If you use Google Analytics you may be happy to see a bump up in “pages visited” and “average time spent”. However, users spending a lot of time on your website does not necessarily mean more conversions. Link organization has a high effect on how users navigate through your website and the conversion rate. Revising your website’s link structure, menu design, and HTML sitemap can go a long way in improving user experience.
Designing Link Menus For Convenience & Consistency
The menu at the top of your website is the most important tool in user navigation. When it comes to designing these menus, simplistic design is key. One frequent problem websites often have is an over cluttered menu. Organize your website into an easy flow chart and deliver on this design on the menu. Another problem is having pages that do not have the same menus. Having a consistent menu on every page is important for user navigation. It is also recommended to attach either a phone number or email in the header with the menu to increase the conversion rate.
Click Depth & The Three-Click Rule
Although the three click rule is a good gauge of your website’s flow and organization. Essentially, a user should always be three clicks away to any page from the home page. For example, from the home page, a user can click “blogs & news” and then click a blog. Although this rule does not need to be followed to the letter, there should not be many pages on your website that take five to ten clicks to get to. Users want to get important information quickly and efficiently. Make sure to test click depth on pages on your website.
Orphan pages can be helpful when tracking form fill out conversions. And that is about it for their helpfulness. There should be almost no pages published on your website that cannot be reached from another landing page. Other than tracked “thank you” pages make sure that there is no orphaned content. Orphaned content is not only bad for user experience but also for Google & Bing’s sitemap crawling.
One of the best ways to promote good user experience is with an HTML sitemap in the footer of a website. Html sitemaps are great for link organization. By providing users with easy access to the main pages of your website, you make finding information easier. However, much like with menus, it is important to only highlight necessary pages in this sitemap. If you have a large website, having a sitemap of more than 30 links will no longer be helpful for users. Keep sitemaps concise.