WordPress Navigation Menu – Make sure your visitors can get to where you want them to get to!

WordPress Navigation Menu – If you go to all the trouble to create a decent business website, add useful content to it and get ranked in Google so you are getting some targeted traffic, it seems a shame to then not direct your website visitors to where you want them to go.

So here are some tips on directing your visitors to where you want them to go, or to complete the particular action that you require. At the bottom of this post is a video tutorial on how to create and edit WordPress menus.

I’ll start with navigation as there are some basics that you’ll want to adhere to concerning navigation before you move on to more advanced ideas.

WordPress Navigation Menu

The bigger your site the more important a good WordPress navigation menu is, however even for websites of just a few pages it is still important.

In this post I will look at a number of aspects of the navigation menu in WordPress and also, more advanced ideas on how to direct your visitors to tale the action that you, the business owner, want your website visitors to take.

Consistent WordPress Navigation

Being consistent with your WordPress navigation menu means both how and where your navigation links appear. Make your navigation appear in the same place with the same look and feel on all the different sections of your website. That way users will always know where they stand and won’t be fumbling about trying to find the links on a particular page.

Where should the nav-bar appear?

The nav-bar is short for navigation bar, or menu.

Some years ago navigation menus often appeared vertically in the right or left sidebar, and sometimes they still do. However with the advent of mobiles and tablets it seems to have become widely accepted that the navigation will be placed horizontally along the top of the website – either above or below the main header.

Most users have become used to this convention and it suits tablets and mobile devices better too, so this is where your primary navigation should be found.

Navigation tips for WordPress

WordPress Page Navigation – Divide Categories

If you have different categories be sure to have WordPress page navigation that reflects this.

The number of WordPress navigation menu items will dictate to a large extent exactly how you order the menu, but you should put your services first and have a separate tab for each distinct service, followed by ‘About’ and ‘Contact’, eg.

Home – Service 1 – service 2 – service 3 – about – contact

Additional admin pages can then follow after, or be placed in a ‘Top’ or ‘Footer’ menu – these will be pages like Privacy, Terms, Sitemap, etc.

This is obviously based on the importance of the pages – you want to present users with your products and services first rather than your ‘Ts & Cs’ or ‘Privacy Policy’.

Navigation WordPress – Clear and Descriptive Labels

Help users understand what content they will be getting with good labelling.

This is something of an art because as well as being descriptive a label needs to be short so that all the menu tabs can fit on the bar.

Having relevant descriptive labels also helps Google understand what is behind a link.

Navigation Bar WordPress – Breadcrumbs

‘Breadcrumbs’ always remind me of the story of Theseus and the Minotaur – he took a ball of yarn and unravelled it as he made his way through the labyrinth so he could easily retrace his steps.

Breadcrumbs work the same way – they are a trail of where the visitor has come from which appear just below the nav-bar on the right-hand side of the page.

This makes it easy for the user to know where they are, how they got there and how to get back to a previously viewed page.

See example below;

navigation menu WordPress

Navigation Menu WordPress – Search Feature

An in-site search feature can be very useful on larger sites where someone may have to spend a bit of time and make a few clicks before they can find what they want.

This bypasses the regular navigation but can be considered as an offshoot of it as it helps a user get to where they want quickly.

WordPress Post Navigation – Identify and Foreground Your Most Popular Content

So now we are moving away from discussing a regular WordPress navigation  menu and move onto the more advanced tactic of actively directing your visitor to where you want them to go.

What are the pages that you want your users to visit? What pages contain the most popular content on your website?

You can encourage visitors to click-through to those pages by adding larger image links on the home page below the main nav-bar.

Look at this example;

WordPress navigation

Direct Your Visitor – Calls-to-Action

Having a consistent, descriptive and logical WordPress navigation menu is important, but actually directing your visitor to complete your desired action is even more vital!

What exactly do you want your visitor to do when they arrive on your website? For most businesses it is to make an enquiry – either by picking up the phone and calling or by completing a short form to receive an email or call-back.

A surprising number of websites do not have this feature or relegate to the bottom of the page!

A business website whose primary aim is not to generate leads and enquiries has got its priorities wrong!

You can use simple banners to highlight and direct users to a call-back form or a special offer.

See example below;

WordPress navigation menu

WordPress Navigation Menu – Summary

A good WordPress Navigation menu encourages visitors to browse your site, which is good for SEO – the longer someone stays on your site the more Google considers your website relevant!

Combine that with a clear direction incorporating calls-to-action and your site will begin to generate leads – provided you have a compelling offer to go with it!