New age information seekers are an impatient bunch. They hop on hop off various website to get the most appropriate answers to their questions. If the information they seek is readily available for them and meets their search criteria, they will applaud the website and return to it time and again. However, if the information is absolutely what the web surfer needs, but is hidden within the many folds of the website and is not easily accessible, it will take the website down in popularity. It can be effectively established that website navigation is one of the most crucial aspects that dictate the popularity of a website.
What really is an effective navigation? For a website to be liked and appreciated for its worth, it must make sense to an average person. While designing a website one must not get carried away and lose sight of the basic purpose of the website. Also, the thing that one must bear in mind while designing a website is that 'the customer is always right'. While designing your website and deciding the navigation layouts, you must keep in mind the intended audience of the website. This will help you attract the right clientele to your website and ward off random visitors who would make no purchases, add no worth and only increase the bounce rate of your website.
Most websites exist to either inform the visitors about a product or service or actually sell the product or service. Thus, the navigational elements must be aptly positioned. All pages in the website must be properly linked. There must not be any open links and dead ends in your website This tip will go a long way in enhancing the user's experience and would also help your website climb the 'favorites' charts. Standard conventions must be used for the links, such as buttons, menus, underlined texts or changed fonts or color of text. It is prudent to resist the temptation of using fancy names for links. This might just end up confusing the visitors and they might even give up on your website and skip to the next.
However, if you absolutely cannot avoid using a non-conventional link, make sure you explicitly tell the visitor that this is a link. Always keep in mind the time tested 'three click rule'. A visitor to any website does not prefer clicking more than three times to get the relevant information that he is seeking. Thus make sure that every bit of information that you provide on the website can be accessed within three clicks from any page on the website.
Provide the links to all pages effectively in the top menu of the website. The left side and right side navigation can be specifically set aside for blog, company news, company tidbits, etc. this would make the website interactive. The bottom menu can contain the policies of the company website The links to internal pages must be effectively highlighted. It is proper for you to mention the size of a file if it is a downloadable item. This would enhance the user experience. In case of e-commerce websites, the shopping cart option must be clearly given and defined.
A site map is an excellent option for giving a user an insight into the working of your website. It can be given on every page, and thus help make sure that, at any time during browsing through your website, a user does not feel lost or clueless. A good navigation system quietly increases sign ups, customers, sales, clients, etc. through your website by working its unmistakable magic.
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