How much time do you want your website’s visitors to spend looking around before they find what they came for? If your answer is anything other than “the shortest amount of time possible,” step away from the website. You shouldn’t be operating one, especially if it’s an online store or any other type of website that makes you money.
People don’t want to put up with a lot to be able to get what they want. You know that Google monitors your website pages’ loading speeds and factors them in when giving a ranking? You know why? Because people will move on from your page if it doesn’t load in more than a couple of seconds. So how do you think they’ll react when they have to spend whole minutes roaming around your website in search of a product they’d be willing to buy, if only they could find it.
You don’t need statistics to understand how important navigation is for a website. There are few brands and products that are interesting and appealing enough to make people want to jump through hoops to get them, and even they don’t do it. And if you’re thinking that the winding road to the products gives visitors an opportunity to find other things they might want to buy, you’re wrong. But you can still showcase your products and provide a good experience.
The Importance of Search
For the people who know what they’re looking for, the search field on your website will be the first thing they’ll go to. That’s the shortest way between them and the products they need. So it stands to reason that your website needs a robust search function.
But is that all you should expect from the search field? It should be able to do more than just work well. And in some cases, it does. For example, site search designed by Instant Search allows your website visitors to quickly and easily find what they want. At the same time, they might find other things they’ll like, because the site search can deliver recommendations. There’s your chance for cross-selling. And, it can monitor user behavior and provide you actionable data that will help you further improve both website navigation and cross-selling.
If there’s one lesson to learn from this, it’s that good navigation and sales go hand in hand. Modern tools allow you to leverage the power of Big Data processing to help you gain insights into your customers, enabling you to offer them things they want at a place they can easily find.
The most important navigation feature on most websites is the menu. And there are plenty of types of menus to choose from — there’s the dropdown menu, the sidebar menu, horizontal menu, the flyout menu, and the thing where you list links in the footer.
It’s important that you understand that each one of these options has its strengths and weaknesses. Dropdown menus can be notoriously annoying when they’re done wrong, for example. Any menu that has too many items in it will become tedious. Menus with generic labels are uninteresting. The list can go on.
But there are still ways to do menus right. You can make sure that they’re easy to use, and that they point the visitors in the direction they want to go. You should also make sure that it works on a mobile device as well.
Mobile Devices And Navigation
There’s no way you can skip having a mobile-friendly website in this day and age. You’ll miss out on all the traffic from mobile users, and they’re a very active bunch when it comes to traffic generation. There are other reasons why mobile-friendliness is the name of the game, such as Google liking it, but the one you need to understand the most is that you’d be missing out on a lot if your website weren’t mobile friendly.
Mobile navigation is one of the key areas you need to address when developing a mobile-friendly website. People don’t use a mouse with their smartphones. It’s all done with fingers, and it can be messy and imprecise, and the screens are small anyway so there’s not much room to create a nice menu. But there are ways you can make a mobile-friendly site navigation friendly. Everything from choosing the right type of menu to the right type of fonts will help people browse through your website, using their fingers alone, and buy the things you want to sell them.
When making website navigation improvements, choose the options that will bring something beneficial to the website visitors is equally as important as sticking to them. So make sure that you make good choices, and then implement them consistently.