One of the most important steps of a website design process is determining how you will organize your content.
When doing a facelift to an existing website, we often encounter sites that have 10, 15… even 20 or more navigation choices listed on the site. This creates confusion for website visitors, requiring people to waste a lot of time reading long lists.
Your goal should be to consolidate your content into no more than seven top-level navigation sections. Each of these top level sections can have sub-pages… even sub-sub-pages… but even with tens of thousands of pages, you should be able to organize your content into seven sections or less.
One good example is The White House. The largest bureaucracy in the world, they still have organized their enormous website into seven sections.
- Are the menu titles something that would be understood by your target audiences? Do they avoid industry words that your customers don’t understand? Have you organized your menus the way your organize your business internally – OR are they organized by the way your customers think about their problems/needs? (do the latter)
- Do your menu choices match words that prospective customers are searching for on Google and other search engines?
- Did you consolidate your navigation to no more than seven top level menu choices to avoid overwhelming your visitors?
- Are your menu choices BROAD enough to give you flexibility when adding sub pages later? A good test for this is the following: If you anticipate adding a page in the future that wouldn’t fit under one of your top-level categories, you may need to re-think the top level organization.
- Are the menu choices TARGETED enough that each sub page would only fit in one category? A good test for this is the following: If a certain sub page could fit in multiple top-level categories, you may need to re-think the top level organization.