These website navigation best practices will help ensure your website’s content is easy to find.
There are many different ways to design the navigation for a website, but not all of them are equally effective. Website navigation aims to help users find the information they’re looking for quickly and easily.
Website navigation is the system that allows users to move around a website. It typically includes links to the site’s different pages and a way to go back to previous pages.
Website navigation should be designed to make it easy for users to find the information they want.
To achieve this, it’s important to follow some basic best practices.
1. Use a consistent structure
The structure of your website’s navigation should be consistent from page to page. This will help users know where they are on your site and how to find the information they’re looking for. A website in the pet niche, for example, might have the following navigation structure:
Home > Pets > Dogs > Types of Dogs
This consistent structure will help users move around your site easily and quickly find the information they’re looking for.
2. Use clear and descriptive labels
The labels you use for your website’s navigation should be clear and descriptive. A label is ineffective if users can’t understand its meaning. For example, “Our Products” is a clear and descriptive label. “Things We Make” is not.
If you have a website in the hiking niche, your navigation might include the following labels:
Home > Hiking Trails > Best Hiking Trails in the US
The labels should be clear enough that users will know what kind of information they’ll find under each link.
3. Use visual cues
When it comes to website navigation, visual cues are often underrated. Most people focus on the functional aspects of navigation, such as ensuring all the links work and the menus are easy to use. But the truth is, the visual elements of navigation are just as important as the functional ones.
Visual cues provide an immediate way for users to understand what kind of content is on a website and where they can find it. For example, if you want people to know that your blog is about fashion, you could use images of models or clothing on your homepage. And if you want people to be able to find your contact page easily, you could use a bright color or button that stands out from the rest of your website.
Used correctly, visual cues can make a big difference in how easily people use your website. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the most effective ways to use visual cues in website navigation.
1. Use images to communicate what your website is about
2. Use bright colors or buttons to draw attention to important pages
3. Use white space to create a sense of hierarchy
4. Use icons to represent different types of content
5. Use animations sparingly and only when they add value
6. Make sure your visual cues are consistent with the overall design of your website
7. Test your visual cues frequently to see how people respond to them
8. Be willing to experiment with different visual cue combinations until you find something that works well for your website
9. Remember that less is often more when it comes to using visual cues in website navigation
10. Get feedback from others on how effective your visual cues are before making any changes
Just remember not to go overboard with visuals—too many can be just as confusing as too few. And finally, don’t forget to test your visual cues periodically to ensure they’re still working well for your site visitors.
4. Use drop-down menus sparingly
Drop-down menus are often used in website navigation to help users find the information they want. However, they can also be confusing and overwhelming if used incorrectly.
Drop-down menus are a common website navigation element. They can be used to save space on a page and help organize content in a way that is easy for visitors to digest.
However, drop-down menus also have some disadvantages. Read the pros and cons of drop-down menus so you can make an informed decision about whether or not to use them on your website.
The Pros of Drop-down Menus
You might want to use drop-down menus on your website for several reasons. First, they can help you save space. If you have many links you want to include in your navigation, a drop-down menu can be a good way to consolidate those links into one place. This can be especially helpful on mobile devices, where screen real estate is limited.
Second, drop-down menus can help organize your content in a way that is easy for visitors to understand. By grouping related links together in a drop-down menu, you make it easier for visitors to find what they’re looking for without having to wade through a long list of unrelated links.
Third, drop-down menus can add a level of professionalism and polish to your website’s design. When used sparingly and tastefully, they can give your site a more polished look and feel.
The Cons of Drop-down Menus
Drop-down menus also have some disadvantages you should be aware of before using them on your website. First, they can be confusing for some visitors. If a visitor doesn’t realize that additional options are available in the drop-down menu, they may not even realize that the links exist. This can lead to frustration and cause some visitors to leave your site altogether.
Second, drop-down menus can make it more difficult for search engines to index your site’s content. This is because the links in the drop-down menu are not typically visible on the page unless the visitor takes action to expand the menu. As a result, Google and other search engines may have difficulty indexing all of the pages on your site if you rely too heavily on drop-down menus for navigation.
Finally, drop-down menus can make it difficult for visitors to bookmark individual pages on your site. This is because when visitors bookmark a page with a drop-down menu, they are actually bookmarking the URL of the page that contains the menu, not the URL of the specific page they were viewing when they clicked the bookmark button.
5. Don’t forget about breadcrumbs
Breadcrumbs are a type of secondary navigation that can be extremely helpful in website navigation, especially on large sites with complex hierarchical structures.
Breadcrumbs are typically used to show a visitor’s path to reach the current page. For example, if a visitor is viewing a product page on an eCommerce site, the breadcrumbs might look something like this:
Home > Clothing > Men’s Clothing > Shirts
This tells the visitor that they started on the home page, then navigated to the clothing section, then to the men’s clothing section, and finally to the shirts section.
How to Implement Breadcrumbs on Your Website
Now that we’ve discussed why breadcrumbs are important let’s discuss how to implement them on your website. If you’re using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress or Drupal, there are usually plugins or modules that will do all the hard work for you. All you need to do is install the plugin and configure it to suit your needs.
If you’re not using a CMS, you’ll need to manually add the breadcrumbs to your site. This typically involves adding some code to your website’s templates.
If you’re not comfortable coding, you can always hire a professional developer to help you add breadcrumbs to your site.
6. Use the search functionality
If you have a website, chances are you have a search bar. And if you have a search bar, chances are you’re not using it to its full potential. In this blog post, we’ll show you how to use the search functionality on your website to improve your navigation and help your visitors find what they’re looking for.
1. Make the search bar prominent and easily accessible. Often, the search bar is buried at the bottom of a webpage or tucked away in a corner. This makes it hard for users to find, leading to frustration and ultimately causing them to abandon your site.
2. Increase the size of the search bar. This may seem like a small change, but it can actually make a big difference. A larger search bar is more visible and, therefore, more likely to be used. Plus, it’s just more user-friendly in general.
3. Ensure that the search bar is always visible on every website. This way, users will never have to go hunting for it. They’ll always be able to find it right away, which will improve their experience on your site. This can be done by adding a floating search bar to your website or by placing the search bar in the header or navigation menu.
4. One final tip is to add some guidance to your search bar. This could be something as simple as adding a placeholder text that says “Search our site…” or “What are you looking for?”. This will help give visitors direction and let them know exactly what they should do with the search bar.
7. Use a logical URL structure
The URL structure of your website can play a big role in website navigation. A well-structured URL is easy to read and understand, which makes it easier for visitors to navigate your site.
Here are a few tips for creating a logical URL structure:
Use descriptive keywords in your URLs. This will help visitors and search engines understand what the page is about.
Use hyphens to separate words in your URLs. This makes the URL easier to read and understand.
Keep your URLs short and to the point. Long and complicated URLs are often confusing and hard to remember.
Make sure your URLs are static. That means they shouldn’t change often. If they do change, make sure you redirect the old URL to the new one. This will prevent 404 errors and help keep your website’s navigation intact.
Use a consistent URL structure throughout your site. This will make it easier for visitors to navigate and for search engines to crawl and index your pages.
8. Use internal linking
If you want people to stay on your website, you need to make it easy for them to find their way around. Internal linking is one of the best ways to do that. Using internal links, you can help visitors navigate your website easily and direct them to the most relevant content. We’ll show you how to use internal links to improve your website’s navigation.
What are Internal Links?
Internal links are hyperlinks that connect one page on your website to another page on your website. They’re different from external links, which are hyperlinks that connect one website to another website.
For example, let’s say you have a blog post about the benefits of meditation. Within that blog post, you could include a link to an article about how to meditate. That would be an internal link because it’s linking to another page on your website. Alternatively, you could include a link to a study about the benefits of meditation. That would be an external link because it’s linking to a page on another website.
Now that we’ve covered what internal links are, let’s look at how you can use them effectively on your website.
1. Use keyword-rich anchor text: The anchor text is the text that appears in blue when you hover over a hyperlink. When creating internal links, make sure to use keyword-rich anchor text so that visitors and search engines will know where the link is going and what they can expect to find there.
For example, if you’re linking to an article about meditation techniques, then a good anchor text would be “meditation techniques” or “how to meditate.”
2. Link to relevant pages: When deciding which pages to link to, make sure that they’re relevant to the page you’re linking to. For example, if you have a blog post about the benefits of meditation, then it would make sense to link to an article about meditation techniques or even an article about the history of meditation.
However, it wouldn’t make sense to link to an article about yoga or Tai chi because those aren’t related topics.
3. Don’t overdo it: It’s important not to overdo it with internal linking because too many links can be overwhelming for visitors and reduce the quality of your content in the eyes of search engines. A good rule of thumb is to limit yourself to 3-5 internal links per webpage.
4. Use descriptive linked text: Whenever possible, try using descriptive linked text so that visitors will know where the link is taking them before they click on it. For example, instead of using “click here,” try using “learn more about meditation techniques.” This will give visitors a better idea of what they can expect before they click on the link.
Using these eight tips can help improve your website navigation and make it easier for visitors to find the information they’re looking for. Implementing these tips will also help improve your website’s SEO because they can help search engines crawl and index your pages more effectively.