How_to_Optimize_Web_Site_Navigation

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					Title:
How to Optimize Web Site Navigation

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992

Summary:
Make no mistake. the most impressive looking and product rich web site
will fail to convert visitors into paying customers if they are unable to
more quickly and easily find what they are looking for, that is, proper
web site navigation. There's a lot of competition out there. Develop and
design a web site that's easy to understand and use, and you'll attract
more than your fair share of visitors - visitors that will return, and
buy, again and again. Fail in this, and the only one's smiling will


Keywords:
web site navigation    website development website design


Article Body:
Make no mistake. the most impressive looking and product-rich web site
will fail to convert visitors into paying customers if they are unable to
more quickly and easily find what they are looking for. There's a lot of
competition out there. Develop and design a web site that's easy to
understand and use, and you'll attract more than your fair share of
visitors - visitors that will return, and buy, again and again. Fail in
this, and the only one's smiling will be your competitors.

How do we accomplish this? By utilizing intuitive navigation techniques.
Use them in the development and design of your web site; then sit back as
hordes of satisfied customers return to your internet business on a
regular basis. And you'll find when marketing online, return business is
your key to significant and effortless profits.

Ok, so what exactly is intuitive navigation - and how do we design it
into our web site? I can tell you what it's not. It is not flashy,
creative designs that entertain and distinguish you from the other 'dull'
web sites out there. Simply defined, intuitive navigation implements a
familiar and consistent look and feel across all the design elements of
your web site. These elements include;

GOOGLE ADSENSE Menu:

Your website menu - the table of contents if you will - that directs
visitors throughout the various pages of your site should be consistent,
and included on every page. Websites that contain a menu on the home page
only or certain select pages on the web site (and I've seen far too many
of these), force visitors to use the Back button (or click on the logo to
return to the home page). The common result, visitors do more clicking
and visitors get lost. And visitors who get lost... well, 'get lost'.
And for Pete's sake, keep your menu style and placement consistent from
page to page. Again, fancy and different equals confusion. Confusion
equals frustration. And frustration equals 'no sale'.

Site map:

Another useful website element, and one that's missing in many business
web sites, the site map is a web page that contains a hierarchical, top-
down, organized list of all the sections, or pages, on your website. It's
a road map through your web labyrinth, which can get you where you want
to go more directly, that is, quicker (especially to access links). It
can also make up for any design 'sins' on your menu. And for many left
brainers, like myself, it is sometimes the preferred route.

Subtitle index:

For those large pages on your web site, which require page scrolling, it
is preferable to include subtitles in your copy, for readability.
Repeating these subtitles at the top of your page, linked to the subtitle
in the copy, makes it easier for visitors to access or return to those
sections of the copy that most interest them.

Back to top link:

Again, for large pages on your web site, having 'Back to top' links,
between subtitles, or at the very least the bottom of your page's copy,
allows visitors to return to the top of your web page with one click,
without the need to scroll.

Text links:

Whether it's a menu item or other link throughout your web site, the use
of simple and efficient text links is the preferred navigation method in
most instances.

Yes, there's an overabundance of fancy and impressive buttons, graphics
and rollovers available for navigating your web site. However, this is an
area where it is mindful to employ the well-known K.I.S.S. method for
keeping things simple. Text links are much faster loading than images.
Now, for fast broadband internet access, the difference between text and
image load may be negligible. However, there are still many potential
customers out there still surfing on slow connections. For them, the
difference can be significant. So, until we are all on the same
connection page, you would do well to accommodate all visitors.

In addition, text navigation menus can contribute relevant text for the
search engines, which image navigation bars cannot. And of course, text
is often easier than an image for understanding the purpose of the link.
Just remember - on the web, and for your internet business, it is always
preferable to err on the side of efficiency over impressiveness.

Page footer menu:
Ok, we have our menu items at the top (or side) of all our web pages. So,
why would we want to repeat them at the bottom of every page? Well, in
addition to providing your visitors with just another, alternative,
option for navigating your website, there are two instances when placing
your menu on your page footer is more an essential, than a 'nice to
have'.

(1) If you insist on using graphics for your main menu items, the
inclusion of a text menu on the page footer aids     both reader
viewability and understanding, and ensures that search engine spiders can
see you.

(2) Placing your menu on a frame is an easy way to ensure that your menu
items stay fixed and in sight, even as you're scrolling through a long
web page. However, although there are many advantages to using frames on
your web site, there are disadvantages as well. Although more detail on
the pros and cons is fodder for another article, let's just say there are
many web sites that prefer not to use frames. In such instances,
scrolling down a long page will also scroll your menu items, sometimes
out of sight. A page footer menu provides a convenient way to access
these items without the necessity for scrolling back up the page.

Containing an abundance of particulars, a context-rich web site can be a
dense, confusing and intimidating jungle of information for internet
visitors. However, by using time-tested intuitive navigation techniques,
you can turn potential chaos (and lost customers) into a smooth and
pleasant ride across the web superhighway.

				
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