…part of the “Ten Ways to Maximize Your Small Business Website’s Performance” series…
Don’t frustrate your visitors. Present your navigation in a clear and intuitive manner so information can be found easily. Your visitors should be able to move through your web site naturally, without having to think through all the possibilities and decide among them. “Where should I go next?” and “Which button will take me to the place I need?” are not the thoughts you want your customers to have. You want them to have thoughts like, “Wow! This is just what I need! I’m so glad I found this web site! I’ll contact them right away!”
This means that navigation is not the place for exciting new approaches. Navigation buttons should look like navigation buttons. Attractive, special, visually appealing navigation buttons, but navigation buttons all the same. Put them in places where people expect to find them.
Try to have no more than 5 to 7 main navigation buttons and then create sub-pages below them with relevant information pages. Organize them in a logical way that will make sense to your visitors’ brains even while they’re not thinking about it.
A well-designed highway or airport gets people to their destinations without making them stop and figure things out. Your website should have the same effect.