Easy navigation is as important to a site as is a good web design. In fact, without the former the latter will not earn you many hits. When a user visits your site, you have to ensure that he is not left confused, irritated and clueless. He should get what he is looking for in a matter of seconds and not loiter around the site frustrated. You will know your navigation is really poor if the visitors move out of the site without finding any specific information. The basic idea behind navigation is that it should help the visitor find the information he is looking for without having to waste much time on the site. It is important to maintain the ‘three click rule’ while setting the navigation of a site. This rule indicates that on an average a user should reach his destination within three clicks. If on any site a visitor has to click more than three times, it proves that the navigation plan isn’t good enough.
Consistent Links: It is important that the navigation plan is kept same throughout the website. If you plan to get different designs for each page, you are definitely spelling doom for yourself. An inconsistent look will drive away the visitors faster than you realize.
In-Linking/ Cross Linking: To get more traffic into your website, start in-linking or cross linking the pages. This technique means that you create back-links to other pages of the site and increase the navigation possibilities. However, in-linking doesn’t mean putting random links everywhere. Back-links should take the visitors to relevant pages and this can be done by linking articles to particular keywords. There are a few plugins available that help you make cross linking more effective.
Quick Links: On every site there should be a few prominent links that are always visible. Irrespective of which page your visitor is in, these links should appear on every page. Usually while designing a website, a right hand or left hand corner is left free for this purpose. Also have a link placed on the logo that appears on every page and that takes the visitor to the home page of the site.
Bread Crumb Navigation: Somewhere on the page also try to fit in the exact location details so that your visitor knows where he is on the site and where he can expect to go next. This leaving of trails is known as breadcrumb navigation. While designing your website ensure that your site’s name and URL are seen on every page on the site.
Top Navigation Bar: To maximize the website potential ensure that the top menu bar is located directly below the header of every page. The menu items can either be on a single link format or as a drop down menu. A dedicated navigation bar that is visible from any page ensures that with a single click a user can reach another destination of the site without much hassle.
When it comes to navigation, try sticking to the convention. It is something where similar ideas are better than getting too creative. While you get your website designed, you can experiment with the look, themes and the template but you cannot experiment with the navigation. A good-looking site will not confirm that you get huge number of satisfied visitors or that they will come back to the site again. Only a good navigation plan can ensure more traffic to the site. Remember that more visitors to the site mean more subscribers, more sales and more traffic.
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