When it comes to good SEO practices and site usability, particular attention needs to be made for website navigation and header layout.
As a website designer, we need to consider these 3 things:
- Ease of use on mobile and desktop browsers
- Keyword specific labels for services or product page links
- Simple to navigate without needing a GPS!
Lets expand on these 3 things and learn why they are important.
Browser and Device Compatibility
When we know that over 80% of people search for products and services on their mobile devices, we want to make sure that when they land on our website, it both works efficiently on smaller screens as well as being adaptable to standard desktop layouts. Consideration needs to be made towards button and link sizes as users will be navigating with their fingers. We can also incorporate mobile only options such as ‘call now’ and ‘get directions’ buttons.
Testing of your site needs to be done on as many browsers as possible. A recent WordPress plugin developer we dealt with only used Safari on his iMac and couldn’t troubleshoot or even acknowledge problems people were having with his plugin on PC desktops running Chrome or Firefox. Don’t leave yourself open to having a terrible looking site. Try all the main browsers like Google Chrome, Apple’s Safari, Mozilla Firefox and Opera. You might want to also try a few different versions, as some people will not have updated their computer to the latest versions.
On mobile devices, test across Apple, Android based and Windows based smartphones and tablets.
Keyword Navigation Labels, for SEO purposes
This is only something we have been doing recently ourselves. As search bots like Google and Bing come to index your website and it’s pages, the first thing they get to read is usually your navigation and header area. In this area, make sure your site contains primary keywords, opengraph and social media data, meta titles and descriptions, as well as links to your main pages.
For example, this site (xmediads.rocks) uses side slide navigation on desktop and mobile devices and rather than the word “services” as a label, you will find navigation labels containing keywords related to what we do. For example, DIY SEO and DIY WEBSITE links tell Google that we help with search engine optimisation and website repairs and builds. Avoid stop words in your navigation titles too.
Keep Navigation Simple
After all, this is why we have menus, to help people navigate our site. Make it as user friendly as possible!
Don’t make drop down menus too deep or ongoing. Make use of subcategory pages if need be. Once again, don’t forget that your menu needs to work well on mobile devices!!
If you have your menu layout all worked out, be sure to choose the colours and text appropriately. Last thing we want is something that looks pretty but is absolutely shit to use. Keep colour choice simple, and make sure there is good contrast, like black on white, or white on black.
Navigation is only a small part of your website, but can make a massive difference to the usability of your site. With people’s attention spans and tolerance levels ever decreasing, don’t let them give up on you from the start of your site. After site loading speed and find-a-bility on Google, navigation is the next most important step!