By Danny Wong

An underappreciated aspect of your website is its navigation. It draws attention to key pages that should give audiences a deeper understanding behind your brand values and the advantages of your product suite or service offering. For website owners, well-designed navigation reduces bounce rates, increases visitor engagement and indirectly boosts conversions. That’s because customers who are able to easily navigate your website will be equipped with the information they need to make a positive purchasing decision.

Poor website navigation, on the other hand, creates user frustration. When visitors find it difficult to locate the information they are looking for and must click several links and scan several pages, they are more likely to abandon your website and seek out your competition.

To help you better organize your website’s content and navigation to improve user engagement and conversions, follow these best practices:

Create an experience that caters to your specific customer

Most visitors that land on your website arrive there with enough context regarding your product or service offering. Use this to your advantage by creating a website navigation that’s simple yet descriptive.

  1. Home
  2. About Us
  3. Services (with a drop-down menu)
  4. Portfolio
  5. Blog
  6. Contact
  7. Request a Quote

As a web design company and SEO agency, we know that prospective clients want to know more about our design philosophy and marketing approach, which we’ve included in the About Us section. Under Services, we’ve listed our various areas of expertise so potential partners can learn more about what we can do for their business. Within Portfolio, interested customers can see some of the work we’ve produced for other clients. We also link to our Blog because we know that some of our visitors want to learn more about what constitutes good web design. Our Contact page provides an open line of communication for prospective customers, media inquiries or general questions. Our Request a Quote link serves to drive targeted leads who are committed to solving their design or SEO problems. And, of course, we’ve included Home in our navigation so that customers can easily start at the beginning in case they entered our website on a different landing page.

Bury lower priority pages

Website owners should also be selective about the pages they link to in their navigation.

Many websites have dozens — sometimes hundreds or even thousands — of web pages to choose from. However, you’ll want to use only top-level pages that include content aimed at developing rapport and improving your relationship with customers.

Place links to less-actionable pages such as your privacy policy or your website’s terms & conditions in the footer. This allows you to keep user attention focused on the links that are more pertinent to their experience on your site. Although it may be tempting to include just one more item in your navigation, remember that sometimes ‘less is more.’ A navigation bar with fewer items makes users more likely to visit most of those pages. Conversely, one with too many links can feel intimidating and may discourage visitors from actually using your navigation.

Eliminate navigation entirely on crucial pages

For the majority of your website’s visitors, the navigation bar can help guide users to exactly the information they seek. But it can also serve as a distraction. When you drive traffic to targeted landing pages, you may want to consider removing the navigation entirely. A 2014 study by HubSpot found that the deliberate removal of their top navigation bar on landing pages improved conversion rates by as much as 28%.

Similarly, you will want to consider omitting navigation on your website’s checkout pages. This helps to minimize shopping cart abandonment. In 2017, data from Statista revealed that roughly 69% of digital shopping carts and baskets were abandoned in e-commerce stores globally. With enclosed checkout pages, customers will only have one thing to focus on: completing their order.

Analyze how visitors currently navigate your website

Using tools like Google Analytics, you can generate Behavior Flow reports that tell you which navigation links visitors click most and the pages they visit after they click that first link.

These reports help you identify website traffic patterns (showing you how users interact with the different content on your site). Look for any irregularities, such as pages with high exit rates or navigation links with low click rates. Then, A/B test different solutions. For instance, if you noticed that 60% of Homepage visitors clicked your About Us link in your website’s navigation and 90% exited immediately afterwards, you’ll want to add more CTAs or hyperlinks within your About Us page to redirect those visitors to more engaging destinations on your website. If you noticed that less than 0.1% of visitors clicked the Blog button on your navigation bar, you may want to remove it entirely and see how well customers interact with your updated navigation bar afterwards.

Also, generate a conversion assists report. Identify the pages on your website that customers are most likely to interact with before they complete a conversion. Then, consider adding your highest performing pages to your website’s navigation. You’ll quickly see an increasing number of website visitors engaging more with your website and converting into leads and customers.

Your website’s navigation can be a powerful tool for improving customer engagement and conversions. Carefully consider each detail, including the language you use for the listed items in your navigation bar and the impact that each item’s inclusion has on your bounce rate, exit rate, time on site, pages per visit, and other crucial visitor metrics. And if you need any help optimizing your website’s navigation and user experience, send us a message at hello@maxburst.com.