Optimized Navigation – The Key to Customer Engagement


If a customer cannot find what they are looking for on your site, they will leave. It’s as simple as that. Establishing proper navigation (the menu bar) is key. In this video, Eric Spellmann explains how to design the perfect navigation bar and gives his 4 link must-haves that double or even triple your online engagement with customers!


Note from Eric: Below, you will find a word-for-word transcript of this video. I provide this as an aid for the hearing-impaired and for those who might just want to read it rather than watch the video. This conversational style is not reflective of how I write. Be nice! Hi I am Eric Spellmann with EricSpellmann.com. Today we’re going to be talking about navigation. Specifically about how people get around your website. Believe it or not, a lot of people leave your website or leave any website simply because they can’t find something! So I’m going to be giving you the tips and tricks to make sure that your website engages the visitors on it. Let’s begin.First of all let’s talk about the experience itself. Have you ever been lost on a website? And we all know the answer is YES! Proper web design demands that you think about the navigation and how people are going to use your site.

How people are going to find and jump from one page to another? One of the biggest things people have a problem with is they see so many options on a page they don’t know what to click on. They have this idea in their head of what they’re looking for. They’re seeking something.

And if there’s nothing on your page, if there are no links on your page that connect with them on that and say “Hey the answer’s probably here.” Guess what. They’re going to hit the back button and go to your competitor.

So, whenever you’re thinking about the navigation on your page, one of my favourite tricks is to always have some goal in your mind. Like go to your website and have a goal in your mind that I need to find this. Where would I click and is it obvious what I click to find this. It really helps out a lot.

The result if people can’t find it of course is they left. They left your website if they can’t find it. You may have had the answer on there but they just can’t find. Also remember the rule of 3 clicks.

And I’ve mentioned it in other videos before. If someone can’t find anything on your website within 3 clicks, they’re going to leave! And that’s because remember, everyone on the internet has ADD and they’re lazy. Remember that, including you!

So the number one mistake people make as it relates to bad navigation on a website is using the wrong terminology. The key to good navigation is to use customer words. We want to avoid the jargon of your industry. Realtors and lawyers, unfortunately are the worst perpetrators to this. They’ve been doing what they do so long, that they start using some of that terminology on their website, terminology that lay people have no idea what it means.

So they’re not going to click on it. So look at your website. But more importantly, have someone else look at your website. Just ask em. Go up to someone who’s outside of your industry and say “Hey!

If you were looking for this on my website, what would you click on?” Or “Take a look at the navigation bar on the top and tell me if there’s something that doesn’t makes sense to you or you don’t know what would happen if you clicked on it.” I think you’ll be surprised at what you hear.

Remember, the key is to use normal people. Not other people at your business, not the CEO, not the Board of Directors, someone who’s outside of that, could be one of your potential customers.

In other words, you can use terminology if all of your potential customers already know that, but make sure that it is something that people understand.

Mistake number two, putting too many options. People, you have to consolidate them. I’ve been to some websites where there were multiple nav bars or menu bars. Some down the side and some across the top and then another set across the middle and I’m going “Oh my gosh too many options. Where do I go, what do I click on to find something.”

Consolidate. Think about the navigation. Even if you have to pull out a yellow piece of paper and just draw lines on it with boxes on where people would go to get to what, I know that’s low tech but it works! Always think about how many options you’re giving people.

What I prefer is to have one navigation bar, usually horizontal across the top and it can have some sub-menus on it. But the biggest mistake you can make when doing that is by creating sub-subs! And what I mean by sub-subs is you have a sub-menu that pops down, and when they hover over that another menu pops down!

I’m not a fan of that. The main reason is because so many people start doing it and go to sub-menus they move the mouse around and lose it and they have to start all over. And trust me that’s frustrating. And frustrated people on your website do not stay very long. They leave!

If you haven’t watched my bounce rate video, please do. Because those of you with poor navigation have a really high bounce rate. Avoid sub-subs. In other words one sub-menu, make sure you offer every option there is.

The number three mistake I see people make, as it relates to navigation they’re not using today’s web standards. Your website no matter who you are, no matter what industry you’re in, your website should have a “Home” button. And yes it should say “Home”.

I should be able to click there and go to the front page of your site. Now some of you are going “Eric my logo will go there too.” And yeah most people assume that. But you should still have a home button that will take em there also.

The “About Us”. It’s a pretty standard page. Usually it’s either called About Us or something to that effect. But I prefer kind of about us because it’s very that’s a credentialing page and that’s where people go to find out who the owner is, how long he’s been in business, what your business values are? That kind of thing.

The “Contact Us” page. And yes it needs to say Contact Us because believe it or not a lot of people are going to your website just because they want to call you, just because they want to shoot you an email and they don’t know how to do it.

I’m a huge fan of making sure your phone number is on EVERY SINGLE page! Why make it hard for people to contact you? But definitely it should be on the Contact Us page too. The Contact Us page usually consists of 3 pieces. It consists of a map of where your office is, like a Google Map that they can zoom in and zoom out and find where you are.

It should show your mailing address, your street address. If you just have a P.O.Box people might get a little nervous that you’re some scammy kind of a person. And finally, there’s usually a little form on there that they can fill out and hit submit and it will generate some sort of email that goes back to you.

So, one of the navigation bar items that needs to be on there is the Contact Us page. If you sell something on your website, like they can put it in a Shopping Cart and pay with their credit card, you really got to have a “Shop Now” button, and it should say exactly that in the nav bar.

If it says “Shop”, not good enough. Believe it or not you will get twice as many clicks, if you simply add the word “now” on there. It shouldn’t say products, it shouldn’t say catalogue. It should say Shop Now; because shop is an imperative verb and trust me most of the major national sites have it that way for a reason.

They’ve done studies. And in the marketing world, people like being told what to do, what to click on. And so that’s what you need to use.

Let me give you a good example. If you want to look this up, it’s a website in the United Kingdom called SH Marketing. And in my opinion, it’s got the worst navigation bar in history. And that’s because there is no bar. It’s not really a bar. There is little text down here at the bottom and it says “Click on the circles to find out more”.

Well you see all those circles and when you hover over it, it kind of appears in the bottom what that circle is like Contact Us or About Us and you don’t know what circle is what. It’s incredibly confusing. Now they were trying to be cute, they were trying to be cool.

But trust me, this experience is costing them a lot of visitors. And their bounce rate, I bet is through the roof. Now second, this site was built in flash. And I’ve told you before not to do that. Flash does not show up on Apple iPhones, iPads, basically half the mobile devices on the planet.

And remember by the year 2015, more people are going to be using mobile devices for the internet than PCs. So this site definitely better change it’s ways or it’s not going to see the traffic that it needs. The navigation is awful.

Well as always if you have any questions go to my facebook page. You can look us up “Spellmann Business Tech Tips” or you can go to my website ericspellmann.com and click on the facebook button. And you can also see a whole bunch of other videos or sign up for this newsletter where you can receive these videos via your email every single week.

If you need any help with your online marketing, if you need any help with your website also give me a call at the number you see or email me at the address on the screen. I am Eric Spellmann with EricSpellmann.com; I’ll see you in cyberspace.