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How to reevaluate and improve site navigation

Let’s be honest: Your site navigation hasn’t changed since before mobile happened. No one finds your content, and you really aren’t sure what to do about it. A fairly simple and critical review that can make impact is by reviewing and improving site navigation.

I’ve noticed many website owners think once they’ve created website navigation, it’s almost precious, and never needs to change. But websites are living, breathing animals (stay with me here) that have to change to stay relevant, useful, and just plain found.
So what do you do? Rely on the CEO’s opinion? Ask your wife? Here, these questions should speed your progress and simplify the process so you can revisit as your site matures.

Reevaluate your site structure

  • What’s new or changed? Flowchart everything – even use Excel if you must – to see what you have. I personally love Slickplan, and it’s free at lower levels, and savable. Do you anticipate something coming down the line? Put it on there in a different color to make sure you don’t miss it. Is there outdated info needing removal or updates? Fix it.
  • What’s your end goal? A sale? Contact form filled out? Make sure it’s easy and the path is not convoluted. Make sure there’s a call to action, so interested users aren’t searching for your contact info.
  • Think about your users. What will they be looking for? Is your jargon appropriate or off-putting? Update. Sometimes you need to
  • What other ways do you evaluate? Consider these adjectives in :
    • Accessible (mobile friendly)
    • Consistent
    • Clear
    • Sticky (many users prefer navigation that stays with you as you scroll)
  • Is info buried? We’ve all been fans of dropdowns for a while, but a shallow, simple navigation benefits almost everyone. And remember, if everything is important, nothing is: If something has to be highlighted regularly, consider an alternative design decision like sidebar modules or popups.
  • My favorite, check out your Google Analytics to see which pages are being visited and which are ignored. And try out the amazing tool, Crazy Egg, to see where people actually click. I’ve seen it repeatedly, where a client hates or loves an element, and analytics tell the real story of what users want.
  • Can you move or repurpose content? I personally found that my testimonials page was never visited, but by placing them on different pages, they’re used and aren’t ignored.

Visualize

Once you’ve reevaluated, consider putting it on index cards or Post-its so it’s more visual, or tossing it on a whiteboard. Evaluate, reevaluate. Live with it. And put it into play.

Test it

Set a schedule so that you check back on GA and Crazy Egg to see how your new navigation is performing, and how your website is faring with the changes implemented.

Overall this requires some work, but the payoffs of a well functioning, easy to use and great performing site are more users and more sales.

Lisa GhisolfHow to reevaluate and improve site navigation
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