We’ve already talked about the benefits of looking at your own website with a fresh perspective, especially when approaching the experience from the point of view of your customers. It’s a great way of making significant changes without having to implement a total overhaul.
Last time, we looked at ways to improve readability and performance. For those of you who might have missed it, you can read what we had to say here.
For everybody else, let’s dive straight in and look at another one of the most effective ways to improve your website from a customer standpoint.
The pathway to a better website
A well defined ‘customer journey’ is something you may have already put in place across other areas of your business. It’s a major component of the overall customer experience and an essential aspect of meeting your own commercial objectives while delivering quality customer service.
Well, the exact same thing applies when it comes to your website.
Intuitive, objective-driven navigation is the cornerstone of any successful website. Regardless of whether you’re looking to increase brand awareness, create warm leads, or convert sales right there and then, it’s important to have a clear pathway that makes it simple for customers to do whatever it is you want them to do.
What’s more, search engines use your website navigation to discover and index new pages through internal link architecture (the links within your website that connect your pages). This is how search engines understand the content and context of the destination page and determine the usefulness of your website relative to the needs of users. The more useful and relevant your website, the greater the search visibility.
Unfortunately, not every website’s navigation is thought out in this way. Either the right navigation wasn’t there, to begin with, or, as things change over time, the navigation function that was originally implemented no longer serves the needs of the user and the business. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make improvements to help fix a few things.
Just to be clear: The most effective navigation is always planned in advance before website development even begins. Without venturing into the realms of a complete redesign, or even the need to rearrange things from the backend, here is a list of best practices you should be able to implement yourself.
1. Use internal links (especially in your blog content)
You probably implement links across your website, but are you using them to their full potential? Just to clarify, we’re talking about internal links here. These are the ones that link from one page on your website to another page on your website, not the ones that link elsewhere.
Linking internally is website navigation in its simplest form — directing users from point of relevant information to the next — but is extremely effective at helping users to find exactly what they are looking for. Moreover, internal links, when used correctly, can help ‘guide’ users in the direction you want to take them, essentially serving as a call-to-action on your webpage.