Let’s start with the first of your 8 Key Success Ingredients, your website navigation. If somebody comes to your website and they don’t find it easy to navigate, it’s going to put them off and you’re going to lose that visitor immediately. So you really need to pay good attention to the navigation.
Make it really easy for your customers. You do need to have some familiarity in your navigation, but don’t get caught in the traps of having to have Home, About Us, Our Services, Contacts and all the usual things that you see everywhere. They’re a bit plain but more importantly they don’t help your customer to understand that you’re going solve their problem. When your Navigation is presented in this way you are saying, “It’s your job Mr.Visitor to come and work out whether I’ve got a solution for you on my website.”
If you’re going to be successful online, you have to help your visitors and direct them. Use the navigation bar to clearly present solutions to your website visitor.
It is a good idea to look at the navigation on other websites, particularly your competitor’s websites. Don’t focus on the design of these sites; it’s purely the navigation that you want to analyse. I’m sure you will see what I mean about the Home, About Us, Our Services and how it’s a constant theme, but are there any good alternatives?
A great example of simple navigation is the Google Home Page. Take a look now, as you can see, there’s just a search bar. Google offer us so many tools and features, but right in the centre of the screen, we’ve got a search bar and that’s the start of the navigation. You know exactly what you are supposed to do when you visit the Google Home Page, because the only option is to search for what you need.
I appreciate that Google has got a particular style. It’s a Search Engine and it’s not a business to business, or a business to consumer website as yours would be. So, take some time to have a look at some websites that do fit into a B2B or B2C category.
When you’re thinking about Navigation, focus on what problems you solve for your customers. Map it out, use as much paper as you need before you start committing to building anything. What problems are you solving for your potential customers? Use this to inform your decisions on what to include on your navigation bar; when they come to your website, exactly what are your visitors looking for?
Keep things really simple. Keep the problems that you solve as the main navigation buttons. Minimise ‘clutter’ from your other information, such as The Privacy Statements and your Terms and Conditions, by positioning them at the footer of the website. You don’t need them at the top of your site. Include a main point of contact on your Home page and ideally on each service page, so visitors don’t need to click away from what they want to get in touch. Throughout your website think about solving problems, rather than delivering information.