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Keeping the Navigational Side of Your Website Organized

Oct 02nd, 2014

You can have the greatest business in the world, e-commerce or otherwise, but if your website is lacking in navigational organization, the website alone could ruin it. The world of the Internet is so fast today, and there is so much competition between businesses and their websites. If yours is lacking, it won’t take long for customers to abandon it and instead go to your competitor’s website. And, a recent study done by Social Triggers found that no matter how great the business concept or business model, the majority of customers will turn away from it if they can’t navigate through it smoothly. So, how do you make sure that they can?

Start by knowing the Golden Rule of website navigation, the 3-click rule. This rule states that any page within your site should be accessible by three clicks. So make sure that there are clear links to every page on your site right on the landing page; and if there are pages that are buried deep within your site, make sure you have a link to a sitemap on the landing page. The sitemap is a list of every page on your website, so if customers can simply visit it, find what they need and click on it, you’re golden. Just so long as it doesn’t take more than three clicks to get to any page, you’ll be keeping within the rule and keeping yoru website’s navigation organized.

Secondly, use tags and use them wisely. Tags are a great way to categorize different pages and there are many different types of tags. This may seem redundant to the business owner, but the different types of tags will be very helpful to visitors. Tags fall into the three categories of crucial, optional, and irrelevant. Crucial tags are those that apply to everyone that comes to the site, and visitors should be able to find whatever they need using these tags. So if you have a wedding planning site, “Bride,” “Groom,” or “Wedding Party” are great examples of crucial tags. Optional tags on the other hand, will refine the results so that if someone clicks on “Wedding Party,” they’ll then be taken to “Ushers,” “Bridesmaids,” or “Maid of Honor.” Users will only get to these pages though, after they’ve clicked on the crucial tag of “Wedding Party.” Irrelevant tags then, are tags that are only seen by the site’s administration staff and not the general public. These include things such as word count and the date the post or page was published.

Lastly, you need to make it very simple for users to start their search again, or go back and start searching for something else. This is important on every single website, no matter what product or service you’re offering, and it’s very easy to do. Simply provide visitors with a way to get back to the home page, whether that’s through a “Home” button on the bottom of every page, or whether they can click on the name of the website found at the top of every page. Visitors don’t want to click back hundreds of times any more than they want to click forward and so, you need to make it easy for them.

It doesn’t matter how brilliant your website or business is. If your website isn’t easy to move through, visitors aren’t going to stick around to figure it out. Follow these tips to ensure that they do!