Last week we discussed Site Review and what you should be looking for in a site and most importantly what you should have on your site. This week we will go through Site Navigation and why it is very importatnt. 

This will teach you about why site navigation is critical to a website and what the benefits are in having an easy-to-use navigating site.  Here are the steps in creating an easy-to-use navigating structure.

Site navigation is considered one of the most critical features of a website.  If web users are comfortable navigating through a website, most likely they will continue to browse and find the information they are searching for.  On the contrary, if web users have a hard time navigating a site, eventually they will turn to a different site in search of their solution.  Thus, if you want more users to utilize information on your site, it is crucial to design a site that is easy to navigate.  

In general, most websites are similar to each other.  However, your end goal is to allow your site users to find their way around as simply as possible.  For example, when you go to a hospital, the main signs direct you to general areas, which later have other secondary signs to lead you to your destination.  In relation to the hospital analogy, websites should also have general links that users are interested in and then provide secondary links that specifically defines what users are looking for.  An important factor to remember is, don’t forget to keep the general link on internal pages to allow users to find their way to other general areas of interest.   

What is the first thing you should think about when you plan your site or your site redesign?  Hopefully, you are thinking about the structure of the site.  One suggestion is to physically map out the pages of your site by using index cards and writing a topic on each card, then group them together on the floor or pin them on a bulletin board.  Another suggestion is to create a numbered outline with the title of each page and then group them together.  Whichever approach you may choose, either the physical map or the paper outline, it will serve as your foundation, your structure for your website!  

How will simplifying navigation schemes affect your website?  According to the online Web Developer’s Virtual Library, there are three underlying benefits (   First, to increase the number of page impressions; second, to boost return visits and third, to improve your conversion rate (converting visitors into customers).

How to apply it?
Before designing a site, one should think about its structure.  To better visualize the structure, one could use index cards and write a page topic on each card then group them together on the floor or on a bulletin.  This visual can serve as a blueprint for the website. 

Further, there are three basic rules in designing an easy to navigate site.  First, inform site visitors what is available on your site.  Second, help visitors get to their destination quickly.  Finally, make sure it is easy for users to request additional information. 

Once the site structure is created, the site architectures should be tested with real users to ensure that navigation rules are met and the architecture is stable!

Listed below is a list of general and secondary links that supports easy-to-use navigation:

1.    Home a. Privacy Policy2.    Products3.    Specials Offers a. Free shipping for first time purchases.b. Free Monthly Newsletters 4.    Resources a. Tips b. FAQs c. Tutorials  5.    About Us a. General Info b. Testimonials   6.    Contact Us a. General Info  7.    Support a. Chat b. Phone options c. Live Help d. E-mail
e. help links on  Sites

Visit again Next Week!
Robert Schow
Storesonline Inc.

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