6 Website Navigation Best Practices for Technology Marketing

Your website is a major player in your success, but poorly organized and your potential customers will run for the hills, or to your competition.

With our growing reliance on the internet, it is vital to have a website in place to support your company. That requires you to stay up-to-date on best practices around website navigation.

I have compiled some best practices I feel are most prevalent in website navigation. Take a read and pass on to your digital team!

  1. Use Generic, but Descriptive Labels (Orbit Media Solutions). Simply stating “what we do,” “products,” and “services” as the main navigation doesn’t actually tell your audience anything about you. Yes, if someone clicks one of those phrases they will learn more, but you are forcing them to do more work. Simplify the amount of steps needed so there is a better chance they will stay on your site. Dive deeper into what you offer and state that in the main navigation, so they learn quickly.
  2. No Drop-down Menus (Orbit Media Solutions). There are 3 main reasons you should avoid drop-down menus in your navigation. 1. It’s bad for SEO; the search engine crawlers miss that valuable information. 2. It’s not mobile-friendly; drop-downs can be hard to click in a small phone or tablet screen with your finger. 3. Your mind moves faster than your hand reacts. If you are interested in a specific tab, you have already decided to click on it, so the drop-down is mute.
  3. 7 Menu Items or Less (Orbit Media Solutions). The more links in your navigation, the more it dilutes the importance of each. The additional links end up competing with each other and your visitor won’t know where to click. Try to group your information to stay within 7 main navigation tabs.
  4. Action Links on the Right (Smashing Magazine). If you are including a search function, log-in function, locator function, etc. we have become accustom to them sitting on the right side of the page. Moreover, the top of the right side of the page.
  5. Include a Search Box (Smashing Magazine). Search functionality easily improves usability of your site. We want instant gratification, so allowing visitors to quickly search for what they need is a great way to keep them happy and on your site (note, this may be more necessary for websites with heavy amounts of content, but should be considered nonetheless).
  6. Determine what is Navigation-worthy Based on Activity. If you are updating your site design, it is important to look at your site analytics to determine which pages your visitors are visiting most often. Consider those pages as the main navigation and organize from there. If you are creating a site for the first time, look at your competition and give it your best shot. Once you start getting traction, study those analytics and make adjustments if necessary.

Your website is a window into the world of your company. Give it some personality, but don’t forget what is most important to your visitors – fulfilling their needs.

Orbit Media Solutions: Website Navigation Best Practices

Smashing Magazine: Horizontal Navigation Menus: Trends, Patterns and Best Practices

Photo Credit: Viewminder via photopin cc

Chris Fuller
About Chris Fuller

For over 20 years, as a partner of thinkdm2, a digital branding and marketing agency, I have helped simplify marketing for many clients. Intelligent Systems can be quite complicated, and marketing them even more so. I enjoy making the complex simple. My blog, Simplexity, is an attempt to put my experience to use for Intelligent Systems Marketers.

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