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.

How To Set Up A Website Navigation Menu for your start up business 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.

Create a Successful WebsitePaula Wynne is the author of Create A Successful Website and the Amazon bestseller, Pimp My Site.

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