Website Structure And Navigation

Description: Have you ever got lost in among the pages of a website and come right out of it because you couldn't find what you wanted? That very situation is why structure and navigation are vitally important to the overall success - or failure - of your site.

There are millions of sites on the internet on every subject imaginable, all trying to get your attention and make you stay for a while once you find them. What sets the good sites apart from the bad sites is the way they try and keep you there.

Some do it in a very sneaky way - they almost want you to get lost among their pages so you'll never find your way out again. Why people think this will get you to buy something or like their site any more (or even at all) is a mystery; all it does is frustrate you for the lack of good direction, layout and navigation.

The good sites are run by people who know how to make life easy for you. Excellent navigation and a good solid structure provide the backbone to every single successful site online today, and if you make sure your site has these two essential things as well, you will be much more likely to keep people on your site for longer.

The key word to remember here is simplicity. Don't make your site hard to understand. Everything should be organized logically and it should all be easy to access. When you are planning your website it can help enormously to go back to using a plain old pen and paper for a while, at least during the early stages. Work out what pages your home page needs to link to, and whether you will need subsections that lead off from those.

The overall structure will depend on how big your site is going to be. It doesn't make sense to try and link to fifty other pages from your home page; it will simply be too much for the average visitor to pick their way through. Instead, break the subject of your site down into several smaller areas. Your visitors can then click on the specific area they have an interest in and go in that in more depth from another page.

Make sure the navigation structure you use is the same on each web page you design. This will create a familiarity for the visitor and make it even easier for them to find their way around your site. A top or left hand side menu bar works best in this respect.

In the end it's worth spending a good amount of time on the planning and structure of your site. By putting in the work in the early stages you will reap the rewards later on.

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