Web site navigation is about more than how cool or stylish your menus look. Web site navigation is about creating clear and obvious routes for your site’s visitors to get from one page to another.
I was recently working with a crafter on upgrading her website. Her husband was her webmaster and while his skills were quite good, he made one huge rookie mistake – creating dead-ends.
Dead-ends are when a site visitor follows menus and links and suddenly comes to a page where there is no navigational menus present. Yes, they could simply hit the back key; but, they could also hit the back key right off your site in frustration.
Keep Your Navigation Simple
The shame of dead-ends is that along with alienating and confusing your potential customer, they miss one of the most golden of SEO (search engine optimization) techniques – internal linking.
The only thing on the web you have complete control over is your own website. You control what words, pictures and links reside there. Without getting into a long-winded explanation of cross-linking, SEO, usability, and page rank; just let me say that having a menu on every page will help your site in the search engines. Helping your site in the search engines translates into more potential customers coming and visiting your site for the first time.
The bottom line…
So, when you go about designing your site, be sure that every page has some sort of navigational menu. A common place where crafters goof this up is on their product description pages. Product description pages should ALWAYS at a minimum have an obvious link back to the category page the visitor came from, the home page, and whatever page talks about your shipping/returns/payment policies – it will help your site to get more visitors and not confuse the ones you already have.
If you would like to read further on usability and websites, please visit another of my articles on the topic Website Usability for Realtors and Other Businesses which can be found on my business website Your Message Consultant.