5 Ways to Optimize Your Site Navigation for Better Conversions


November 15, 2016 By

Cheryl Dykstra


You may not realize it, but your website navigation plays a huge role in the success of your website in converting visitors. And this doesn’t just apply to the navigation on your homepage. Nearly 50% of visitors who arrive at an internal page of your site use the navigation menu to adjust themselves.

Your website navigation should give your visitors enough options to find what they’re looking for, but not too many that they get lost or overwhelmed.

In this article, we will look at five ways to make your navigation more user-friendly and ultimately increasing your conversions.

1. Utilize keyword research to choose relevant menu items

Keyword research shouldn’t be reserved for search engine optimization or choosing blog topics. Since your menu items are often your most important pages, make sure they’re optimized for popular, highly relevant keywords.

For example, if you’re a florist, you might include navigation links to what you see as your most important pages: Flowers, Gallery, Blog, and Consultation form.

However, using Google’s Keyword Planner, you’ll find there are a number of other categories you could potentially include in your navigation, including: 

  • Wedding Flowers
  • Flower Delivery
  • Occasions

If you don’t offer the services you find using keyword research, you obviously won’t want to include them your navigation. However, knowing people are regularly searching for these phrases might make you consider adding them to your product or service offerings.

2. Stay customer focused

This tip goes hand-in-hand with using relevant keywords to help guide your navigation. It’s easy to get caught up in running your business and ignore why your customers are truly coming to your website. But when planning your site navigation this can lead to confusion, frustration and higher bounce rates.

If you focus too much on one section of your business, such as your past work, you could miss out on other important information that visitors are searching for, such as pricing info, testimonials, or contact information.

3. Test different menu styles

There are many navigation styles to choose from, including drop-down menus, text links, breadcrumbs, and flyout menus. Many sites use more than one style.

While you want your navigation to match the look and feel of the rest of your site, keep in mind that looks aren’t everything. The style that looks best to you (or even to your visitors) may not actually be the one that results in the highest conversions.

Do some testing with your navigation. You may find it has a bigger impact on your conversions than you think.

4. Be clear with your wording

If the text you’re using for your navigation isn’t 100% clear, you could lose visitors before they even reached a product page.

An example where this was a problem is StubHub. After they did some usability testing, it was discovered that one link was causing major confusion among their visitors. The link was intended to direct visitors back to the ticket purchase page so they could complete their order and it read “See Details”.

During the testing they found that visitors didn’t really understand where the link would be taking them, so they didn’t click. Which meant they would leave the site mid-way through their order.

After changing the “See Details” link to an orange button that said “Go” they saw a 2.6% increase in conversions, which resulted in an increase of several million dollars.

5. Use sub-navigation and internal links

Sub-navigation menus are often used to display second-tier items. They are typically either plain text links or links on a primary drop-down menu.

These links help to display more information without cluttering your main navigation. For instance, with our florist example, you could utilize a drop down menu under an Occasions menu item to list important, relevant items such as Birthday, Get Well Soon, or the closest holiday (which you can switch out throughout the year so you don’t clutter the drop down menu).

However, links in your navigation are not the only links that matter. Links within your content should also direct visitors to relevant content and products found elsewhere on your site. This not only helps spread link juice throughout your site, it also provides a better experience for your visitors. Remember though – only link to relevant pages or offers, or both trust and conversions will suffer.

To wrap it up…

Your navigation should make it easy for your visitors to find exactly what they’re looking for. Your menu, sub-navigation and internal link structure should all work together to move visitors toward your ultimate goal – conversions.

If you’re looking to create a beautiful website that converts, contact us today using the contact form below or call us at (407) 682-2222 to learn about our web development and design options.

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