One of the single most important ways to improve your user’s experience is by creating a navigation structure that makes sense. Not only will your users be able to enjoy and use your website to its full capacity, but a great navigation is a major key to your site’s success.
1. What are your pages?
Start by listing out all of the pages you want to have on your website.
The mistake: Creating too few or too many pages.
The fix: Remember that you’ll need to create enough copy to support each of those pages. One sentence isn’t going to cut it and neither is having just a few pages with a great deal of content. Make sure for each page of content, approximately 500 – 750 words will cover it.
2. What are you going to call your pages?
Naming pages that make sense to both you and your visitors is critical.
The mistake: Naming pages in a creative way only you understand.
The fix: Name your pages in a way that makes the most sense to the most amount of people. In other words, don’t make your visitors guess what page they’re going to get when they click. Otherwise, you’ll find visitors leaving your website. (Bonus: great page names will help with SEO!)
3. How are you going to organize your pages?
Next, you’re going to organize the pages you have. The best way is to set up a site hierarchy in outline form.
The mistake: Having more than 7-8 total navigation items in any section.
Another big mistake is that you end up organizing your content in a way that is important to you, not your visitors. One of the most common mistakes we see is that the “About Us” sits higher (read: more important) in the navigation than a section like Services or Products.
The fix: That means in each of the sections (main navigation, sub navigation, tertiary navigation, etc.), there should never include more than 8 items total.
Think about what is most important to your users: themselves. Then, think about your navigation through the eyes of your visitors: lay out pages in the order that is going to be most important to least important to them.
What are your best secrets for creating the perfect navigation?