One of the basic and fundamental features of any quality website is navigation or usability. Once you get visitors to your site, you cannot allow them sit around staring at a page attempting to figure out what to do. It’s your task to make it easy for visitors to quickly, with little or no thinking, see what information is available and where to go to find what they’re looking for.
Before you go blasting NAV links all over the place you should first consider the style and placement location on the page. There are two primary possibilities for link style – Buttons & Text links.
Buttons – This style of link is most suited for visual appeal or aesthetics. The button size determines how much text can be placed on the button as a description. Typically you are limited to one or two short words.
Text links – This style of link is suited for providing a more detailed description of the link. This style also has a huge benefit as an SEO element.
After considering the style of the link, the next critical factor is placement. Where NAV links are placed varies from site to site, the most common place is either vertically on the left top side of the page or horizontally across the top of the page. While there are other places for NAV links I would suggest that one of these two locations be used. Most people are use to finding links on the left or top so why rock the boat? Remember you want to make navigation as easy as possible. However no matter where you place the site NAV links, it’s of the highest priority to consistently place those links in the same location on each and every page of the site.
Here are 3 additional tips for improving site navigation. Some sites place NAV links in unusual places. The most common place is across the top or down the left side of all pages. However there are three other areas for placement of NAV links that will aid visitors when visiting your site.
1) In the page footer. It can be frustrating to get to the bottom of a long page then have to scroll back to the top to find the NAV links. Having NAV links in the page footer is a nice convenience for the user.
2) In a sitemap. A sitemap should contain links to all pages within the site. This makes it easy for a user to quickly and easily find all information or pages on the site. The sitemap NAV link is typically located in the page footer. BTW – A sitemap aids search engines in finding and indexing the pages of your site.
3) Within the flow of text. If you have vital pages that you want your visitors to see you can make additional access easy by placing a NAV link in the flow of content or text. Users, when reading, can simply click the link without having to traverse the web page to find the NAV link to get to the page of interest – very cool! You can also gain benefit with search engines by using the keyword of the page being linked to as the text for the link.
For sure navigation is important for the success of your website. The easier you can make it for a visitor to travel around the site the happier they will be. This alone does not guarantee a customer will buy your product or service but it does help to ensure they won’t leave frustrated.
This article provided by Woody Longacre.