What is website navigation?
Website navigation is a bit like Google Maps for your website. It helps users easily find the information they need in the fastest time, via the most direct route. It comprises things like your website’s navigation menu or navigation bar, and navigation links like hypertext links that visitors click to get from your home page to other pages like your product pages.
Good website navigation drives better engagement and ensures that site visitors have a positive user experience, whether they’re browsing on desktop or on mobile devices. Your website navigation structure also plays a significant role in search engine optimisation, so it’s essential that you consider navigation design from the outset of the web design process.
Here are just five key benefits of a successful website navigation system:
Reduces bounce rate
Your bounce rate is determined by the number of visitors who land on your website and immediately leave again. Search engines like Google interpret this behaviour as a sign your website isn’t delivering what people expect, and so it will stop prioritising you in its search results and make your website more difficult to find.
A good website navigation can help to reduce your website’s bounce rate by utilising simple navigation menus that make it easy for visitors to find the page they need. This, in turn, can positively boost your search engine optimisation (SEO), ensuring that your website features prominently in keyword searches for your product, business, or service.
Increases visit duration
Most of the time when a visitor lands on your website, they already know what they’re looking for. Your job is to make sure they find that as fast as possible, and that’s where your website’s main navigation comes in.
Your website’s navigation plays an essential part in keeping visitors on your site for longer. Internal links, for example, create a natural way to direct users to related content, thereby helping to boost your site duration times. Digital marketing experts swear by this method so, if you want to boost dwell times, including sub navigation pathways in addition to your primary navigation is a great way to go about it.
Creates helpful user experience
A website with a good navigation has also been proven to boost user experience, with 94% of internet users citing easy navigation as their top priority according to a survey by Clutch.
Conversely, websites with too many links or internal pages (especially mobile sites) can be difficult to navigate, with users typically abandoning a website if they have to scroll various pages to find what they need.
You can improve user experience on your website by taking a common sense approach to your navigation, making sure to include any important links or categories listed in your main menu, and by using Google analytics to monitor how visitors are interacting with your website.
Users will be more responsive to call-to-actions
Call-to-actions also have a key role in encouraging visitors to interact with your website. The trick with CTAs is to make them feel natural, subtle, and not too sales-heavy. They should inspire a reader to want to take action of their own free will, not demand it.
Another call-to-action golden rule is to avoid generic phrases such as ‘click here’ or ‘read more’ in favour of more personalised prompts that align with your site’s content. Too many CTAs on the same site or on one web page can also be off-putting to website visitors.
Improve conversions on your website
Ultimately your website exists for a reason. Whether that’s educating your target audience about your cause, generating more sales, or allowing visitors to make a direct booking, your site has been developed with an outcome in mind.
Navigational design can either help or hinder your conversation capabilities, impacting how well your website delivers return on investment. Conversion assist reports are a great way of finding out what pages on your website convert the best. Once you’re armed with this knowledge you can use the methods mentioned in this post to prioritise which pages to feature in your navigation bar or navigation menus.