Best Practices for Website Navigation

When you’re setting out on a trip, it’s always best to have a definite plan in place with a road-map (or GPS) if at all possible. This way, wherever you are, every turn and change in direction makes sense. Now try to imagine landing on a website that has no organization and no plan to it. You will quickly become lost down blind alleys and dead ends.

On a website that’s difficult to navigate, you can always just close the browser out of frustration, but that’s certainly not what you want your customers to do. That’s why it is so important to use best practices for setting up your website navigation.

Here are some things to look for when putting together your website to make it easier to navigate:

Pre-Planning

The first thing you want to do is define exactly what you hope to gain by creating this website. If your purpose is to create content that will lead someone from your blog to your business/e-commerce site, then that should be what you keep in mind as you are designing it. If your website is a straight e-commerce site, then you want to think about how easy it is to navigate between products.

All of this goes into how you set up your website.

“F” is not for “Failure”

When you are designing your menu options, it is highly recommended that you use a professional design option such as Website Creator. But you should also think of the letter “F” as your guiding principle. The main header should have a longer row of horizontal text that compares to the top part of the letter “F.”

The reader’s eye should then be drawn down, vertically, to the next (shorter) branch of the letter “F”—in this case, the subheading or sub-menu. This should be shorter than your initial header. Finally, the eye should continue down the stem of the letter to the final point of the page. This is just one design option, but studies have shown that it is effective in bringing in viewers because the eye naturally follows this flow on the page.

Seven is your Lucky Number

If you put dozens and dozens of links on your page, your visitors are going to back away from sensory overload. A good, round number for links is seven. This gives your visitors and an easily digestible chunk of links that can take them where they need to go.

Don’t Use Vague Headers

When someone looks at a menu heading, they want to know exactly where that link will take them. Something vague like “Blogs” or “Pictures” tells them the format of the content, but not the subject matter. This isn’t going to interest them. Instead, make sure that your menu headings are specific and highly descriptive so your readers will know exactly where they are headed.

Test It In Three Seconds

Studies have also shown that your visitor is willing to give you about three seconds before they become frustrated with your page and move on to someone else.

This means that everything that you really want to communicate should be done in that frame of time. In order to do this, use white space with bold texts, bullet points for ease of readability, and compelling images that the eye is naturally drawn to.

By providing your site visitors with a road-map of your site, you are preparing them for the experience of navigating your web pages. But you are also ensuring that they will have a smooth experience with your site which will keep them coming back again and again.

Learn about building a website using Website Creator from InMotion Hosting.

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