Take a quick moment to reflect on some of the best-looking, most popular websites you’ve ever visited. If you had to name a few reasons why they were so popular, you probably wouldn’t think about big-dollar marketing campaigns or teams of designers and SEO experts working to promote the site through the ranks. Instead, you would probably think about how easy the site is to navigate; how conveniently everything is packaged up for visitors.
This is a huge selling point of any website – its navigation. However, many people do not take this part of their site seriously. Sure, they may tweak and tinker until things look streamlined and presentable.
But that’s not navigation. Building your site with proper navigation in mind is an aspect far more crucial than keyword placement, because while having new visitors to your site is important, having repeat visitation is what ultimately makes a site popular.
Navigation is about how your content is formatted and laid out, how your features present themselves to your visitors. It’s about the functionality of your site and how quickly someone can cycle through the content. It’s about a visitor realising what your website is about within the first few seconds of loading the URL, and then being able to access any part of the site without having to fumble around looking for buttons and controls.
Here are a few key reasons and explanations of why navigation is very important to your visitors.
1. Reader’s Choice
Navigation is solely for the reader/visitor. The way your content is laid out has to be ready-friendly in order to be well received. Readers want to be involved and informed at the same time. A free-flowing site without structure becomes a jumbled mess, whereas a site clear to its purpose and friendly on the eyes is appealing and interactive.
2. Grouped Content
The content on your site needs to be grouped in the proper categories in order to give your site the proper functionality. When visitors are looking to find out information or to purchase something, related items must be contained within the same group so that easy access is always provided.
3. Clear Definition
In the realm of short attention spans, your site must be clearly defined for what it is. Your visitors need to know exactly why they’re there and exactly where they’re going. Your site’s purpose should be clearly stated. Your intent needs to come through and the site must be constructed in such a manner that the visitor can easily get to where you need them to go.
4. Message Conveyance
Your website isn’t going to be that extraordinary. It’s most likely not going to be groundbreaking. It will probably be one of a large number of sites within a particular niche market. To that end, your site becomes a vessel of conveyance for the message you’re trying to send. Remember that when thinking of your navigation. This will help you cut back on the unneeded rhetoric and features.
An easy to navigate, clean site is a professional site. If everything is laid out in its proper category with a clear definition, then your website looks professional and functions in a professional fashion. And if you’re in any type of business, professionalism is incredibly important.
There is a lot you should be focusing on when designing a website, but your navigation should take precedence. You can always tweak keywords and links at a later date. Focus more on the flow of your site if you want success.