Learn
Learn
Close

They Ask, You Answer

A revolutionary approach to inbound sales, content marketing, and today’s digital consumer.

Learn MoreLearn More

Free Courses in IMPACT+

Dozens of sales, marketing, and content courses inside IMPACT+. Start learning now.

See all coursesSee all courses
Events
Events
Close
IMPACT+ Membership
IMPACT+ Membership
Close
Coaching & Implementation Services
Coaching & Implementation Services
Close

Services Overview

See how you can dramatically increase your inbound leads and sales.

Services Overview

Digital Sales and Marketing Mastery

Fast track your team’s success with IMPACT's most popular service.

Digital Sales and Marketing Mastery

Web Design

Launch a beautiful website that consistently generates leads and revenue.

Web Design

Virtual Sales Training

Equip your sales team with comprehensive training designed to help them close more deals in today's virtual-first world.

Virtual Sales Training

HubSpot Training & Implementation

Train your company to take ownership of HubSpot and get the most out of your investment.

HubSpot Training & Implementation

Case Studies

See dozens of examples of companies succeeding with Digital Sales and Marketing Mastery and They Ask, You Answer.

Case Studies
Become a Coach
Become a Coach
Close

4 Tips for Optimizing Your Website Navigation For the User

4 Tips for Optimizing Your Website Navigation For the User Blog Feature

February 25th, 2015 min read

Optimizing_your_website_navigationThink of your website's navigation bar as the vehicle for all of your website traffic.

Not only are all of the important bits and pieces of your website connected to it, but it serves as a passageway for visitors to get from point A to point B.

Trouble is, if it's not functioning the way it should, all of your content is at risk of collecting dust. 

Aware that the usability is enough to make or break the lead generating capabilities of your website, it's critical that your navigation is optimized for the user.

What does that mean?

We've detailed four important tips that will help you generate a better understanding.

1. Consider the order

Alphabetical? Importance? At random?

Determining how to structure the order of your website navigation can be made simple by leveraging a tool like CrazyEgg to track the way in which visitor's are behaving with your website. Here's an example of what we're talking about:

website_navigaiton_heat_map_example

With a better understanding of what people are actually clicking on, it's much easier to make a data-informed decision to determine the way in which they should be ranked. 

While this data is certainly valuable, you'll also want to consider the "serial position effect", which states that people are more apt to remember the first and last items on a list

The reason being that items that appeared early on are distinguished from the others as a result of the primacy effect. Conversely, the items that fall at the end of the navigation remain in the short-term memory, also known as the recency effect

2. Create contrast

Quick. Which navigation stands out more?

Example_of_a_clear_website_navigation

Example_of_a_complicated_website_navigation

(I'm going to assume that was an enthusiastic, resounding, "the first one!")

When it comes to creating a user-friendly website navigation, contrast is key. A navigation that blends in with the rest of the design, is a navigation that doesn't get clicked. 

Why?

Contrast helps to create a level of interest, which ultimately works to direct the eye and ensure that the navigation elements aren't confused with the main content

3. Limit the number of menu items

Let’s say you’re looking to send your Aunt Pearl a nut basket to celebrate her acceptance into the local gardening club. (You go, Aunt Pearl!)

You input a quick Google search and land on this website:

Crowded_Website_Navigation_Example

Holy nuts.

With an astonishing 34 clickable items in the vertical navigation, it’s hard to decide what to look at first.

To avoid this overwhelming approach, Orbit Media’s Andy Crestondina recommends limiting the number of items in the navigation bar to seven.

Why seven?

The short term memory can only hold up to seven items at once, making anything more difficult to process. 

4. Don’t complicate the coding

Whether you understand code or not, it's important that you understand this...

If you want to make it easy for Google's bots to crawl and index your pages, you'll want to code your navigation in HTML or CSS rather than JavaScript, Flash, or AJAX. 

Why?

Google can't crawl what it can't read.

HTML is server-side, meaning that the information is generated on the server before the user visits the page.

With something like AJAX, the content doesn't ever exist on the page. Instead, it's rendered on page load because JavaScript is a client-side language. The trouble with this is that things that are rendered post-page load are not seen by Google.

To help clarify, here's a simplified diagram from Web Design Depot that explains how AJAX works:

howajaxworks

Point being, if you're going to spend the time to carefully create a user-friendly website navigation, you want to make sure that you're using the right code to ensure your pages actually get picked up by Google. 

Want to learn more about digital sales and marketing?

Master digital sales and marketing when you join IMPACT+ for FREE. Gain instant access to exclusive courses and keynotes taught by Marcus Sheridan, Brian Halligan, Liz Moorehead, Ann Handley, David Cancel, Carina Duffy, Zach Basner, and more.

Sign up for free
Take a peek

Access hundreds of FREE courses and keynotes

Free Course
Digital Sales & Marketing Framework for Today’s Buyers
By: Marcus Sheridan
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
A New Way to Compete & Win
By: Brian Halligan
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Virtual Keynote
How To Genuinely Feel Confident, Be Likable, And Build Trust On Camera
By: Liz Moorehead
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
The Future of Marketing is Conversational​
By: David Cancel
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Deep Dive
HubSpot On a Budget: Getting Started with HubSpot Starter Hubs
By: Courtney Caldwell
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
Assignment Selling: Content is Your Greatest Sales Tool
By: Marcus Sheridan
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
The Big, Bold, Brave New World of Marketing​
By: Ann Handley
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
Investing in Incredible Digital Sales and Marketing Results
By: Chris Duprey
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
How To Show Your Content Makes Money With HubSpot Marketing and Sales Hubs
By: Liz Moorehead
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Virtual Keynote
The Visual Sale
By: Marcus Sheridan & Tyler Lessard
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
Marketing Tech: What’s Now, What’s Near and What’s Not Anytime Soon?​
By: Dharmesh Shah
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
Inbound Lead Generation & Conversion Optimization
By: Carina Duffy
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Virtual Keynote
Fundamentals of Videography: You Can Be a Great Videographer Too
By: Zach Basner
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Deep Dive
The Ultimate Customer Service Toolkit for Any Budget
By: Andriti Gulati
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
6 Topics Subject Matter Experts Need to Address
By: Kevin Phillips
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
Fanocracy: The Power of Making Business Personal​
By: David Meerman Scott
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
The Power of Pillar Content
By: Liz Moorehead
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
SEO for the Future
By: Franco Valentino
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
Fundamentals of Social Media Marketing
By: Stephanie Baiocchi
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Deep Dive
A Practical Guide To Video Graphics
By: Colton Trcic
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Session
How To Get Your Community To Know, Like, And Trust You With Video
By: Marki Lemons Rhyal
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
Video Sales and Marketing Strategy
By: Zach Basner
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Here Are Some Related Articles You May Find Interesting

Want to Contribute Content to impactplus.com? Click Here.

IMPACT+ Sign Up
A FREE online learning community with on-demand courses, hundreds of expert-led sessions, thousands of your peers ready to support you, and much more.
Check it out
Hundreds of courses and recorded keynotes, completely FREE
Check it out
Access hundreds of digital sales and marketing courses and recorded keynotes, completely FREE