Can you believe we’re already approaching the final months of 2019? In Australia, it’s time to put the ice blocks in the freezer, pull the pool cover off and start thinking about long days spent on the beach.
But the end of the year is also a great time to think about ways to make more sales in 2020. One of those things should be how to improve your website navigation to ensure you’re getting the most business out of your website.
Having worked with more than 4,000 businesses on their websites, you could say we know what we’re talking about on this topic. So, to help you out, we’ve put together a list of our most frequently seen website navigation issues and some tips on how to fix them.
Of course, if you need some more hands-on help, our web design and development team are a call away.
How your website navigation can impact your sales.
When a user enters your website, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to find:
- Who you are.
- What you do.
- Where you are/service.
- Why trust you.
- How to contact you.
The harder it is for them to do this and the longer it takes them, the higher your chances are of them never contacting you. It’s harsh, but it’s true. And there are many different things that can impact this, some of which you can find below.
9 Website Navigation Best Practices to Use in 2020
1. Ditch your website home button.
Why you should remove your website home button.
The only reason you have a homepage is to show a brief snippet of who you are, what you do, why use you and how to contact you on one page. Its purpose is to entice the user to explore deeper into your website. If you’ve created your website right, there is no reason for that person to go back to the homepage.
How to send people to your homepage without a home button.
Let’s say there is something on your homepage people may want to get back to. How do they get back to your homepage with a home button? Your logo.
Majority of people know if you click on a logo, you’ll go back to a homepage. Now, the user’s attention can be on the buttons driving them to your product, services or contact pages.
2. Display all your products and services in a dropdown.
Why displaying all your products and services is good for users.
Once people have seen you are where they need you to be and you do what they want, they’ll head straight to your product or service pages. And they’ll want to get to what they want fast.
By seeing everything you do or sell under one dropdown will help users effortlessly reach what they want.
How to display products and services if you have a lot of them.
Under your products, services or what we do menu, have a dropdown of every main product or service you offer. You may even want additional dropdowns if you have sub-categories. For example, you may sell men and women’s clothes, so you have those as your first set. Then, you can have further dropdowns with shirts, dresses, pants, accessories, etc. for easier website navigation.
3. Consider breadcrumbs in your website navigation plan.
Why your website needs breadcrumbs.
If the user does need to navigate through a few different pages to get to the final result, breadcrumbs are a way they can return to a past page without hitting the back button multiple times. They’re very common for listing or shop websites. It also tells users where you are and informs Google of your website navigation structure too.
How to use breadcrumbs in your website navigation.
Best practice for breadcrumbs is to display them at the top of the page above the heading, using arrows in between each page. This is where you would put a link to your homepage to direct people back to the main search bar. Each page in the list, besides the one they’re on, should be clickable and return the user to that page.
4. Increase your website’s page speed.
Why you need to speed up your website
This one is a bit of a no brainer. If anything in life takes too long, people will leave. In fact, Crazy Egg claims a 1 second delay causes a:
- 7% decrease in conversions.
- 11% fewer page views.
- 16% drop in customer satisfaction.
Your website speed will also impact your SEO. Google and other search engines assume when a website is slower, users will most likely leave it. So, if another website can solve the user’s needs and has fast page speeds, then Google will most likely put them above you in search results.
5 ways to increase your website speed.
- Optimise your images.
- Remove unnecessary code.
- Use reputable local website hosting.
- Enable lazy loading.
- Ensure your website is mobile responsive.
5. Sort out your footer.
Why you need to organise your website footer.
What do you do if you’re having trouble finding something on someone’s website? Chances are you scroll to the bottom of the page. That’s because a good footer will contain a summary of the main product or service pages, contact details, terms and conditions, a sitemap and ad hoc pages.
How to structure a website footer.
In your footer, you’ll want a section for your main website pages, other essentials and then your contact details. Your essentials may include your FAQ page, terms and conditions, competitions pages, etc.
Website navigation best practices show you should have everything in neat columns, using headings to separate your three sections.
6. Create a sitemap.
Why every website needs a sitemap.
A HTML sitemap is a single page with a list of every single page on your website. The purpose of this is to help people navigate your website if they are having trouble finding what they need. By having a sitemap you’re giving people another option to find what they’re looking.
Where to put a link to your sitemap.
Once you’ve created your sitemap, list it in your footer. This way it’s accessible on every page, and people know exactly where to go for directions, if they need them.
7. Ensure your contact details are loud and proud.
Why you always want your contact details available.
At any time while anywhere on your website, a user should be only one click away from being able to contact you. The easiest and most user-friendly way to do this is add contact details to your navigation bar.
The best way to display contact details on your website.
But the question is, do you use a simple ‘Contact Us’ button with a link to your contact page, an actual phone number, address or something else? It depends on your audience. To find out, the best way is to run A/B testing to see what they prefer.
You may even want to test out wording versus numbers or symbols. Does your audience like a phone symbol or an actual phone number? Find out!
8. Simplify your website navigation.
Ways to simplify your website navigation.
Never underestimate the power of simplicity. Something as simple as having a search bar, filters or categorisation could be the difference between someone finding what they need or not.
If you’ll be building your own website, sketch out how someone can navigate through every single page. Can’t do it? Your website is too tricky. Start again.
9. Sort out your mobile website functionality.
If you have an older website, even a cheaper built one, there is a chance it’s not made to be responsive to mobile devices. This means a images, videos and text may run off screen, buttons may not work, pop-ups may occur and a host of other issues.
Not only is a non-responsive website messing with your SEO, it’s deterring users.
Feature image source: Annie Spratt on Unsplash