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Does Your Website Navigation Pass the Test?

Your website's navigation framework can make or break your online marketing and sales efforts. A site that's difficult to navigate or impossible to move through doesn't translate to satisfied readers; and satisfied readers don't translate to paying customers, valuable leads, or a grateful audience.

Fortunately, there are a number of questions that you can ask yourself to assess the current navigation setup of your site. Just remember: a negative answer to a question doesn't mean failure, it means a chance for improvement! Any step that you can take to improve your content's visibility or make it easier for site visitors to move from page to page is a step in the right direction.

Does Your Website Navigation Pass the Test? - Checkmarks

Is it taking too many clicks to access certain parts of your website?

Your website visitors shouldn't have to climb Mount Everest just to find a product, contact, or other important information. There are varying opinions concerning how many clicks are too many, but prevailing rules of thumb suggest that a maximum of two or three clicks is a reasonable guideline. It's easy for content to get buried if your readers need to put in much more effort than this. All of your most important content should meet this standard.

Does Your Website Navigation Pass the Test? - Minimize Clicks Animation

Are your navigation labels too broad?

Tired, undescriptive, bland navigation headers like "products" and "services" aren't going to help you better define your brand. They make navigating your site boring. Especially in tiered navigation structures, descriptive titles benefit users by communicating more effectively at a glance. Your navigation titles and headers are your first chance to tell your audience (and also search engines) about you and your brand, so take advantage of them.

Does Your Website Navigation Pass the Test? - Descriptive Navigation Labels

Is your reliance on dropdown menus getting the better of you?

If you answer to this question was a hesitant "maybe" or a full-out “yes,” we can hardly blame you. Dropdown menus are heavily normalized for navigation purposes and are an easy default. Even if you've built your site using a popular third-party platform, you were likely limited in your navigation choices - treated to options regarding which dropdown menu to choose, not a choice of whether to use one at all.

The fact of the matter is, though, that dropdown menus are aggravating for the people who visit your website. Dropdown menus present a number of problems, such as frequently blocking other content once they've been opened. They're also an easy opportunity for technical troubles, glitches in functionality, and can add lag to your site’s loading times.

Does Your Website Navigation Pass the Test? - Dropdown Menu Navigation Animation

Does your logo link back to the home page?

It might seem basic, but simple ideas quickly transform into oversights without gentle reminders. Your logo should remain clearly visible (ideally in the same spot and in the same size) on every page of your site; it's also critical that the logo links back to the homepage if visitors click on it.

There's no magic logic behind this rule; it's just something that web users expect when they visit a brand's website. If you think about any major corporation's website and how you interact with it, it's a pretty safe bet that you'll realize just how often you rely on this handy shortcut yourself.

Does Your Website Navigation Pass the Test? - Logo Returns User to Home Page

Are your navigation tools always accessible?

This question is perhaps the most important of all. Fortunately, it's also the simplest to assess and one of the quickest to fix. Your audience should be able to get to any page of your website from any other page they want or need to. Ideally, your navigation menu should remain in one consistent place on all pages, but design exceptions are a minimal issue if the other option involves leaving navigation out of certain pages altogether. Access to navigation means that your users will be able to find what they need, regardless of where they are on your site.

Does Your Website Navigation Pass the Test? - Accessible Navigation Everywhere

Website Navigation: The Key to Unlocking Your Brand's Potential

Factors like site navigation can have an incredible impact your brand's success. Some brands even opt to partner with marketing experts in order to optimize online presence, boost profits, and better target marketing efforts. Companies that understand sound SEO, marketing and web development practices can help a brand assess a site and fix navigation issues.

The keys to a successful online presence lie in ensuring that your brand's site works for your customers, rather than demanding that they work for it. Make sure you take the time to analyze every aspect of your website's navigability.

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