5 Best Practices For Website Navigation


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When cases of website redesign come up with online businesses, one major reason comes to mind – Poor user navigation.

You can’t anticipate all customers knowing where to find relevant information, a recent survey shows 50% of Internet users know where relevant content can be found based on the standard navigation structure of a website. But how about the remaining 50%?

As small as it may sound it’s very much important because if your website visitors are unable to find links, pages and navigate for vital information they need on your business they would work out your website which would lead to an increase in your website bounce rate. So let’s dive into what Website navigation is and why it’s so essential.

What is Website Navigation?

Website Navigation is what guides visitors on their exploration through your website providing instructions for them to find information or products they need. Good navigation is so seamless that users find what they need instinctively.

Why Is Website Navigation Important?

Good navigation means visitors find what they need fast and bad navigation simply leads to frustration and people abandoning your site quickly. Even if you have awesome content, it becomes  useless if people can’t find it!

A good Navigation helps search engines like Google use your navigation structure to understand your website’s content and how pages relate to each other. This impacts your ranking in search results.


What Are The Types of Website Navigation

Your website’s navigation usually lives within a few key areas:


1. The Header/Horizontal Navigation


Apple Website Navigation

To start off is the header navigation, mainly seen in all websites which features your most important links. It’s where visitors will often see your website logo alongside key pages like “Home,” “About,” Products/Services,” and “Contact.” You can also include crucial elements like a search bar, CTA, and shopping cart icon.


2. The Footer Navigation


Colossal Website Navigation

The footer menu is a great place to store links that visitors might not need right away, but are still important. Think things like privacy policies, terms of service, and sitemaps. It’s also a strategic spot for less prominent calls to action, like links to your social media profiles.


3. Sidebars


Amazon Website Navigation

Depending on your website’s layout, you might have sidebars. These can house additional navigation, like specific product categories or blog archives. It’s usually used on e-commerce stores or sites that bear huge amounts of content.


4. Drop-down


Colossal Website Navigation

When implemented well, drop-down menus can be a useful tool for organizing complex websites with many subcategories. They have to be used strategically so as not to clutter the desktop screen. So instead of a long list of links cascading down, consider using expandable subcategories that appear when you hover over the main category. This keeps the menu tidy and easier to scan.


5. Breadcrumbs


Ebay Website Navigation

Breadcrumbs: Those little “Home > Products > Shoes” trails that act like breadcrumbs, leaving a digital footprint of your path through the website’s hierarchy. They give visitors a visual cue about their location within the site structure and allow them to easily navigate back to previous sections with a simple click. And the best part? They don’t take up much space on your site. This secondary navigation bar is typically made up of text links separated by the greater than symbol (>) and placed below the header.

Website Navigation Best Practices

Creating the best website navigation requires you to ensure that it has essential qualities like:

  1. Don’t overcomplicate things. Too many options overwhelm people; they won’t know where to click. Strive for 4-5 main navigation items.
  2. Put the most important pages first. And to do that you must know what people come to your site looking for?
  3. Use the same navigation structure across all pages for a seamless experience. Make it easy for your visitors and yourself.
  4. Navigation must work flawlessly on all devices, especially mobile phones, where screen space is smaller.
  5. It’s also important to know that even with great navigation, some people just want a shortcut. So maybe add adding a visible search bar might cater to them.
  6. Lastly, ensure to get real users to test your navigation to spot potential pain points. Their feedback is invaluable.


Website navigation is one of the main pillars of a good user experience that ensures brand loyalty, high conversions, retention and revenue. Therefore, it’s important to treat your navigation with the importance it deserves.

If you would like us to take a look at how well your website navigation works to attract customers, get in touch with us at spyderweb for a free consultation.

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Mark Stone

COO Insights LTD

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