Website Navigation and Web Design

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Website Navigation and Web Design

Increase the profitability of your website with better site navigation 

compassIf you have been to any website only to realize that you are struggling to find your way round, then you will recollect how frustrating such an experience was. Your instant reaction in many cases when you find yourself in such a situation is to leave the site as quickly as you can. Without good website navigation, visitors to your site will leave in droves. Without visitors, your website will just be a white elephant.

A good website navigation will help visitors to your site to easily find what they want. Assuming your visitors will always enter your website through your homepage may not be a perfect idea. Thus it will be necessary to plan your website effectively to ensure that pages on your site are effectively linked and with no dead ends. A well thought-out site plan will make it very easy for any visitors to find their way round any website no matter how complex the website is.

A good website navigation will not only help your visitors find their way round your site, it will also help search engines identify the most important contents on your site and what role each page plays in the overall layout of your website.

Good practices for effective site navigation

Use text links rather than images

Using text links, rather than images will make it easy for the search engines to crawl and also understand the website. Aside search engines many visitors are also known to prefer text links to images. Using text links will also improve the accessibility of the website.

Organize your pages according to importance or relevance

It is a good practice to create a naturally flowing hierarchy of the pages on your website. Visitors to your website will find moving from general content to more specific content a lot simpler and straight-forward. Additional pages should be fitted into the flow to make your website navigation as smooth as possible. Do not attempt to link every page on the site to one another as this will make the links complex and also confusing.

A sitemap is vital for both visitors and the search engines

A sitemap is an important component of any good website. How the pages on your website are displayed and linked can easily be identified through a sitemap. Apart from making it easier for visitors to find their way through your site, it also makes it possible for Google and other search engine robots to work out how pages connect to each other on your website. A sitemap also makes it easier for the search engine spiders to index your entire website. Once a sitemap has been constructed, any extra pages you add to your website can easily be spidered by the search engines a lot quicker than if you did not have a sitemap. A sitemap that conforms to the new Google Sitemap format is a must for all websites and will greatly improve your website navigation.

An XML sitemap, submitted to Google, Bing and other search engines will make it easier for all the pages on your site to be found. On the other hand, an HTML sitemap on your website help visitors to navigate your website very easily

Breadcrumbs will improve your website navigation and help visitors find their way round.

A good website navigation will also mean that every page on your website links back to your home page. Don’t assume visitors will use the ‘back’ button to return to the main page. Many don’t; and many may not even remember where your home page is. Just like Hansel and Gretel, use breadcrumbs to help visitors find their way back to earlier pages.

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Having an effective and easy website navigation will

  • will make it easy to move from one point to another on your website,
  • help your visitors to easily identify where they are,
  • enhance the visitor experience on your website, and
  • encourage them to stay longer

These are all factors that will instill confidence in visitors to your website and encourage them to want to do business with you.

“Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity.” -Charles Mingus