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You’ve done it. You’ve gotten someone to visit your website. That’s half the battle. But where will they go next? Where do you WANT them to go next? How can you prevent them from getting lost or confused? How can you give them a clear idea of what all your website has to offer?
Your website navigation will make you or break you in these situations and can impact your:
- Bounce rate
- Pages per visit
- Conversion rate
At Blue Corona, we’ve designed our fair share of websites over the years. What we’ve found is that many of our clients want to absolutely stuff their navigation to the brim—worried that their visitors won’t be able to find all of their pages if they aren’t all linked in the top level navigation.
For example, one of our clients didn’t believe that we were actually putting pages live on his site because he didn’t see them showing up in the main navigation. This made us realize that a lot of people out there probably don’t understand that pages can exist throughout a site without being linked in the main nav.
Why You Don’t Need Every Page in Your Website Navigation
Google doesn’t rank websites, Google ranks web pages. Every page on your site is an opportunity to rank for a handful of keywords that represent your products and services in your target market areas (ac repair Gaithersburg, Maryland HVAC company, etc.). But just because you are making all of these pages doesn’t mean they all need to go in your navigation.
According to Tara Gasparovic, one of Blue Corona’s Client Happiness Managers (also known as an Account Manager),
“The purpose of a website navigation is to help users easily find pages and topics that are relevant to them, and to provide flow and organization to the website. On the other hand, the purpose of building content for SEO is to target various keyword phrases and be seen by search engine crawlers as the most relevant page for that specific keyword. Often times this means building out hundreds or thousands of pages each targeted to those various keyword phrases. The goal is for these pages to rank organically. In other words, the majority of people visiting many of these pages would be landing on them as a result of an organic search.”
“For example, if a website has a page on ‘Air Conditioning Repair in Silver Spring’ the purpose of that page is to rank organically for keywords related to AC repair in Silver Spring in the hopes that a searcher will click on the link to that page. A page for ‘Air Conditioning Repair in Silver Spring’ does not need to be listed as a link the main navigation. It exists for SEO benefit. A main navigation with hundreds or thousands of pages will only contribute to poor user experience.”
Other experts agree. The folks over at KISSmetrics named “too many items in your navigation” as one of their most common website navigation mistakes.
“With fewer menu items, your visitors’ eyes are less likely may scan past important items,” KISSmetrics reports. “Every time you remove a menu item, the remaining items become more prominent.”
So What Pages Should Go in Your Main Website Navigation?
Ultimately, your navigation should list only the pages necessary to explain everything that your company does. For example:
- Indoor Air Quality
Not only is this best for user experience, but it’s also ideal from a design perspective. According to one of Blue Corona’s digital designers, Logan George, “Simplicity within navigation is the key.”
In addition, “knowing how your navigation relates to what is on the page (or going to be once they click) is becoming EVER more important,” Logan said. “Visual site maps and UX flow charts are what is going to make or break those bigger projects.”
Need Help with Your Website?
In order for your website to perform to the best of its lead generating ability, it needs not only look good from a design perspective, but also be optimized for search engines and yet still offer excellent user experience.
I get that that’s a tall order, which is why I’m going to offer you help. Whether you need a new website design or simply want to improve your current website’s search engine visibility, Blue Corona can help.
Take a look at this mini case study for one of our clients:
Mini Case Study: PVI Office Furniture Plus
We started working with PVI in September 2013. One of the first things we did was renovate their homepage through our website design department. With simple tweaks to the layout of the website, along with implementation of contact forms, PVI’s site began performing and generating leads. After a homepage renovation, we rolled out an aggressive content marketing strategy—adding over 450 new pages to PVI’s website in a seven month period.
Blue Corona content marketing, in conjunction with other onsite design and SEO optimizations, has helped PVI drastically increase their search engine rankings—leading to a:
- 1237.5% increase in monthly organic traffic
- 262.5% increase in on-site goal conversions
- an incredible ROI on our services.
Ready to get started? Take a look at our website design portfolio or fill out the form below for a free SEO analysis of your current website.
About The Author:
Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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