Website navigation determines whether or not Internet users stay on your site or immediately click back on their browser. Complex sites with disguised navigational tools frustrate users, driving them away. High bounce rates drop your rankings, fast. Search engines look at sites with high bounce rates as spam sites, dropping them down on search engine results pages. Clear, concise, intuitive navigation keeps users on your site, exploring, for the maximum amount of time.
The most important tools in easy site navigation are links. Links between pages direct traffic flow through your site. Make sure all navigation buttons standout, and clearly state their purpose. The home button should say home, and products should be clearly labeled. This allows visitors to your site to easily navigate between pages on the site. Secondary navigation buttons, like contact us and the site map should also be clearly visible, but without the emphasis given to primary navigation options.
Also keep in mind the way English speakers tend to view pages. English reads left to right, making menu bars on the right a bit more difficult for the average user to navigate. Visitors expect navigation options on the top and left had side of the screen, with content centralized. Then, on each page of content, include links to related internal pages.
All of these tips help keep site visitors exploring, giving you higher time on site numbers and improving your page rankings.
Adam Merrifield is a self proclaimed “start up junkie” and has spent the last 18 years in corporate entrepreneurship, co-founding and/or being the start-up point man for several businesses. Adam started his career in Commercial Real Estate in San Diego, California.
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