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Website Navigation: Get Users Where You Want Them to Go


Jul 28, 2011

Website Navigation

Website navigation is an important consideration for any website owner. The fact is people who use the Internet want a fast and efficient way to find the information they need. Rather than trying to find that information on a website that is four or five clicks away, they would rather go back to the search engine and find a website that has the information all laid out for them. It is that important to have a well-planned navigation system in place for your website if you plan to have success with that site.

What Makes for an Effective Site?
Website navigation needs to meet the needs of the average person. Just because it seems logical to you does not mean it will look that way for others. Here are some tips to help you to make this process work for you:

  1. Keep the intended user in mind when creating your website layout. Who is the target customer? What is he or she looking for when they arrive at the site? Those needs should be met first and foremost.
  2. When creating links to move through the site, be sure they are conventional, easy to identify links. This often means using underlined text or you can change the color of the words with the link.
  3. Know the three click rule. Most web designers follow the principle that most visitors to a website will not click more than three links to get where they want to be. Each page on the site should be accessible within three moves.
  4. Keep the website’s homepage as quick to load as possible. A fresh, clean look is best, minimizing any use of flash or over the top graphics as possible. This allows the customer to navigate into the site fast.
  5. Choose the location of navigation and make it clear how to get there. You can use top menus (most common) as well as left or right side navigation. Bottom menus are another option that may work for you.
  6. Keep your internal page links still no more than two clicks away from the home page, three at most.
  7. Make sure the navigation in the browser window is easy to understand, too.

Why is this important?
When you organize your website’s structure in the right way, you allow customers to go from the homepage or landing page right where you want them to go. If you give them too many links to click on, or too many options, they may get lost and will never take the action you want. The more time you give people to think about it, or the more decisions they can make, the less likely they are to take any action.

Making site navigation easy is a critical step in creating a functional website that can help you to achieve your goals. Invest the time necessary into finding site navigation that works for your goals, so that your customers are funneling right where you want them to go, whether that is a contact page or an e-commerce store. Site navigation does not have to be complex, and in fact, you want it to be as simple as possible, so you can accomplish the goal of your website – to get an action from the visitor.

Dotcomweavers are a team of professional web designers located in Paramus, New Jersey. We are committed to helping small and medium businesses find growth online. ASK DCW is your chance to ask questions, seek advice and get the knowledge you need to make your business successful in the online marketplace. Connect with us on Twitter (@dotcomweavers) or Facebook.

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