*This is a collaborative post
If you’re going to make a success of your business, your website is going to be a key part of that equation. Right now, people tend to look at a business’s website before they decide whether or not they want to work with that company. It really is as simple as that. So if you want to make sure that people stick around and make a purchase on your site, navigation is key.
When we talk about website navigation, we’re talking about how easy it is for visitors to your website to get around and find exactly what they’re looking for. That whole process shouldn’t ever be difficult, frustrating or time-consuming. If it ever does become any of those things, that’s only going to be bad news for your business and its chances of success. So maybe now is the time to make your website easier for customers to navigate.
We’re going to talk about that more today. There’s plenty that can be done that’ll help you make your site easier to navigate for your customers, and you’ll find out more about those changes below.
Put the Navigation Bar Where People Expect to Find It
Putting a navigation bar in place at the top of your website is obviously very important and something that you should have no trouble doing. However, you might find that you’re doing it wrong or putting it in the wrong place. Sure, you might want to be creative and do things a little differently, but if that also involves confusing your customers, it’s not a smart move. Instead, you should put your navigation bar where people expect to find it. That’s usually at the top of the page.
Make Sure There Are Tabs for the Things That Are Most Important to Your Audience
Making sure that you have the right tabs along the navigation bar is going to be important as well. When people come to your website because they think your business might be able to help them in some way, they’ll probably be looking for something specific. If they don’t see that specific thing or a related category in the navigation bar at the top of the page, they might not even bother to look any further. That’s why you need to satisfy those customer needs right away and not leave them to find it themselves.
Ensure Text is Always Easy to Read
This might sound like an obvious one, but it’s something that lots of websites still get wrong. If people are going to find their way around your website and have a good time doing so, it’s important to ensure your text is legible and easy to read. If it’s not, you’re going to find that people hate using your site and leave at the soonest opportunity. If the text is a mess and it doesn’t work well in terms of the colors and the background, then you’ve got a problem.
Make the Website Fully Responsive
These days, people will rightly and understandably expect your website to be fully responsible. If it’s not, they’re not going to be able to use your website on their mobile devices. That’s a problem because more than ever, people are using their smartphones and other mobile devices to browse the internet. That means you’ll immediately be making your website almost impossible to use and navigate for people who are not using a laptop or desktop computer. That’s a huge mistake and one that can be severely punished.
Make Sure There’s a Functioning Search Option
It always makes sense to add search bar functionality to your website. So if you don’t have that in place already, it’s something to add at the soonest opportunity. When you make it possible for people to search your website, it puts them back in control and helps them to find precisely what they’re looking for in a much easier manner. Without that option, people might be clicking and scrolling for far too long to find the precise page on your website that they’re looking for. Don’t let that happen.
Use Accurate Navigation Titles
Using accurate navigation titles on your website is also important because the last thing you want to do when you’re trying to satisfy your customers and help them get more out of your website is to mislead them in any way. But that’s what can happen far too easily if you’re not careful. So be sure to use navigation titles that make sense and that allow your customers to get to where they expect to get to when they make that click. Again, it sounds obvious but it’s easy to get it wrong.
Add a Live Chat Feature
Adding some sort of live chat feature to your site might be something that you want to try out. If you don’t have that in place, your customers might struggle to get their questions answered quickly and efficiently. After all, if you’re running a small business you won’t always have someone on hand who can help with the problems the customer is having. You can learn about adding live chat for your website by following the link and finding out about some of the benefits. It makes the experience generally much more positive for the user.
Make Sure the Load Times Are Fast
When your pages load slowly, that’s a problem for your whole website. You want to make sure that you make the process of using your site smooth and effortless. But that’s not going to be the case if the pages load slowly. People don’t like waiting around and people don’t expect to these days either. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that you’re using the right hosting service and that you’re not going to leave your visitors waiting around for your pages to load. If you do, don’t expect them to stick around for long.
Don’t be Afraid to Use White Space
When you’re designing your website, it’s important to make use of white space. It’s something that lots of people overlook and it makes it hard to properly understand what’s meant to be going on in the website. With too much clutter and excesses of information, it becomes a nightmare to actually find what you’re looking for. So keep things simple and don’t be afraid to use white space to break up the text and the images. A little space will make the website more accommodating and easier to navigate.
Segment Information with Bullet Points
When you have large blocks of information on a web page, it can be difficult for visitors to find the parts of the text that are most important and relevant to them and what they’re looking for. That’s why you should rarely use large blocks of text without breaking them down properly. Instead, you should be sure to segment the information as much as possible and make use of bullet points instead. That way, people find it much easier to scan the text and find the parts of it that are most important to them.
Use Drop-Down Menus with Images
Using a drop-down menu is a good way to make your navigation bar more accommodating to the visitor. They’ll then be able to see different sub-categories and really get an idea of where their click will ultimately lead them. You can make your drop-down menu even better for the end user by including things like the number of posts next to each sub0category or an image if you’re selling products. That way, people can see what they’re going to be presented with on the next page rather than having to imagine it themselves.
Add a Footer with Extra Category Links
Having a footer at the bottom of the page that gives you information such as extra category links and different sub-categories can be a good idea. People might reach the bottom of the page having not found what they’re looking for, so it can be helpful to then present them with other links which might be better suited to their needs. This gives them a new opportunity to visit another page and might prevent them from simply leaving your site in frustration.
Provide a Site Map for the Website
It also makes sense to create a site map for your website if you haven’t done so already. This is useful for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it makes it easier for important search engines such as Google to trawl your site and rank it accordingly. It’s also helpful for people who want to find a specific page. A site map will help them do that.
Your website is the cornerstone of your business and it’s really not something you can afford to overlook. If people come to your website and don’t like what they say or get frustrated by the whole experience of trying to navigate your website, that’s not good news for anybody. So don’t make that mistake.