Navigation is something most new bloggers don’t really consider, but it’s something that can significantly affect the use of your website.
Your website navigation should be practical and intuitive to help you attract and retain your visitors. More importantly, navigation can help you direct customers to the content you want them to see.
So, whether you’re learning how to create a website from scratch, or you’re revising what you have, here are 4 navigation elements to have on your website.
- Main Menu
Web users are used to having a main menu navigation bar, so that’s the first place you should consider optimizing.
Your main menu will probably be the first menu your visitor’s use, so make sure that it’s easy to navigate, simple and logical so your visitors can easily find what they’re looking for. One of the best ways to do this is to provide only key categories and subcategories in the main menu. This will help break your website up and make it easier for people to find what they’re looking for.
- Footer Menu
Another great place to put a navigation element is in the footer. Because it’s out of the way and less intrusive, the footer menu can be a great place to put contact information, policies, disclaimers, or lay out a more complex content map. This is one of the most common places for professional information on a site and one of the first places brands and businesses will look for more info.
- Sidebar Menu
Most websites (especially blogs) have some sort of sidebar. This is a great place to put a secondary menu.
If you have a shop, you can put links to various shop items, FAQs or other links designed to increase sales and provide value to your customers.
On the other hand, bloggers who focus on content can use the sidebar menu to display specific menu items catering to various blog topics.
For instance, if you were to write about food, travel and health, each of those topics could have separate sidebars to represent the interests of the consumer.
Obviously, there are lots of ways you can utilize a sidebar menu, but it’s arguably the most effective space for naturally directing your users into a sales funnel or email list.
- Mobile Menu
The three menu types above are great for desktop and tablets, but in a world where mobile phones have taken over the internet, it’s important to make sure your main menu is optimized for mobile.
This might mean creating a separate menu all together, or making sure the menu is responsive to screen width so that it changes as the screen shrinks in size. A common type of mobile menu is the “hamburger” style menu that compresses to three lines at the top of the screen.
Now, that you know where to place your 4 navigation elements, let’s talk about some of the ways to optimize these elements.
Consistency Is Key
Like all things in life, being consistent is important for success. In this particular case, you’ll want to be consistent with your style, colors and fonts. A lack of consistency can create a sense of chaos for your visitors. In addition, if you move your menus around, it’s likely your visitors may get frustrated and go elsewhere to find what they’re looking for.
Be specific in naming your menu items. No one likes generic titles or links. Also, remember that the titles you use will impact your SEO so specifics can help you rank higher in Google.
Less Is More
Try to break your site up so the number of navigation links is minimal. You want to display your offerings, but you also want to keep things user friendly. Too many links will overwhelm your audience and send them fleeing. In addition, keep your submenus to a minimum. Recent studies suggest that subcategories off of the main menu, are a turn off to customers so try to keep those to a minimum as well.
Show User Location
When navigating your site it’s important that people know where they’re at. So, providing clues by highlighting active sections and using breadcrumbs to help your users navigate.
There you have it! You now know the 4 navigation elements you need on your website and some of the best ways to implement those elements!