Part 2: The Navigation
In Part 1 of this series, we talked about the importance of the header section of your website. Keeping it simple is best! I also mentioned that the navigation is an important part of the header, but let’s dive into that specifically this time.
The navigation is like the table of contents of your website. An effective navigation bar will give the entire website a structured, organize feel which will keep visitors on the site for a longer length of time and lead them to your call to action items.
At IMS, we have found that a two-level navigation system works best for our Essential Attorneys. This means that there are about five to nine top-level navigation items that are initially seen on the screen. Those items then have sub-menus beneath them with more detailed pages listed out. For example, “Resources” would be a top-level navigation item and “Newsletters”, “Blog”, and “Videos” would be some of the pages available in the sub-menu beneath it.
It would be visually overwhelming to list out links to every single page of your website at the top of the site, and it would take longer for visitors to find the page they are looking for. The two-level navigation system keeps things concise, organized and easy to find.
At the same time, more than two levels can get confusing and hard to navigate for web visitors. Sometimes, a special situation calls for a third level in the navigation, but we try to avoid this, as it can get kind of messy on tablet-sized devices.
Those top level navigation items also need to be descriptive both of the page they link to as well as the sub-pages below them. Properly named pages will improve usability (keeping people on your site longer), assist your SEO (helping people find your site in the first place), and increase conversions (by making pages easy to find). If web viewers find your website difficult to use and they can’t find what they are looking for within a few seconds, they’ll leave your website and never convert into potential clients. Good, descriptive navigation can also work hand-in-hand with your SEO, which can place your website higher in search engine results. It is wise to be choosy about your top-level navigation items.
Next Week: Now that we have covered the header and navigation, time to keep moving down your webpage. Next week we’ll talk about different options for the hero section and the benefits of each.