The better your website navigation, the higher your chances of conversion.

Unlike the informational architecture of your site (i.e. the underlying organization that defines the relationship between your site’s content and its function) your website navigation essentially serves one purpose: to help users find the information they need. Your nav bar may be just a few pixels on the screen, but when it comes to ushering visitors through your website and towards a purchase, a well-organized navigation system is an invaluable asset.

The good news? When it comes to website navigation, these tried-and-true practices will serve you well. Above all, your navigational infrastructure should aim to accomplish these three objectives:

Tell a Story

When a consumer clicks through to your site, they should be able to immediately understand what your company is all about — regardless of what page they’ve landed on. How your navigation options are worded, therefore, should reflect the image you’re trying to project to consumers.

Think about the target persona you’ve developed for your marketing campaigns. What other sites are they looking at? What aesthetic appeals to them? What industry-specific jargon do they already know, and what will you have to clarify? The more specifically you can tailor your narrative to your audience, the greater the chance they’ll actually click through your site.

Promote Your Business

Companies tend to think that the goal of website navigation is to pave the way (AKA link) to every single page they’ve built and populated with content.

Quite the contrary, in fact: most consumers prefer a minimalist approach in which you provide only the information they absolutely need. Brand publishers don’t need to link to certain pages in the main navigation (e.g., the About, FAQ, or Contact pages) just because they exist. Although some of these pages are fairly essential (after all, you need to provide some basic information about your brand), none of these add any real value to the user experience. So when you’re building out your site navigation, be sure to put your best foot forward by linking only to pages that are sure to impress (or at least inform) potential customers.

Let Visitors Know They’ve Arrived in the Right Place

Considering that the majority of mobile users will only wait 6-10 seconds before abandoning a page that won’t load, it should come as no surprise that rapid communication is the key to holding consumers’ interest. Whether people discover your publication via a social media channel or search engine, they’ll all have the same question in mind: how is this website (and what it has to offer) relevant to me?

Regardless of how a consumer came to your site, it’s up to you to convince them why they should stay — and that’s where navigation can play a crucial role. Your website (via your navigation) needs to send strong visual signals to your visitors telling them that they’re in the right place — in other words, the language you use matches their search query, the call-to-action of your social post or advertisement, or the messaging from your remarketing campaign.

Longneck and Thunderfoot offer search engine optimization and analytics services to help businesses transform their websites into visible sources of knowledge online and answer the questions that matter most to your prospects. Learn more about SEO and analytics here.