Navigation can make or break your website: This one factor can influence a website's success or failure more than any other aspect of web design. It plays a big part in the user-friendliness of a website, it has an impact on search rankings, and it can affect a site's conversion rate.
Unfortunately, a few common navigation mistakes can really decrease the effectiveness of your overall web design. Let's check out some of these errors and see how to avoid them on your website.
1. Generic Navigation Labels
When you're planning your website's design, try to make your navigation labels as descriptive as possible. A label that says "Products" really doesn't tell visitors anything useful; you can help lower your bounce rate by having your navigation actually show your products and services. Incorporating relevant keywords into your navigation can also help you score points with the search engines.
2. Too Many Drop-Down Menus
Having too many drop-down menus can be problematic: There are multiple reasons to avoid them in your web design. First of all, search engines often have a hard time crawling them. From a usability perspective, drop-downs often annoy users. They go to click on a menu item, and then they're presented with even more menu options. Drop-down menus also lead visitors to overlook top-level pages.
3. Putting Your Navigation in Unexpected Places
Daring to be different can really help your web design stand out from the pack, but your navigation isn't the best place to showcase this creativity. Visitors expect navigation to be in certain places: located horizontally across the top or vertically down the left side of the page. Planning a web design that has navigation in the standard spots will make your site easier to use and keep your bounce rate down.
4. Too Many Menu Items
We'll all seen websites with way too many links on their home page. This kind of cluttered web design makes it hard for visitors to spot important items in your navigation. Removing unnecessary menu items from your web design makes all the remaining items stand out. Not only is a concise menu more user-friendly, but it also has SEO benefits. A navigation that's cluttered with too many links dilutes your site's "link juice", which means that less authority is passed to the rest of your site's pages.
Navigation mistakes can be costly, but they're also easy to avoid when you're planning your web design. If your current web design contains any of these errors, take the time to improve your site's navigation: The results will be worth the effort.