Tips for effective navigation

Build your website -> Website Navigation

The primary aim for effective navigation is get your visitors to stay in your site and also for visitors to easily find what they are looking for easily and quickly. In this article, we will look at some of the basic guidelines you need to follow while designing an effective navigation of your website.

Organize your links before designing your website
Make sure your links are organized in the order of their importance. Prioritize them.  Visitors should easily find what they are looking for under different categories. For example, on this website, all the major topics are located on the horizontal menu and the sub-categories are organized on the vertical menu. Links on both menus are prioritized from left to right and then from top to bottom.

If possible have related links on the same topic. They are very important as visitors coming to a particular page will probably be interested in more information you have under the same topic.

Navigation should be clear and prominent on all your website pages
Once you have decided on your navigation links, you need to think of the best place where to place them. Navigation should be clear and prominent . Research shows that the eyes look for links at the top or left of the page, especially in a language like English. Navigation links should be integrated into the website design in a seamless fashion .

Navigation should be consistent on all pages and on the same spot
Navigation links should be consistent and be on all pages in the same location. The important links of your website should be on every page, in the same location, and in the same sequence. Home page, at a very minimum, should be on all pages. Don't confuse your visitors by putting your navigation links in different places in different pages.

Navigation links should be easy to understand
Make your links are easy to understand and to the point. They should lead to the respective page for more information. Try to have title tag on all links so that when the user hovers over it, s/he should get some information about the page the link is leading to.

DHTML menus
If you have a large number of links under categories and sub-categories, you could use navigation menus to organize your links. There are many cut and paste scripts available online that you could use to create great navigation systems.

In a Nutshell
Following these basic points, you can go ahead and design an effective navigation system for your website. Using your favorite search engine, take a look at other sites to get some ideas on good navigation techniques! Another good idea would be to use eye-catching visuals and small chunks of information to draw visitors to click on a link. Make sure that it does not affect loading of the page adversely.
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