Streamline Site Navigation for Holiday Traffic, Part 1
If you think of point A as a prospect's entry to your website and point B as the content they came to your site to find, then you can see the wisdom of creating the shortest distance possible between points A and B. That path should be direct, logical and fast, particularly if you want to see lucrative conversion rates this holiday shopping season. Unfortunately, poor website navigation can derail the path your site visitors take, leading them away from desired products and potentially away from your site altogether.
Thankfully, direct and intuitive site navigation is well within reach of every online marketer. Whether you have an online retail storefront or you’re offering content, here are several tips for streamlining site navigation just in time for the holiday rush.
Offer several ways to select and unselect refinements. Make it easy for visitors to add or remove refinements by using check marks beside their choices. This lets people easily remove a single refinement choice without deleting other selected refinements. A “clear all” choice can be added as well. You can also leave a trail that enables them to link back to a particular category page or higher navigation level.
Show ratings and reviews within product information that’s displayed on navigation pages. This tells visitors that you have ratings and reviews, making them more likely to check out this information and use it to make purchasing decisions.
Use banners to enhance navigation pages. Banners give visitors a visual confirmation of their navigation location, indicating where they are in your site's navigational hierarchy. Banners can also help you highlight sales, special promotions, and popular products or content related to the navigation results.
Provide different ways to rank products. Your business needs might dictate a certain order for ranking products. For instance, you might rank them by “on sale” or “new arrivals” to highlight deals. However, allow visitors to also choose from other ranking options such as least or most expensive, most clicked, or highest rated.
Consider the needs of mobile users. Navigating on small screens is particularly tricky. Varying network speeds make navigating among big images and highly designed websites a real headache. Keep these limitations in mind when developing your mobile website. For instance, you may need to present refinements in different ways, such as a drop-down menu that gives users full refinement capability while saving screen space. You can also add a search box to the bottom of the page so mobile users can continue searching without having to scroll up to the top.
Solicit feedback. Depending on the type of products and content you offer, your visitors may prefer to navigate a website by category, brand, date or section/department. Gaining feedback is essential to improving navigation. You can use pop-up boxes to ask for feedback, put a link on a category page to ask visitors if they found what they were looking for or send an email once a customer has made a purchase.
In part two of this navigation tips overview coming next week, I’ll share more ways to display refinements and improve navigation design.