When your site visitors hit your home page for the first time, it takes a second or two for them to orient themselves.
It’s a little like walking out of a dark room on a bright summer day. Their eyes have to acclimate to what they see and take in the structures around them before they can move forward.
It turns out these first few seconds on your site are crucial. If your visitors can’t find what they’re looking for easily, they just click away and go to the next site on the long list the search engine gave them.
What can you do to keep them on your website? How can you make them feel welcome and comfortable from the moment they arrive?
It starts with your site’s navigation menu
Your navigation menu is your website’s unsung hero. It’s the tour guide that’s available 24/7 to show site visitors where things are.
Read on to discover how you can make your navigation menu work best, and scroll to the bottom to sign up for next week’s Brown Bag Webinar called “Structure Your Site for Success,” where you’ll find out even more about how to make your hard-working navigation menu the best it can be.
Get your basics covered
Website navigation menu naming conventions have developed over the past twenty years, and visitors expect to see them on every site they visit. The big three are:
- Home page: A welcome page and home base.
- About page: Where your site visitors find out more about the people behind the business.
- Contact page: How to get in touch with your company and take the next step.
There are two more page types you should consider adding to your navigation menu:
- Products/Services/Store page: The “commerce” section of your site. The title of this page will vary according to your business model.
- Updatable content page: Search engines love sites with content that updates often. The most common way to make this happen on your site is to add a blog. You don’t have to write 2500-word blog posts several times a week, though. Consider adding videos, inspirational quotes, audio interviews, resource lists, “recipes” (not necessarily for food), and posts about sales or discounts. Use your imagination, but find a way to update this section at least a few times a month.
Use logical language
Your navigation menu is not a place to get clever. Put your creativity to one side (save it for your content), and use plain language everyone can understand to direct visitors so they can easily find what they’re looking for.
So instead of “The Scoop on Our Team,” say “About Us.” And instead of “Good Stuff You Can Use,” say “Products.”
When in doubt, go with the words most commonly used to describe each section of your site.
Have a clear path to your popular pages
If you’ve spent any time with your site analytics, you should have a good idea of which pages are most visited on your site.
Make them easy to find. Put them front and center under a menu item called “Popular” or “Start Here.” Consider creating a menu (or submenu) item of its own for this category of information.
Your navigation menu is an important “guide” to your site’s content. Get it working for you today!