Don’t Make ‘Em Work For It: Seven Tips to Fix Your Website Navigation

brand strategy conscious business customer journey Aug 17, 2022


Have you ever been to a website and can't figure out how to get to the information you need? Everything is all jumbled or crowded or just plain ugly.


Then as you give it one more go, and look through the navigation menu to find that thing that you can't, you finally give up and click out. 


Well, get used to it because more and more web designers are trying to be creative with menu designs, which unfortunately, leads to common website navigation mistakes.


A website’s navigation is one of the most critical elements in a site’s design. Your visitors need to use the navigation to be led to find the info they are looking for - fast. 


If the navigation trips up the user and they have to work too hard for it, they will likely get frustrated and leave the site altogether. 


Simply put, website navigation should be straightforward and intuitive. 


When you give attention to your website navigation, and don’t get fancy, it can make your website shine in search engines. 


Here are 7 tips to fix your website navigation today: 


1. Be descriptive

Tell your visitors what you do – don’t call it “What We Do” and expect anyone to get curious. 

This is where your ideal client, SEO research, and Soul Story comes into play. What do your ideal clients want to know? Answer that in the navigation bar (in as few words as possible) and you’re golden.

Warning! Avoid labels such as “services” and “solutions.”

Here we use the actual product names in the nav bar instead of “Services”


2. Don’t use your navigation bar like a file folder

Nobody ever goes to a website to look at testimonials or white papers. 

Visitors care about one thing and one thing ONLY: 

“How are you going to make my life better?” They want solutions to their problems. 

So don’t have a link to “Testimonials” or “Videos”. Yes, everyone is used to it, but this is not the time to be like everyone else. It's time to be real, clear, and consistent.  

Content like this is great and valuable, but don’t waste prime real estate on your main navigation by using it for labels indicating the format.  

People don’t care about the format - they want answers fast, so be descriptive. 


3. Dropdown menus are fun – for designers

Dropdown menus can be one of the most frustrating things on a website, except for a broken link. Especially if they’re those automatic ones that give you options just as you’re clicking on where you want to go. Then you have to retrace your steps and wonder if it’s worth the hassle. Ugh.

Don’t do it! Don’t fall for the seduction of a multi-option dropdown menu. Not only do they annoy slow-clicking visitors, but they can confuse search engines, which means that you can have problems with your rankings.

Also, dropdown menus encourage your visitors to skip to the end, rather than follow your carefully prepared sales funnel. You planned your site out just so. Readers don’t get to cheat.

If you have a big site, like our client, The Lady Faith, with lots of pages and diverse choices of products or services, a mega menu may be a good idea, despite the fact that they dramatically increase the number of links from your home page. In this case, it serves the e-commerce brand that is more complex in it’s offerings. 

See how you have one link “Shop” with categories under it - all items organized in columns that is now searchable and easy for your visitor to not only find what they want fast, but they can get a quick view of your overall offerings. 


4. Keep navigation choices to seven or fewer

Your website navigation is a place to establish authority in the marketplace through SEO rankings. 

The two most important metrics for judging the quality of a website are Page Authority and Domain Authority.  

Limiting the number of links in your main navigation is good for two reasons. These are the same two reasons to use descriptive labels. 


1. Less is more with search engines

When you have too many links on the homepage, your score goes down and your SEO suffers. 

Instead go for the love - Tools like Open Site Explorer can be used to measure the authority of your homepage.  The more concise your navigation, the more authority will flow to each interior page, making your interior pages more likely to rank.


2. Improve the customer journey 

Don’t try to put everything in the navigation - this isn’t a phone book! It’s too hard to remember. The human brain can only hold five words, so the more words you have, the more confusing it becomes to ‘sort it out’ logically. 

Visually, eight is a LOT more than seven. If you have too many, visitors’ eyes may scan past important items.

You can break the items into groups to keep it simplified. 

Remember the purpose of a website is to guide the visitor where you want them to go to take the action you want them to take. 

Having a clear brand strategy will pave the way to plan your website with a clear destination in mind.  You can then reverse engineer and design your main navigation accordingly. It should tell your readers where to go. 


Not sure how to improve your website? 

We offer a full Brand Strategy Session - on us!  No big pitch - just honest help.  

Just go ahead and schedule now and we can take a look at your website navigation, and whatever else you’d like expert eyes on. 

5. Order is important

There is such a thing as a visual hierarchy. It’s a visitor’s eye tracking and clicking behavior that speaks volumes to much of your website design, like headlines, subhead, images, and design, and your navigation. 

The order of the items in your navigation bar is more important than you might think. 

People remember the first and last things in a list the easiest. It’s the same with websites. These items become more prominent. 

Arrange your navigation items to guide the visitor to the products, services, or information you want the most traffic.  

Guide your visitors to a brilliant customer experience. 


6. Test, Analyze, and Re-Test

A website is not a static, unchanging thing. You have to keep watching and trying things to see if it’s still working properly. 


  • Can you attract more traffic? 

  • Can you rank higher in searches? 

  • Can you make it easier for visitors to get the information they need? 


This is why your site analytics are so crucial.

After a few weeks of making your changes, look at your site analytics. See which pages and links were clicked on the most. Which were clicked on the least. If there seems to be a stall or hang-up, which funnel is working well (that’s my favorite!).

Use that info to adjust your website, then leave it alone for a few more weeks. Then recheck your site analytics. Rinse and repeat.

Marketing is a long-game.  Follow this tip and you will win, rest assured.


7. Mobile gets a hamburger

Here’s an easy fix: change your mobile site navigation bar from the standard desktop menu to a “hamburger icon”. 

A hamburger icon is those three horizontal lines at the top of many mobile sites that fold into an easy-to-navigate menu. Once you do that, your mobile site will be immediately cleared of a lot of clutter and will let your message shine through much easier. 

Put the word “Menu” above or below the hamburger for clarity.


In closing

I hope these tips help you in your search engine rankings and in boosting traffic and clients. Need more personalized help? Schedule a one-on-one consultation to get your business going in the right direction.


Get Instant Access to our FREE Course

Emerge your Soul Power Positioning
and stand out to those you are want to serve.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason whatsoever.