New Year's Resolution: Website Overhaul?

As the New Year approaches, you may be focused on the end of the fiscal accounting cycle, budget forecasting and planning, or sales projections. However, have you considered revisiting your website? One of your most important marketing tools is your business website. It, like any automobile or other frequently used machinery, should get a tune up on a regular basis.

One of the most important elements to your website is your navigation structure, which is how your visitors get around throughout your website. Many small business websites fail to make sales because the links are simply not efficient for their visitors.

Here are a few tips on how to improve your website navigation for 2011.

Check those stats

You do check your website stats, right? These are usually provided by your web host company right through your control panel. These visitor stats can tell you how frequently visitors peruse each page, which pages they visit most (or least), and which pages they exit. Use these stats to find out where your navigation links are not optimized.

Include links in more than one place on each page

Your website navigation should allow visitors easy access to any other page. That means putting navigation elements in close proximity to wherever a visitor happens to be. Most used locations are horizontally just below the title or welcome banner, on the bottom, and vertically on the right close to the scroll bar.

Keep navigation consistent

Your navigation elements should be consistent throughout the website. Don’t try to be clever and change colors, fonts, images, and headers with every page. The most consistent your navigation, the easier your visitors will be able to find what they need.

Use text links whenever possible

Graphic links may look cool, but text gives more detail. Fancy graphics may confuse visitors, and it may be unclear to them what those flashy images mean.

Avoid too many navigation links

You don’t need a link to every single webpage (unless your website is only a few pages, like a brochure). Rather, consider main categories like “Kids,” “Women,” “Men,” and “Accessories,” for instance, if you’re a clothing retailer. Then use sub-navigation menus on each of these main categories. The goal is to get a visitor to where they want to go in two to three clicks.

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