Perhaps one of the biggest factors to keeping visitors on your website is having a good, solid navigation system that supports all search preferences. In fact, more than three-quarters of survey respondents from a recent HubSpot study say that the most important element in website design is ease in finding information.
If people can’t find what they are looking for, they will give up and leave.
Think of it another way. Suppose you own a brick & mortar store. Potential customers find your store, walk by, and peek in the window. If they can't quickly recognize that you have what they need, then they're likely to move on without ever entering your store. It's the same way on the web. People don't have the time or patience to figure out whether you have what they need. It's easier to just move on to the next website.
If you're doing inbound marketing, you've already done the work to Attract visitors and get them to your front door. Now, you want them to Convert. It only makes sense to make the experience as simple as possible.
Listed below are some simple tips to ensure your site's navigation is optimized:
- Keep the structure of your primary navigation simple (and near the top of your page)
- Include navigation in the footer of your site.
- Use breadcrumbs on every page except for the homepage, so people are aware of their navigation trail.
- Include a Search box near the top of your site so visitors can search by keywords (when it makes sense).
- Don’t offer too many navigation options on a page.
- Don’t dig too deep – in most cases it’s best to keep your navigation to no more than three levels deep.
- Include links within your page copy and make it clear where those links go to . This is also great for SEO!
The overall rule with a proper navigation structure is simple: Don’t require visitors to have to think about where they need to go and how to get there. Make it easy for them.