiled five easy tips to help you create effective website navigation that will quickly guide your customers to the products or information they’re searching for.
Tip One: The Navigation Bar
The Navigation Bar or Menu is the list of links that appears on every page of your website. It is the first cue to your customers about which pages they should visit in the website. Link names should be short, clear, and accurate at describing the products, services, or information contained on the linked page. It is also a good idea to use keywords as often as possible in the links in the navigation bar.
Navigation bars should not be too long. The customer shouldn't have to scroll down to view all of the links in your navigation bar. If your site offers a large number of products, create links to general categories instead of listing each product individually.
Tip Two: Using a Sitemap
A sitemap is crucial for any website. Simply put, the sitemap is an organized page of links to every page in your website. Normally organized as an outline, a sitemap includes links to each category, subcategory, and page on your site.
Sitemaps make it easier for both search engines and customers to easily access all of the information your site has to offer. One of the main goals of any website should be to have all of its pages indexed by search engines. This is because the more pages your site can be found for and ranked for, the better your chances are that customers will be able to find you in the search engines.
Tip Three: The Three-Click Rule
Studies have shown, on average, if a customer cannot find a wanted item or piece of information within three clicks of entering your site, they will leave your site. This means that your competition is getting the sale that you could have had, simply because the product or information was more readily available.
Many website owners do not understand that buyers are not the same as shoppers. Buyers know what they want and they want it now, but shoppers are simply browsing to see what is available. Make sure your customers can access all of your products and pages within three clicks from any page on your site to ensure that they buy from you.
Tip Four: Repeat Links
Having a Navigation Bar is very important for the ease of your website, but it is just as important to repeat those links in other areas on your site including in the body text or accompanying images.
You should also repeat important navigation links at the bottom of each page of your site in a link tree. This gives customers the ability to look at an entire page and then continue onto other pages without having to scroll up to the top to find the Navigation Bar links.
Tip Five: Page Titles and Subject Headers
If a customer ever has to ask “Where am I?”, you are almost guaranteed not to get a sale. Page titles and headers are just another way to clarify to the customer what page they’re visiting.
Found at the top of each page or dividing content by subject, headers should be bold and in a larger font than the page content. This clearly defines the purpose of the page and the content found on it, allowing the customer to easily navigate throughout the page.
Customers need to be able to navigate through a site with as little work as possible. The easier it is to navigate throughout a site, the more likely it is that your customer will stay long enough to purchase and continue to come back. By following these five simple tips, you help customers and search engines navigate through your site, thus increasing your sales potential.
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