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Are You Making One Of These Website Navigation Mistakes?

When designing and creating content for your website, how much time was spent planning out the navigation?

Although often overlooked, navigation items on a website have a significant impact on website visitors’ flow through each page.

In order to increase the user-friendliness of your website, make sure your organization isn’t guilty of committing these five most common website navigation mistakes by Kissmetrics!

1. Use Standard Placement For Easy Use

Alleviate confusion  and save search time for your website visitors by placing your navigational menus in common locations on your site – either horizontally along the top of your page or vertically down the lefthand side.

The intent of navigation menus is to help website visitors locate specific content within your site as quickly as possible.

Placing the navigation bars in places that visitors expect to find them automatically increases your website’s usability and will likely decrease your bounce rate and lead to higher conversions.

FC Pittsburgh

2. Use Obvious Labels To Direct Traffic

When creating the titles for your navigation, use words and phrases that describe what will be found beneath each section. Generic labels, like “Services” do not properly communicate what the visitor will find.

Properly describing each section will help reduce your bounce rate and will keep visitors reading the appropriate page for longer periods of time.

Using more specific labels will also increase your relevance with search engine rankings. Labels that utilize popular and descriptive keywords are more likely to rank favorably.

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3. Limit Your Use of Drop Down Menus

According to usability studies conducted by the NN Group, drop-down menus are considered annoying amongst website visitors. Eye movements work much faster than visitors are able to move the mouse, so before hovering over a drop-down menu, the user’s eyes have already made a decision about which item to click on. This conflict creates a moment of dissonance for the user.

An exception to this rule applies if the website has large drop-down menus with a high number of options. Sites with many sections utilizing drop-down options may improve usability.

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4. Narrow Down The Navigation Options

Short term memory can hold up to seven items at a time. What does that mean for your website? Including more than seven items in your navigation bar can be overwhelming to the user.

Removing one label from the list increases the importance of the the remaining items. Users will spend more time evaluating each option as a result.

Limiting the number of navigation items also benefits your website when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO). Your Home Page, most likely containing more links than the interior pages of your website, has the most authority with search engines. Too many links in your navigation causes less authority to be passed down to each interior page.

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5. Order Matters

The order of items in the navigation menu matters. Visitors have the highest attention and retention for items that are at the very beginning and very end of the list.

Place your most important labels at the beginning of your list, your least important information in the center, and finish again with important items (like “Contact”).

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For help creating and managing your website’s navigation items, reach out to Demosphere’s Support Team at support @ demosphere.staging.wpengine.com.

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Kris Baker

Kris Baker is the President of Demosphere and has been serving the Youth Sports Community since 2006.