Have a think about reorganising your navigation

If your website is controlled by a standard content management system, it’s really easy to play around with the navigation and layout in an effort to make it work better. It’s surprising how few website owners actually bother. For example, could your top navigation bar be organised better? Why not give it a try? It’s a 5-minute job in systems such as WordPress.

On many sites, the designers have been asked to put far more items in the top navigation bar than there’s room for. So they put the items into groups, with lists revealed once you click on the labels. That’s where the problems often set in. A sensible strategy would be to devise three or four items across the navigation bar, each with a similar level of interest to the user. Instead, we tend to get one label which contains 80% of the stuff people want hidden beneath it (e.g. ‘Products’), another which will attract the other 20% of clicks (‘About Us’) and two or three other items which nobody ever clicks. Check to see if this is the case on your home page with the Page Analytics Chrome extension.

This common error means that a great opportunity – to list what you sell – is missed. It’s easy to scan across the items on a navigation bar, and people do. Which of these tells a visitor what you sell, in under 1 second?

PRODUCTS | APPLICATIONS | NEWS | ABOUT US

or

RED WIDGETS | BLUE WIDGETS | GREEN WIDGETS | ABOUT US

There’s no reason why ‘About Us’ couldn’t reveal a list containing ‘Applications’, ‘News’ and all the other stuff which few people will ever click on.

So have a think about reorganising your navigation. Even if you can’t do the fiddly content management system stuff yourself, a website designer could do it in a few minutes, so it doesn’t cost much. Even better, set up a good before-and-after experiment using website analytics to see what the impact is.