When you’re building your website for your business, sometimes it can be difficult to know how to organize the links in your navigation, yet it’s very important to pay attention to the order of links. There is a ton of research that goes into determining what order your navigation elements should be in based on how your visitors think. You don’t need to know all of the research, but remember a few rules. The rules are based on knowing questions your website visitors subconsciously want answered.
As we work on finishing our latest book, we come across some ideas that we want to share early. Enjoy this tidbit of advice from the book.
The order of navigation is based on “primacy” of thought. What do your visitors think about first, what do they think about last. After primacy, think of familiar locations. So, how do you know what your users are thinking? Well, it’s easy when you know what questions they are asking.
- “Who are you?”
- “Why are you an expert?”/Why are you important?”
- “What can you do for me?”
- “What else can you do for me?”
- “What do I get out of this?”
- “Where can I find ____?”
- “I have a problem.”/”I need help.”
- “How can I do business with you?”/”How can I have a conversation with you?”
The last item on the list seems most important. But, remember, that’s the last thing your visitors will be thinking about. They first need to be convinced that you are worth doing business with. So, here are some rules:
- Your logo should be on the left and navigate to your home page.
- You should have an explicit “Home” link and it should be the first item in your navigation.
- “About” should be your second link in your primary navigation.
- Your products or services should come after about
- Articles next
- Additional navigation as necessary
- Contact should be last on the list.
- If you have search, it must be in the top right of the screen.
Following these rules will increase the chances of you turning visitors into valued customers. Navigation is not a place to be clever or inventive. People have familiarity, expectations, and prejudices. Rely on people having these things and be predictable in your navigation, but be surprising with your content.
Do these rules make your life any easier? Do you have any additional questions you think visitors are asking? Leave a comment, let’s talk about it.