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Navigation – how to nail the structure of your site

Luke Wakefield - Monday, February 18, 2013

Navigation is not just about structuring your website for Google. More and more companies are realising just how easy it can be to lose traffic if your navigation is poor.

When surfing the web, we’re incredibly impatient. You’ll be familiar with the setup: you stick a search term into Google, click on the first result and find yourself in a mess of information. You can’t locate the menu, let alone the information you were searching for. You immediately hit that back button and select an option from further down the page.

A clear menu

The most critical thing of all is to have a clear, attractive navigational bar that people immediately notice. Someone may be arriving at your site purely to find your contact details, so having a clear ‘get in touch’ menu item will secure that phone call or email.

Entice your readers

A good way to structure your navigation and draw readers deeper into your site is to use themed pages. By focusing a group of pages around one central theme, you’re more likely to retain users as they browse around the section that drew them in in the first place.

Make sure that you include various links throughout that draw the user back and forth through al the themed pages.

Using a sitemap

Including a sitemap can be an extremely good idea to cover all your navigational bases. A clearly laid out sitemap can help many users find exactly the page they’re looking for, without having to trawl through each of your menus.

Make sure that your sitemap is laid out clearly and hierarchically for ultimate ease of use.

Deep links

A popular method of traffic retention is using deep links – links to other, relevant content in your website. The keyword there is ‘relevant’. Using deep links is a great way to hold on to your visitors once they arrive at your website.

For example, if you sell graphic design services and you have a blog post about logo design, select a prominent phrase (such as ‘finding a good logo design service’) and link this directly to one of your services pages. If someone is reading up on logo design, the chances are high that they might consider using your service.

But please make sure your deep links are relevant and useful to your readers, or you’ll quickly lose them!

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