Have you ever walked into Bunnings or Mega Mitre 10 and taken a look at all the names above the aisles trying to work out where what you want to buy might be located? I’ve used Bunnings and Mega Mitre 10 as an example because frequently when I go there I feel bewildered about where I should look first and which aisle I should go down to find the item I went in to buy. There are a lot of signs, and hardware shops are generally shops which I don’t go browsing in all that often – and I’m usually looking for something specific. Websites are similar to hardware stores in that visitors are frequently looking to do something specific and may feel lost or confused about where to look first or where to click first despite the fact that you have organised your content into categories.
I’m sure you have a really good idea where your content is inside your website and how you want your customers to interact and understand it. But is this immediately apparent to your website visitors? Does your homepage and website navigation quickly give your website visitors an idea of who, what, and why they should use you? Does it provide an easy-to-use map to find your most important content? If you’re not sure, take a step back and look at it as if you are an outsider looking at your website for the first time. Does it work? If it doesn’t what can you do to correct these issues?
Give your visitors a map
A website, particularly a homepage, should clearly communicate what you offer and what visitors can do on your website. Visitors need to be able to quickly determine what your website is all about. Having good website navigation is essential to giving your visitors a sense of success and solving that dilemma. Having a clear well-organised navigation menu that clearly directs visitors to an About, Products, Services, and Contact web page is important. Make it easy for them or you’ll lose them and they’ll find another website which they understand better and that delivers them the answers to their original quest more quickly.
The goal of any website should be a pleasant experience which provides solid information and solves a visitor’s questions. It should encourage visitors to do something, commonly known as a ‘call-to-action’ – for example, fill out a contact form, buy a product, request service or download a report etc. Anything that connects the visitor to your website and makes them feel they have found what they are looking for.
Is your website navigation effective?
If you’re still not sure about whether your website has navigation issues or not, then login to your Google Analytics account and take a look at your bounce rate. The bounce rate will tell you how long your visitors spend on your site before they become frustrated and go to another site and leave yours. With any website that I work on I am always very aware when creating or improving the website navigation and the layout of the homepage that I want people to easily find information they need without feeling they have to wonder why they are here in the first place. I think about what they are looking for and I make everything easy for them to find. I know there will always be continuous tweaks and changes to websites, but website navigation and the ability for visitors to be able to easily locate information is important to get right from the very beginning. It is what differentiates my approach to website development from other some other website designers – I start by looking at web design from the point of view of what the customers are looking for and then seek to make it easy for them to find it.
Do you need help mapping your website?
If your website navigation or homepage is lacking direction or clarity I can help. I don’t want your customers to feel lost inside the virtual equivalent of a Bunnings or Mega Mitre 10 store again. Your web design should look good and work effectively – not just one or the other.