building proper website navigationMany great businesses fail in the online market because they have no clue what they are doing when building a website.  They buy a domain name, get hosting, and quickly begin creating their website.   7 days and 50 pages later the site is complete and looking great… or is it?  After a few months you start looking at your site a little deeper and notice a few concerning things, but most of all you notice that your site traffic is horrible.  What did you do wrong?  Most likely a lot of things went wrong.  This post focuses specifically on how proper website navigation makes it easier for visitors to navigate through your site.

You should have one main goal in mind when building your professional website; to attract visitors, which in turn delivers more business.  Build your website the right way, with proper thought behind every move.  BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING ELSE, outline your plan of attack.

Build your website navigation like you are building a grocery store

Imagine walking into a grocery store without aisle signs, or without any other type of structure that directs you on finding items.  Without signs and structure, your shopping experience is going to be long and confusing and will most likely convince you to never come back again.  Don’t create a website without aisle signs!  Make the user experience flow as smoothly as possible.  Achieve this fluidity with easy navigation for your pages.

Create A Development Plan for Website Navigation

A development plan should be put into place BEFORE you begin creating pages for your site.

  1. Create page ideas: Don’t over think this step; just write down anything that you think deserves its own page on your website.  Just like the grocery store that showcases its products, so shall you.  After compiling your great list of page ideas trim it down by getting rid of duplicate ideas. Tip:  no product is too big or small to showcase, show the world everything you have to offer.
  2. Create Your Website Categories = Create Your Grocery Aisles: These categories are like the aisles of grocery stores.  You know that if you are on the canned foods aisle you are going to find canned chicken soup, not something crazy like cold milk.  Tip:  Use general category names so visitors can easily find what they are looking for.
  3. Move your page ideas into their proper categories: Now that you have a list of your page ideas AND a list of your page categories, it’s time to combine them.  Move each page idea into a category that best fits it.  You will notice that some categories have more page ideas than others, don’t worry, it’s OK and natural for any business.  Don’t make up useless page ideas to even them out.

The 3 steps above should be a priority when you are first building your website navigation.  The category sections can be your main navigation and the page ideas can be your sub-navigation within those categories.   You can set up the navigation with breadcrumbs or a simple drop-down, the possibilities are almost endless.  Summary:  When you build your website navigation using the “grocery store mentality” you’ll find that visitors and search engines alike will have an easier time finding what they want.

-Aaron Kruse (SEO Specialist for LeadRival)