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Tips on your Website Navigation

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Navagation is a method your visitor surfs thru your web site using links from one page to another page.

You have to keep good navigational system on your site to provide a good experience to your visitor.If the home page is great and your visitor has to search for the next page and thinks ‘Gee…a good web site, but where and how to go to next level?’- sounds interesting?Or sounds familiar?

Always keep a golden rule:

Every page on the site is no more than 3 clicks away from every page else.

How big your web site and how complicate your links on your pages, keep this as a golden rule.It saves a lot of time to your visitor.

Why should you need a good navigational system?

  • To get the necessary information quickly with out getting lost.
  • For a pleasant experience to your visitor.If they don’t find which is where, they will just leave…
  • Good navigation makes easy for search engine crawlers to navigate through your site.Need not to tell this leads to indexing of most or all of your pages in the search engines.
  • Most people comes from search engine results.So they may land on any page of your site.So keeping good and consistent navigational system encourages your visitors stay.
  • Here are few tips to have a good and effective navigational system.

    1.Don’t use much fancy buttons and graphics.Even the effects like mouse overs take long time to download.So keep them to a minimum.If you still want to use graphics optimize them before using.This certainly minimizes the downloading time.

    When you use graphics put a small text link below it, so that it will be easy to understand what is under that category.Don’t just use some graphic and expect the user to understand and find about that link.

    2.Keep links to your Home page on every page.Once I landed on one of the second level pages of one web site.I have to manipulate the URL in address bar so to go to the home page.

    3.Keep links atleast in two places.Top or bottom of the page and as a side bar.So on long pages, they don’t have to scroll up and down to click on the links.

    4.Site map:Displaying site map on your web pages is another way of making familiar of your web site to your visitor.They can pick easily where to go and what other links are there that are useful to them.

    Some of the cgi scripts that will be useful for you to create site map for your web site:

    html-tree

    Link Tree

    SiteMap

    5.Search:Another way of finding exactly what you want.Usually the web host provider installs a cgi script for you to keep an search box on your site.If you want or your web site is big enough you can install powerful searcg engine scripts.

    Perlfect Search

    Fluid Dynamics Search Engine(Shareware)

    KSearch

    6.Drop down menus:If you have 10-15 pages web site you can use this method by installing cgi script.You can keep a drop down list of all your pages on each of your web pages.So any time your visitor can select the appropriate page from the list and click on the button to go to that page.This clearly increases the clarity of pages.

    Drop Down Redirect

    Go2It!

    MimiMenu SSI Script

    navigate 961117

    7.Use same method on all pages.Keeping links on the top of the page on some pages and drop down list on other, confuse the surfer and he might click on the same link thinking it different most of the times.

    8.Come with a plan:Before confirming the links to display and finalising your navigation check these-

  • What are the main parts of your web site?
  • These still divide in to subcategories?
  • Is your plan easy to understandable to your visitor too?
  • Is the textural link explaining what is under that category?
  • Is your navigational system appropriate for your site?
  • Can your navigational system is easy to upgrade or edit in future?If you have to rewrite everything and every time, it is going to cost you a lot of time.
  • You can keep links three ways.

    One way is to keep simple textural links to next level pages. This you can see on this web site as a side navigation bar.

    Second way is to keep the links in a tree like structure.If you click on the ‘plus’ sign next to a link, sub links are displayed.

    Third method is to keep breadcrumb navigation.This means you will let the visitor know where he is on your web site.The links are present like- Home>>Web Designing>>navigation.shtml.

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