Website Menus in 5 Words:
Hierarchy, Category, Consistency, Sign-Posts
The more I look at Websites the more I wish there was just one menu system. You know we would not have to guess where the information is we want. If only every Website had a good internal search engine.
We have written before about the importance of getting your Website’s categories mapped out ‘Why are Categories Important?’ The gist of having the categories works out is it gives you a map of creating your content and creating signposts to that content that visitors will find easy to follow.
You quite often see on Websites more than one type of navigation in more than one place. I believe this can be frustrating for a visitor who will quickly tire of trying to work out where you have put the information you want. Another factor bound to frustrate a visitor is the menu changing when you go to different pages.
The site will seem to be at war with itself and the visitor.
If you have not done the work on your categories then you will find yourself placing information all over the place and creating different headings slightly different from your other categories. Websites demand consistency because, with consistency a visitor has the perception he or she knows where they are, they gain confidence in the site and are more likely to investigate.
Audit Your Site
Sadly there are no tools to do this job. You can’t automate creating categories for your information. Take everything that is important to your site and create categories. Which can be rolled into another? Does this make sense to someone that is visiting your site for the first time? Now take a list of your content (articles, videos, images) and allocate them to your top categories. Do they fit? If they don’t fit then reconsider your categories.
It’s very easy to say this but the reality is a lot of sites just grow and content gets allocated to the most obvious category. But a sound categorization WILL help your conversion.
All the best,