Map Your Website Pages

Okay, so you've read our feature on setting up your own start up business website and you're delving into how to optimise your site. One thing you need to be sure you get right is how to map out your website navigation so your web visitors find your business products or freelance services easily.

Quickest way to do this is to map out a brief or website navigation map (which is simply a plan of your website pages or website site map) according to the following points...

How to create the best navigation menu for your start up internet business

Contact Page

Your contact page should provide all your contact details. You should make it easy for people to get hold of you, even if you are a cyber business that doesn’t always need to see clients or customers.

Place your phone number on all your pages and have a map and directions if you need to direct people to your premises. Due to spammers I would recommend that you use a contact form for people to get hold of you by email.

Also, if you do wish to show your email address, in case people want to email direct, then spell out the words, even the word ‘at’ and the ‘dot com’ to prevent people easily harvesting your email address using automated software and then sending you spam.

This helps to prevent your email being caught in a spammer’s net and you getting tons of nonsense, unless you happen to need Viagra!

Navigation Position

There are several different navigation systems to use and, depending on the developer or software, you will find some have a left side menu or tabs at the top. And others navigate from both. These are often classed as categories, blocks or primary links.

If you have a range of products, give your visitors an easy ride by providing a search box. The quicker they can find what they are looking for on your site, the more likely they are to return again and again and do business with you.

About Us

This is a great way of including all the relevant aspects about your online business, yourself and your team. If you are struggling with space to fit a minimum amount of main navigation headings, at a push you could use this page to show your contact details, but I strongly recommend a ‘Contact Us’ page. Most people today won’t deal with a company that they can’t contact in some way. I don’t!

Tell A Friend

Use your visitors as mini marketing tools; add a page where they can tell their friends and family how wonderful your site is.

 

Mailing List

Consider the option of adding a mailing list. A mailing list gives you the chance to stay in touch and tell your fans about the great new features and content you’ve added to your site.

Copy Cat

Many sites feel they need to include a copyright statement at the bottom of the page. This is not essential, but good to have if you’re concerned about people stealing your content.

 

Terms And Conditions

If you are dealing with a member sign up area, shopping trolleys and other aspects of e-commerce, certain issues may come back and bite you so it is important to show your terms and conditions.

Some people say you may never use them and, let’s be honest, we all just tick the box without even glancing at the terms. But then, there are some diligent people who avidly read Ts and Cs like bedtime reading.

 

Privacy Policy

Your privacy policy should clearly state how you treat and protect your customers’ information. It’s essential that your policy is easy to find on your website, usually linked from your homepage or in the footer of your site.

When we set up Remote Employment we had a legal eagle go through our Privacy Policy, but if you don’t want to incur legal costs, you can draw one up yourself. Browse the web for different documents readily available to help you set up your privacy policy.

PayPal suggests that a typical privacy policy should include:

  • What personally identifiable customer information you collect
  • How the information is used
  • With whom you share and do not share this information
  • What choices are available to your customers regarding collection, use and distribution of the information
  • The choices available to your customers regarding communication from you – email, direct mail, etc.
  • The kind of security procedures in place to protect the loss, misuse, or alteration of information under your control
  • How your customers can correct any inaccuracies in the information
  • For simplicity, it is recommended you confirm clearly whether or not you intend to store or currently store financial details (credit or debit card numbers)

Here is an example, using PayPal’s privacy policy.

Finally, keeping your navigation simple and no more than 7 items in one menu, or users won’t bother reading them. You organise it into logical categories. Assume your visitors are non-web-savvvy and will not stop to work out your sections. Don’t make them think, make it blindingly obvious. Design it for a kiddie and you won’t confuse your visitors.

Breadcrumbs

A breadcrumb, or a ‘breadcrumb trail’, is a navigation path used to give visitors a way to keep track of where they are within your website.

Think Hansel and Gretel and the crumbs they left in the popular fairytale. They normally appear horizontally across the top of a web page and enable a user to find their way back through the maze of pages.

Breadcrumbs aren’t generally used in a template site and, if you have a small site, they won’t be necessary as most surfers use the back button anyway. However, on large sites with thousands of complex pages, they are crucial. If you intend to create a fancy site with the help of a developer, they can advise you on how to use breadcrumb categories in conjunction with your main navigation.

Breadcrumb example: Home > Magazine > Business Advice > How to Set Up a Home Office

or

Home > Community > Photos > Business Products And Services > Add Your Business Images.

If you want to implement this, make a note of it so you can ask your software provider or developer if they can toss a few breadcrumbs your way.

Create a Successful Website

Buy Create a Successful Website

From £12.75 and earn up to 30pts

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

Read more business advice and how to set up a website.

 

Our Readers Also Liked