A key objective for your commercial Web site is not just to attract people to the site but to encourage them to stay. If you
make it difficult for people to move around your site and find information,not only will they
move on quickly, but the chances are that they will not return. It is up to you to make it easy to navigate around your site.

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Make navigation on your website easier

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A key objective for your commercial Web site is not just to attract people to the site, but to encourage them to stay.

If you make it difficult for people to move around your site and find information, not only will they move on quickly, but the chances are that they will not return. It is up to you to make it easy to navigate around your site.

Here are a few tips on easy navigation for your visitors:

  1. If you use clickable icons or an image map for navigation, provide hypertext links as well - on the same page, not as a 'text-only' version of your site. Remember that as many as 25 per cent of your visitors may not choose or be able to show graphics.

  2. Have your navigation mechanisms near the top of the page - and maybe repeat them at the bottom. If you only have them at the top, make it easy for visitors to reach the top of the page quickly.

  3. Always have a way for visitors to return to your home page, but don't make them have to re-visit the home page every time they want to view a new page on your site. Put navigation tools to the most important pages on nearly every page on your site.

  4. Try to avoid visitors having to go more than three levels deep at any time - and for important information that you want them to see, place it just one level below the home page.

  5. On your home page, give an overview of what information is on your site so that they can go rapidly to the information that they want to view.

  6. Don't assume that one or two cryptic words on a tool bar will give visitors enough information about what to find on a page when they hit a button.

  7. If you are providing links (reciprocal or otherwise) to other sites, don't put them on your home page, or you may lose your visitors immediately, without them having the chance to explore your site.

  8. Don't advise visitors to use their browser's 'back button' to return to other pages on your site. You can't assume that they've entered your site from the home page. If they've been surfing from a search engine, they could arrive anywhere on your site. Make sure that your cyberspace visitors have ample sign posts, wherever they land on your 'Web Site Planet'!

  9. Before you launch a new or amended site, try out the navigation on people who don't know their way around.

One good source of information on Web site navigation is the book "World Wide Web Marketing" by Jim Sterne, President of Target Marketing of Santa Barbara, CA. He also includes details on using on-site search engines to help your visitors to find their way to information on your site. All in all, one of the best books we've encountered recently on Internet marketing (and we're not on commission, honest!)

Remember, Internet marketing in general, and Web marketing in particular, is initially all about pull-marketing rather than push-marketing. You have to attract people to your site, rather than going out and inviting people onto your site. But once you've got them there, make it an easy and enjoyable experience for them so that they will not only stay to explore the information you are offering, but will return for more.

If you want to look at ways of using 'push-marketing' have a look at our archived article on Outbound Internet Marketing by IBM's Tom Vassos


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