Almost every website requires some kind of navigation, even if it is just a simple one-page site. Unfortunately, not every website has good navigation features. In most cases, the web designers decide and formulate website navigation. Web designers know how to make beautiful web designs and templates, but they do not have much marketing know-how. They do not know what will make the website design attractive.
Just because your website navigation is possible, it does not mean it is excellent. You need to follow the website navigation trends that make your site visitors comfortable browsing your pages.
This post is a guide to website navigation. Here we will give you a few website navigation tips that you can benchmark against to determine whether you need to improve your website navigation or are already up to the mark. Remember, the objective here is to help you keep your site visitors engaged as they read through your website content and gain interest in your brand. You ultimately want to drive them through your marketing funnel and make a purchase.
What is Website Navigation?
In technical terms, website navigation refers to the process of a user browsing through a network of information resources on the internet. These information resources could be on different web pages or different parts or sections on a single web page. The user interface used for website navigation is called a web browser.
If your website has a smooth layout and clear call-to-action buttons, it will be easy to navigate. But suppose your site visitors are often having trouble going from one section or page to another or finding the most relevant information on the site. In that case, it means you need to improve your website navigation.
Strong website navigation makes it easy for users to find the information they are looking for. It saves them from a potentially frustrating or annoying hunt on your site. It also helps you keep your site’s bounce rate low.
Poor website navigation will do more harm than good. It will confuse your visitors and send them to pages or sections that do not interest them. They might feel that your website does not have the information they are looking for and leave. If your site visitors cannot find what they are searching for, you will not get any conversions from your site. This is typically bad for your business.
When people come to your website and exit it out of frustration, they have very little chance of coming back. It is therefore vital that you take care of your site visitors. Provide them with a comfortable and smooth experience of viewing and navigating through your site.
The way to do that is by following the website navigation tips mentioned below. Follow the website navigation trends of successful websites that can attract traffic. You can get most of your visitors and users engaged with your content.
6 Ways to Improve Your Website Navigation
Here are 6 website navigation tips to enhance the experience of your site visitors.
1. Keep it Consistent
Provide consistent website navigation to your visitors. This means the way to browse one page on your site should not be completely different from browsing another. Depending on their differing roles, you can have slightly different or customized layouts for each page. But make sure not to make the page's layout entirely different or unidentifiable from the other pages on the site. If your navigation constantly changes from one page to another, visitors will lose their on-site bearings. They would want to reorient themselves every time they move to a new age, and this extra work will annoy them. They might just exit the website straight away.
It is better to keep the website navigation the same, or at least similar, on all your web pages to avoid this. Your job is to make it easy for users to consume the content you have produced and get engaged with your products and services, even if they are not making a purchase right away.
2. Divide the Categories Clearly
If your website contains multiple sections on each page or under each main category on the menu, define each category and subcategory clearly. In other words, separate your category headings visually from your sub-categories. You will need to do this even if your categories are links themselves.
There is nothing wrong with having more than one button or link on your site to take visitors to the same page or section. The problem only occurs if users are confused, whether before or after clicking those links. That’s why you must name and define all your buttons and links, plus any main items and subitems on your menu.
Dividing your categories clearly helps a great deal in providing a smooth website navigation experience to your users.
3. All Navigation Elements Should Be Clickable Links
If your navigation menu contains multiple subcategories or sections, make sure you make all the heading elements clickable. It is natural for a site visitor to want to click a sub-category section to see the content for that division. But suppose a site visitor merely clicks the main category instead because the sub-category headings are not clickable. In that case, they will be given access to all related pieces of content under that main category. This will confuse them and put off their mood to search any further.
When people want to go to a specific section, they need access and information in that section. Giving them a lot of information that they are not necessarily looking for can get them bored and make them want to exit your site. As part of good website navigation, ensure all your heading elements of specific sections or subcategories are clickable and land the visitors exactly where they want to go.
4. Use Accurate Navigation Titles
Anyone who visits your website will have a general idea of what they are looking for. Even before someone clicks any navigational link, they know a bit of what to expect on the page. This stands true for both main navigation links and internal text links. Hence, a way to improve your website navigation is to use accurate text to describe the page linked to each button or link. This will give the visitors a better idea of what they will get on the corresponding page.
Providing misleading website navigation text confuses visitors, possibly to the point of leaving your site and never coming back again. Websites that use all link verbiage accurately are the most successful in keeping users engaged and spending more time on the site.
5. Add Alt Text to Every Clickable Image
If you want your images to link correctly to the corresponding pages on your site, be sure to add the ALT attribute to each with descriptive text. This ensures that everyone knows where the link will take them, regardless of navigating or viewing your page.
6. Make Sure Your Site’s Search Feature Works
If you want to provide good website navigation, you need to create an in-site search feature. But merely creating this feature is not enough. It needs to function correctly as well. The more filters it has, the better. The search results must always give links to relevant content. It must compensate for any typing errors and spelling mistakes.
It is better if the search results also show related items and recommend the most frequently viewed related content. For instance, if a user searches for a particular product, the search feature should also display similar trending products in the results. This may entice the user to check out those related products, thus increasing the chances of raising the transaction amount if the user makes a purchase.
How to Enhance Website Navigation on Strikingly?
Image taken from Strikingly
Strikingly is a rising website builder that developed many user-friendly tools over the past couple of years that allow any layman to create beautiful, attractive, and professional-looking websites in just a matter of hours.
The templates available on our platform serve as ready-made web designs and are built in a way that provides easy website navigation to your visitors. But to use our templates properly, you need to know how to use our tools to create a smooth experience for your users.
Here are some easy-to-follow website navigation tips for Strikingly users.
Create a dropdown menu, and make every item and subitem clickable in it. To do this, click ‘Manage Pages’ on the left panel in your Strikingly editor, and select ‘Add Dropdown Menu’.
Image taken from Strikingly
Use the best practices for the website header. Excellent and effective headers include the menu, your brand logo, a search feature, the shopping cart icon (if you are selling products through your site), and the user profile icon (if users can create an account on the site).
Do not forget to add a footer to your site. The footer elements should typically include copyright protection, site map, terms and conditions, contact information, and social media icons.
Website navigation features are essential for your site’s overall performance. Working on your site’s navigation helps you enhance your brand image and engagement, which is suitable for the long-term success of your business.
It is vital to provide a smooth website navigation experience on mobile devices. After all, most people like to browse websites and other platforms on their mobile phones these days. Therefore, not having a responsive or mobile version of your site could hurt your users’ experience and willingness to visit your website again.