Why look at a huge menu – think of the book that is Cheesecake Factory’s menu – when you know you want a hamburger?
The hamburger a.k.a. sandwich is the set of three lines you’ve surely seen on mobile versions of websites, indicating, “this is the menu!” As mobile sites take precedence over desktop, the need for a simple, easy-to-navigate website navigation menu is more vital.
At Savoir Faire, we take that approach with desktop versions of websites as well. For companies that encompass a lot of technical information and/or has a ton of content, there’s an urge to over-menu the site, ensuring all the categories are covered.
However, that means that you’d see main navigation, sub navigation below that and even navigation options on either or both sides of the site. The human eye can only focus on so many things at once! User experience is very important, but you also want to take Google into consideration, and over-menuing a site will not help your landing pages in searches.
We’re in the process of overhauling a client’s website right now in an effort to make the navigation experience an intuitive, positive one for both the user and Google. (Fewer items in your navigation will improve search results in Google.) This is something we’ve done for several clients. Here’s one example. We’ve experienced some great, big changes in traffic to their landing pages.
Our approach to aiding the user experience includes utilizing content blocks and in-text links to drive traffic to landing pages, as opposed to over-menuing. For some clients, this meant starting from scratch. That can be simpler than trying to rejigger a confusing navigation that goes deep into some frightening caverns.
In an effort to have good organization as well as leave your site open for future updates, we suggest using a mega menu, which generally means there is a drop-down navigation that is seen once you are hovering over one of the main navigation items that sit near the top of your homepage. This reduces the clutter of your homepage and improves the user experience.
We demonstrated this approach with a client recently with the use of wireframes for their new site that highlighted the navigation for the user. We showed the paths their audiences would take to find relevant information.
Part of this process also involved finding the most-pertinent keywords the audience uses to search for information, and using those phrases to name the new menu items at the top of navigation. Your potential customers are looking for answers, and giving them a clear path to the information they seek is one way to see your site’s traffic really climb.
If your site is not going to contain a ton of content, a mega menu may not be the right approach.
We’re always available to answer any questions about websites, so feel free to reach out. To close, if this blog post were a homepage, we’d want these takeaways to be on the top:
- Intuitive navigation
- Speak to your audience
- Keep it Google-friendly