Unlock Online Success w/ Navigation Dos & Don’ts

Introduction – What is Website Navigation and Why Is It Important?

For any online presence, website navigation is essential. It is the process of guiding users to the right information they are looking for on the website. It’s the bridge between a potential customer searching for something and then quickly and intuitively finding it.

Website navigation is also an important factor in developing trust between you and your customers. A good navigational system makes it easier for customers to find what they are looking for, and helps them make a purchase decision without any complications.

Simply put, website navigation refers to all the menus, links and buttons placed on a website or a page to help visitors navigate easily through its content. It is made up of several internal elements that should be placed strategically and logically for easy understanding.

Website navigation can also affect how search engines (like Google) rank your website. This is because navigation structure affects two things – site speed and SEO optimization. Site speed improves when navigational elements are kept simple, which directly impacts SEO rankings. SEO optimization also benefits when navigation links are keyword optimized.

For businesses, having an effective navigation structure is essential for success. It’s important for both customer loyalty and retention, as well as boosting conversions. We will now look at the basics of website navigation, and discuss some dos and don’ts for creating an effective navigational structure.

Navigation Basics

Website navigation is an essential part of any online presence. It is what allows visitors to your website to access different areas quickly and easily. The navigation hierarchy of your website will dictate how users interact with your website, and it’s important to get it right to ensure a smooth experience for your visitors.

Website navigation consists of two primary levels – primary navigation and secondary navigation. Primary navigation is the main navigational category that helps visitors find their way around your website. It usually consists of the main pages of your website such as ‘Home’, ‘About’, ‘Products’, ‘Blog’, and ‘Contact’. For larger websites, these categories may be further divided into sub-categories and drop-down menus in order to make navigating your website easier for visitors.

Secondary navigation is typically located at the bottom of the page and usually contains a few links to other pages on your website. This navigation level often includes links to complementary pages of your website such as ‘Privacy policy’, ‘Terms of service’, ‘Testimonials’, and ‘FAQs’.

Layout and Design

Having an effective layout and design for website navigation is essential to the success of your online business. Website navigation helps visitors find exactly what they’re looking for without having to spend too much time searching. A well-designed navigational system should be easy to use and quickly direct visitors to the pages they’re looking for.

The layout of your website’s navigation should be consistent throughout and the design should be clear, concise, and intuitive. Navigation menus should be easy to spot and the labels used in them should be precise. Use a simple font size and color palette that allows visitors to easily distinguish different menu items. Keep in mind that the primary navigation should be no more than three levels deep; if something is more than three levels deep, it’s better to access it from a linked page or widget.

It’s also important to use logical groupings when constructing navigation menus. Items should be grouped in a way that makes sense, and the user should be able to recognize what type of content is located under a specific menu item. Additionally, consider adding dropdown menus for longer lists of items or sub-categories, as this allows users to quickly scan a larger list and make it easier to find what they’re looking for.

When designing website navigation, consider how it will work across all devices. For instance, ensure that the navigation still works correctly on mobile devices. Use intuitive iconography to help users recognize what each menu item represents, and employ features such as sticky navigation or mega menus for lengthy navigation menus.

Dos and Don’ts of Website Navigation

When it comes to website navigation, understanding the basics can be the difference between user engagement and user frustration. Website navigation should be easy to use and intuitive, allowing users to quickly find the information they need with minimal effort. To that end, there are a few simple dos and don’ts to follow when designing navigational elements for your website.


  • Consistency is key when it comes to website navigation. Navigation elements should always be placed in the same location across every page, making it easy for users to find what they’re looking for.
  • Keep your navigation menu short and concise. Too many options can overwhelm users and cause them to abandon your website.
  • Identify where the main pages or categories of your website are located and use clear labels and titles.
  • Make sure pages are well organized into logical sections, and ensure that there are several ways to access each section of your website from other pages.
  • Provide a search tool on your website.
  • Include a navigation bar at the top and/or bottom of each page.
  • Make sure users can see where they came from, and can easily get back to their starting point.
  • Keep clicking and scrolling to a minimum. Only link out to other websites if the information is absolutely necessary for the user.
  • Make sure that all links and buttons are clearly visible and easy to click on.
  • Test your website navigation periodically to make sure it is working properly.


  • Don’t change the navigation menu often.
  • Don’t forget about mobile users. Mobile navigation should be just as intuitive and easy to use as desktop navigation.
  • Don’t rely on drop-down menus. They can be difficult to navigate on touch devices.
  • Don’t clutter your navigation menu with too many options.
  • Don’t overload users with information or tiny print.
  • Don’t force users to guess where to click.
  • Don’t use generic terms in your navigation labels or headings.
  • Don’t make users scroll down an entire page to get to the navigation menu.
  • Don’t make users click through multiple pages, or require users to enter personal information before they can navigate the website.
  • Don’t forget to test your website navigation regularly to make sure it is functioning properly.

By following these simple dos and don’ts of website navigation, you can ensure a smooth user experience for visitors to your website.

Usability Testing

Usability testing is essential for understanding how people interact with your website, their navigational preferences, and providing actionable insights to improve user experience. It helps to identify any potential problems with navigation, allowing you to fix issues before they become more serious.

Usability testing involves creating a user flow, which maps out the steps the user takes on the website—from the initial landing pages to each menu item and page. During the test, the user will be monitored as they interact with the website, and their responses will be recorded and analyzed.

By studying user patterns and behaviors, you can uncover valuable insights about the user’s preferences and what works best for them in terms of navigation. This information can be used to make key design decisions such as the placement of menus, layout, and content choices.

In addition to the data gathered from user testing, it’s also important to gather feedback from users and customers. This will help to identify any potential issues with navigation that can be addressed and improved.

Identifying Common Problems

Navigation issues can be very difficult to identify and troubleshoot, but it is important to try and get to the root of any problems that arise. Common navigation errors include broken links, links that do not take visitors to the page they expect, and other usability issues.

To identify and troubleshoot these common problems, website owners and operators should first review the current navigational structure and layout. Look for any broken links or mislabeled menus. Then, consider the user experience. Is the navigation intuitive, or are users having difficulty navigating the site? Consider testing the navigation with users to obtain feedback on the usability. User testing can be a helpful tool to identify usability issues with the navigation.

Finally, it is important to look at analytics data to further understand user behavior on the website. Analytics can help inform the team as to which pages of the website are more popular than others, in addition to whether users are getting stuck or abandoning the site in certain areas. All of this data can provide valuable insight into where navigational changes need to be made.

Mobile Website Navigation

With more and more internet users accessing the web through mobile devices, it’s important to consider the navigation capabilities of your website on these platforms. Mobile websites have different navigation needs than desktop websites due to their limited screen size, and the user experience should be optimized accordingly. Here are a few key navigation considerations for your mobile website:

  • Keep navigation menus simple – Your navigation menus should only include the most essential wants and needs of the user. This means that only the most important pages should be included in these menus. If there are several layers of subpages, consider including a drop-down menu with further options.
  • Make sure it’s visible – The navigation menu should be prominently displayed at the top of each page and easy to find. This includes both the main menu as well as any secondary menus. Consider including a back button to help users move between pages quickly and easily.
  • Optimize for speed – Mobile networks can be slow, so it’s important to optimize your website navigation for speed. Minimize the amount of code that is executed on each page, and ensure that the navigation menus are loading quickly. Use caching techniques when possible to reduce load times.
  • Consider alternative solutions – While navigation menus should be the primary navigational tool on your mobile website, consider other solutions such as swiping, tapping, or voice recognition. These alternative methods can help you optimize the user experience.

By taking into account these guidelines, you can create a comprehensive navigation experience on your mobile website that caters to the needs of your users.

Using Analytics for Navigation Decisions

Analytics is an invaluable tool for website operations. It can help you understand how users interact with your website – what pages they visit, how long they stay on a single page, and how they navigate through different parts of your website. This information is incredibly useful when making navigation decisions on your website. With analytics data, you can determine which parts of your website are most popular, and how to optimize it for better user experiences.

Analytics data can also be used to identify areas that need improvement. By tracking the flow of traffic within your website, you can detect where people are getting stuck and figure out how to make the navigation smoother. Additionally, analytics can help you spot any niggling usability issues that could be causing problems for users. With the right data, you can make targeted changes to your website navigation, leading to a more successful overall experience.

When making decisions based on analytics data, you should always consider the overall user experience. A few isolated data points won’t give you the full picture, so you need to look at the bigger picture. Understand how all the pieces fit together, and how different changes might affect user engagement. With this knowledge, you can make informed decisions that will benefit both your business and your users.

Strategies for High-Performance Websites

Navigation plays an important role in website performance. It goes without saying that it needs to be well-designed and easy to use in order to help visitors find what they are looking for quickly and easily. As such, you should look out for key measures of success when it comes to navigation.

One of the first things to consider is the user experience. How are people moving through your website? Are they finding what they need or are they getting frustrated and leaving? Knowing where users are struggling can be a great way to identify any potential problems with your navigation.

Another important factor to look out for is search engine optimization (SEO). How visible is your website when someone searches for it? Can visitors easily find and access the pages they are looking for? If not, then you may need to adjust your navigation to make sure the right information is visible in the search results.

Finally, you should also consider the time people spend on your website. Is your website providing a good experience so that users stay longer? If people are leaving quickly then you need to look into how you can make the navigation more intuitive and engaging.

By considering all these factors when designing website navigation, you can ensure that your website delivers a high-performance experience.

The Dos and Don’ts of Website Navigation are essential for any successful online presence. It’s an integral part of user experience and should not be overlooked. In this guide, we will discuss the basics of website navigation, from layout and design to identifying common problems and usability testing. We will also explore strategies for high-performance websites and provide advice on how to use analytics.

At the end of this article, we will wrap it up by summarizing the key points and suggesting further reading materials for reference.

The basics of website navigation, or its anatomy as some refer to it, can be broken down into two primary levels: the global navigation and the local navigation. The global navigation is typically located in the header or sidebar of the site and covers a wide range of topics, such as the main page, products, services, contact us and about us section.

The local navigation then dives deeper into the page structure and provides specific functions and areas within the website. This usually includes things like search fields, account login, language selection and content-specific menus. It’s important to consider both levels of navigation when designing your website as an unorganized navigation menu can cause confusion among users.

When it comes to website navigation layout and design, there are certain guidelines and tips to follow in order to create the most effective navigational experience. Make sure to always keep the navigation menu visible and easy to access. Also, ensure that the links used are clearly labeled and descriptive. When organizing the menu, prioritize the most important sections and group related items together. Finally, make sure to limit the size of the menu so users don’t get overwhelmed.

To learn more about the dos and don’ts of website navigation, it’s important to understand the process of usability testing. This involves creating a user flow and observing how users interact with your website’s navigation. Furthermore, it’s important to collect feedback from your users and test different layouts and designs in order to determine what works best.

It’s also important to identify and troubleshoot any common issues that may arise from your website navigation. Common errors such as broken links, confusing labels, and lack of visibility can easily disrupt the user experience, so it’s wise to consistently monitor your website and address any changes or problems accordingly.

For mobile website navigation, it’s important to remember that the rules are a bit different than when designing for desktop sites. It’s advisable to use simplified menu structures, prioritize touch elements, and enable hover states to help users navigate more easily.

Analytics are another way to measure how successful or ineffective your navigation is. Analyzing data and metrics can provide invaluable insights into user behavior, helping you identify what’s working and what needs improvement.

Finally, there are certain strategies which can be implemented to ensure a high performance website. For instance, consider the impact of SEO-friendly URLs, page load speed, and user-generated content. These are all elements that have an influence on website rankings and can be used to drive greater success.

In conclusion, the dos and don’ts of website navigation are essential for any online business. With the right layout, design, usability testing, and analytics, you can create a navigational experience that maximizes user engagement and leads to higher sales. For further information, please refer to the resources section provided below.








Website navigation is an essential part of any successful online business. It’s the tool that leads customers from page to page and helps them find what they’re looking for. It’s important to understand dos and don’ts of website navigation because they determine how well your website functions, looks, and feels.

To ensure a high-performance website, consider usability testing, identifying common problems, and using analytics to make informed decisions. Additionally, investing in mobile website navigation is a great way to remain competitive.

The above discussion should serve as a guide to help you understand the basics of website navigation and the strategies you can use to build an effective website. By keeping these key considerations in mind, you can create a seamless user experience and reach the highest level of success.


Having the right resources is essential to crafting an effective website navigation. There are numerous resources that can provide helpful tips and advice. Here is a list of some of the best sources that we recommend for further reading:

  • The Web Book: An illustrated guide to navigating the Internet, by Trea-Ann Miller.
  • Achieving User Interface Design Excellence: A practical guide for business and technical professionals, by Kim Krause Berg.
  • Designing a Successful Website Navigation System, by J. Watson.
  • Essential Navigation and Structure, by Jason Santa Maria.
  • Web Navigation: Designing the User Experience, by Jennifer Fleming.

These sources will help you to have a better understanding of website navigation and how to design your website in a way that is user-friendly and effective. Remember that the key to effective website navigation is understanding how users interact with your website and what they need from it. With the right resources, you can craft a navigation system that meets their needs and helps them achieve their goals.

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