Easy Navigation in Your Business Website - dummies

Easy Navigation in Your Business Website

By Jan Zimmerman

You have marketing goals and objectives for your business website, but if visitors can’t find the information they want or can’t execute an action, you don’t have a chance of meeting those objectives. Most good marketing websites follow a few essential principles of navigation:

  • The main menu of options appears consistently on every page in the same place.

  • The footer of each page includes links to the main pages so users don’t have to scroll back to the top of a page to navigate elsewhere. (This is also helpful for search engine optimization.)

  • Secondary menus cue users with a glimpse of what they will find within a section.

  • A linkable sitemap or index offers the overall layout of a site at a glance. (This, too, is helpful for search engine ranking.)

  • The appearance of contextual and navigation links changes to let users know where they are and where they’ve been.

  • An onsite search engine is available for large, information- and product-loaded sites so visitors can quickly find what they’re looking for. Onsite search has a high marketing value. Be sure your developer makes results of failed searches available to you. This immediate consumer feedback tells you what your site is missing.

  • The navigation has words, not nameless icons that visitors have to remember. It’s even better if those words are also search terms. Search engines can’t read icons.

  • All contextual and navigation links are verified to be sure they work, open correctly, and go to the right content page.

Mountain Springs Lake resort deploys flyouts to the side of second-tier drop-down navigation to help users find their way around. (See the following illustration.) The most important call to action (Book online) appears in the upper-right corner above the header graphic and again to the far right of the navigation as Reserve Now.

Mountain Springs Lake resort displays drop-down and flyout navigation. [Credit: Courtesy of Mountai
Credit: Courtesy of Mountain Springs Lake Corp.
Mountain Springs Lake resort displays drop-down and flyout navigation.