How To Set Up A Website Navigation Menu
When you go about setting up a website for your freelance consultancy business or your new start up business venture, you'll need a site with a clear website navigation bar.
Of course, that goes without saying. You can't be in business today without one. So, in our series on how to set up a successful website, let's take a look at some Navigation Rules for mapping out your website.
Use these top rules to develop a simple and consistent navigation map:
- Think and plan pages in a logical order
- Write out a few simple navigations to get into the swing of things and see how it works e.g. does a vertical navigation menu or a horizontal menu offer ease of access to pages?
- Check other sites for the best and worst navigation maps
- Keep your ‘Calls to Action’ visible and easy to find
- Links must be clear as well as the words you use to link
- Images that the user clicks on must be concise and relevant to the information they are leading to
- 5 – 8 main headings are ideal, more can be cluttered
- Keep the text headings short and simple
- Website navigation bar buttons, branding graphics and logos must be in the same place on all of your site pages
- Graphics and images increase the download time so avoid over use of these for navigation
- Ensure it is easy to find info or your visitors will bounce away
- A site map and a search box will help if they get stuck
- Use quick links as locators for content
- Use hyperlinks in your text, carefully sprinkled with keywords (more on this in Pimp My Site) to provide easy access to related pages
- When you put yourself in your visitors’ shoes, try to anticipate what information they will need next and ensure that your navigation flows easily from page to page
- Use the ‘three click rule’, which is exactly that – three quick and easy clicks to get to any important page on your site. I know this is not always possible, but keep it in mind to get as few clicks as possible to important areas
- Use your postcard system or produce a diagram that shows the structure and logic behind the content, presentation and navigation
- Start with a skeleton of the main areas, building up your stick figure with pages of content. This is easily changed as you research and muse more on your navigation map
- Consider using an iMind Map for your navigation, go back and look at my example under brainstorming
- Include a news page or media room – more on this in the PR and Free Publicity Resources.
- Large sites use breadcrumbs- find out what breadcrumbs are.
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