Website Navigation Design Best Practices: 9 UX Tips

Even the most beautiful website is not guaranteed to actually drive results or help to grow your business. If your visitors don’t like it, the best design and graphics matter little. That’s why user experience (UX) should play a crucial part in any web…

Even the most beautiful website is not guaranteed to actually drive results or help to grow your business. If your visitors don’t like it, the best design and graphics matter little. That’s why user experience (UX) should play a crucial part in any web development and management effort.

As its name suggests, UX describes the degree to which your website is easy and comfortable to use for any visitors. Particular emphasis, of course, is paid to members of your target audience, along with their expectations and satisfaction as they browse around your site and find (or don’t find) your conversion points.

It’s a complex topic, and one that should permeate your entire website strategy. Emphasizing UX during the build but not during regular updates means starting at a great point, but allowing it to decompose over time. The way visitors navigate around your online presence is a particularly important factor in this effort. To maximize the success of your online presence, consider these 9 UX tips to improve your website navigation.

1) Always Stay Consistent with User Conventions

Your navigation is not the place to differentiate your brand. The best choice is following the conventions your visitors are already used to, such as:

  • Keeping the main menu horizontal near the top of the page.
  • Linking the logo on the top right of all pages back to the home page.
  • Making the menu stand out from the background through contrasting colors.

The more consistent you are, the easier the navigation will be for visitors who are used to the ways in which most sites operate.

2) Adjust Your Menus to Usage Situations

Never assume that the same menu will work for all situations. Instead, treat your navigation the same way you treat your entire website: make it response. Its size should change based on screen size, collapsing into a hamburger menu for mobile devices. Complex main menus with countless choices do not tend to work well for this type of adjustability. In fact, 67% of your users will leave if they don’t find a mobile-friendly navigation.

3) Keep an Updated Planning Sheet For Your Menus

Don’t build your menu alongside your website. Instead, plan it out ahead of time. Know exactly how you want to organize your website, and stick to that organization even as your online presence expands. A simple excel planning sheet can help you keep track of a navigation and keep it easy to operate for first-time and returning visitors as your website becomes more complex.

4) For Complex Sites, Consider a Multi-Menu Structure

Speaking of complex sites: if your structure developed through the planning document above becomes too complex, consider a secondary menu. Many large websites, for instance, use a vertical menu in addition to their horizontal top menu to get into sections and subsections of their website. That vertical menu can change with individual pages and sections, whereas the primary menu should stay consistent across your website.

5) Show the User Breadcrumbs of Where they Are

Never leave your users guessing on where they are at a given point in time. Especially mobile users on a hamburger menu will need to know how they can easily get back to where they came from, should the need arise. Fortunately, you can easily accomplish that feat through ‘breadcrumbs’, such as a navigation path on each page of your website. That way, navigating back to a higher-level site is never more than a click away.

6) Keep Your Primary Navigation Consistent

Secondary navigation items might change over time. But ideally, your core navigation – from your homepage to your about us section – should always remain available for your users. Typically, that is represented in a bar across the top, or the first choices of a hamburger menu for mobile users. Either way, keep it consistent on every page so that your users can always get back to the major pages should the need arise.

7) Don’t Get Fancy With Menu Titles

In graphic and web design, it’s tempting to get fancy. But if that creativity starts taking away from your UX, you have a problem. Instead of getting fancy with your language and design within the navigation, keep it simple. That way, you avoid alienating the significant number of visitors who will leave your site simply because it takes them more than a few seconds to find what they need.

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8) Place Universal Links in Your Footer

Traditionally, the footer of your website – which is consistent across all pages – has been used for important information such as your physical address and privacy policy. But that doesn’t have to be the end of it. Instead, consider linking to key pages here as well as in your core navigation. You can include conversion pages, valuable content, and more to maximize their visibility and make them easy to find for all users.

9) Never Underestimate the Search Feature

Too many businesses don’t consider the search feature to be part of their website’s navigation. In reality, it just might be the most important tool you have available. Almost 90 percent of companies don’t optimize their internal search, even though 30 percent of visitors actively use it. Through smart optimization, you can help your users find exactly what they’re looking for without ever having to click on a navigation link. New trends, such as voice search, will further enhance the importance of this feature.

Building A UX-Centered Navigation

UX means making sure that as your visitors arrive on your website, they have as pleasant of an experience as possible. That necessarily means optimizing your navigation with your target audience in mind. Especially as more users browse your site on mobile devices, effective menus can make the difference between a bounce and a conversion.

That means taking a strategic approach to your navigation is absolutely crucial. Plan it out, and don’t be afraid to follow conventions. Test it with real users to see their reactions and improvement suggestions before rolling it out to a wider audience. Through building a UX-centered navigation, you can maximize the potential of your website as well as its impact on your business.

Tips to Optimize Your Facebook Business Page

Your Facebook business page is an effective tool for engaging with your customers and getting more people interested in your business. At the same time, if you want to get the most…

Your Facebook business page is an effective tool for engaging with your customers and getting more people interested in your business. At the same time, if you want to get the most out of Facebook you have to follow certain guidelines. You’re competing with thousands of other businesses in your niche so it’s essential to stand out.

Why You Need a Business Page

To begin with, make sure you create a Facebook business page and not try to promote your business from your personal profile. A business page provides quite a few benefits.

  • A professional image. A business page with your logo, description, and contact information helps you establish yourself as a legitimate business.
  • Staying within Facebook’s TOS. You’re not supposed to use your personal profile for business purposes so you put your account at risk by doing so.
  • Friends vs. Followers – Personal profiles limit the number of friends you can have to 5,000. A page, however, can get unlimited followers.
  • Access analytics. You can track your numbers from your business page with Facebook Insights. You can’t do this from your profile.
  • Publish reviews. People can review your business page, which provides social proof that helps you attract more customers.

Now let’s look at some ways to optimize your Facebook business page.

Brand Your Page

As long as you have a business page, you may as well take every opportunity to use it to build and promote your brand.

  • Claim a vanity URL. It’s always better to have a custom URL that contains your business name. If you have a common name (e.g. Johnson’s Auto Repair), you may have to tweak the name a little to make it unique. One caveat is that you need 25 likes before you can claim a vanity URL.
  • Use an eye-catching cover photo. The cover photo at the top of your page will be one of the first things visitors notice. Make sure it reflects well on your business. Avoid using generic stock photos and post a unique and relevant photo.
  • Write a good description. The About section is the summary of your business. You want people to get a clear idea of what you do by reading this.
  • Create custom tabs. Another branding tactic that you can use on your page is to replace the generic tabs at the top of the page (such as “About” and “Likes”) with your own tabs. When visitors click on your tab, it brings them to the relevant place on your page or to an external website. For example, if you have a tour company you could have a tab for “Book a Trip” that leads to the appropriate page on your website. You’ll need to do some programming or hire a developer to create custom tabs.

Post Interesting Content

The adage “content is king” applies to social media as much as websites. Ultimately, it’s the quality of your content that motivates people to visit your page. As with blog posts, you need to consider topics that are compelling to your audience. Here are some factors to consider.

  • Post regularly. You need to post regularly if you want to stay fresh in people’s minds. However, if you don’t post content that’s interesting and relevant, your followers won’t want to keep returning. They may even unlike your page. You need a good balance between quality and quantity.
  • Repurpose content. If you’re having trouble finding content for your page, you can always reuse items you’ve posted elsewhere, such as your blog.
  • Post interesting visual content. One study revealed that images get 37% more engagement than text. People are more likely to share photos, videos, infographics screenshots and other visual content than plain text. This doesn’t mean you should only post images, of course. You need a balance.
  • Broadcast live. Facebook Live is a powerful tool to engage your customers in real time. Broadcast from your business or at a special event and answer questions.
  • Learn to post at the best times. You can research the best days and times for social media posting but it really varies depending on your business. Find out when you get the most engagement and plan your schedule accordingly.

Respond to Posts and Messages

It’s nice to get a large number of likes for your Facebook page. More important, however, is to have people who return regularly and actually engage with your page. For this to happen, you need to make your page interactive and respond to your followers. When you answer comments and questions, it encourages more people to participate. This gives you a chance to express your brand’s tone and personality. Decide, for example, whether you want your style to be light and humorous or formal and professional.

It’s equally important to respond to messages (which are private as opposed to public comments on your timeline). In fact, Facebook pays close attention to how responsive you are. Try to earn a “very responsive to messages” badge, which will encourage more people to send you messages. In order to earn this badge, you need to maintain a 90% response rate and average response time of 15 minutes.

Use the Right Call-To-Action

The real purpose of your Facebook page is to get people to take action, whether this means buying a product, signing up for a mailing list or visiting your brick and mortar business. To get people to take action, you need to give them prompts and Facebook makes it easy to do this.

You can place a button at the top of your Facebook page, next to the Like and Message buttons to get people to sign up for your list or visit your website. There are several buttons from which to choose such as “Shop Now,” “Contact Us,” and “Watch Video.” This is a good way to turn followers and visitors into subscribers and shoppers. You can also boost your call-to-action button with paid advertising.

Get More Reviews on Facebook

Online reviews are extremely important for getting new customers to try your business. Along with Google, Yelp, and a few others, Facebook is one of the most important review sites. Someone searching for your type of business can find your Facebook page and reviews on Google as well as by searching on Facebook itself.

  • Make sure reviews are activated. To begin with, you need to activate your review tab so that people can leave reviews for your business. You can do this under page settings.
  • Monitor your reviews. You want to know about it when someone leaves you a review. If notifications are on for your page, you’ll get notified whenever there’s a new review.
  • Respond to all reviews. Always respond to reviews, whether positive or negative. For critical reviews, stay calm and do everything you can to satisfy the customer. You should always thank people for positive reviews.
  • Spot fake reviews. If you suspect a review is fake (e.g. posted by a competitor rather than a real customer), you can report it. You do this the same way you’d report any type of Facebook post, by clicking on the “report post” button.
  • Ask customers to review your business. Remind customers, especially happy ones, to leave you a review. You can ask them in person, in your emails, or anywhere you promote your business online or offline.

Track Your Facebook Analytics

As mentioned, one of the advantages of having a business page is that you can track analytics with Facebook Insights. This free tool lets you track useful metrics such as likes, engagement and reach. In addition to monitoring your own analytics, you can use Insights to keep an eye on your competition. You can access anyone’s Facebook page and see what kind of engagement they’re getting. This provides useful clues about what is and isn’t working for your competitors.

Start Seeing Results

These are some ways to help you get the most out of your business page on Facebook. It takes some effort to create and manage your page but it can really help you build an active audience. Most of your customers are probably using Facebook so you should do everything you can to connect with them when they log on. Using Facebook as a digital marketing tool for your business is crucial to stay connected with past, current and future customers. To learn more about the optimizing your business page on Facebook, contact us today.

Tips For Finding the Most Effective B2C Marketing Channels

With limited time and resources, you have to choose your marketing channels carefully. You want to identify the strategies that help you connect with the right audience and give you the best ROI. With an ever-expanding number of…

With limited time and resources, you have to choose your marketing channels carefully. You want to identify the strategies that help you connect with the right audience and give you the best ROI. With an ever-expanding number of choices, it’s not always easy to know where to focus your efforts. The following are some key tips to help you find the most effective B2C marketing channels.

Digital Marketing is the Future

In general, digital marketing is the best area to invest your marketing dollars. According to a report by Forrester, US businesses will spend more than $100 billion in the 2014-2019 period. This includes social media, email, digital advertising, and search marketing. This amount far exceeds traditional advertising methods such as TV, radio, and print media advertising.

Agile Marketing: B2B vs. B2C

While digital marketing is going to dominate both B2B and B2C marketing, it’s important to understand the distinction. In many ways, B2C is simpler because your message is aimed at a broad audience (with B2B you often need to target a specific person, such as the CEO, buyer, or manager of a department). On the other hand, B2C consumers are more fickle because it’s easier for them to switch brands based on price, special deals, and changes in service. You have to constantly woo your customers and make sure you’re offering them the best deal right now. Fortunately, digital marketing gives you plenty of options for agile marketing that’s ideal for B2C.

Know Your Customers

In order to identify the best marketing channels for your business, you need to know your customers as thoroughly as possible. Here are some guidelines to help you do this.

  • Keep up with demographics and market research. Knowing who is most interested in your products based on criteria such as age, gender, income, and geography give you insights into their behavior. For example, younger consumers are more likely to use social media sites such as Snapchat and Instagram. Pinterest users are primarily female.
  • Study your metrics. Identify the buyer’s journey for your products. Do people find you via search engines, advertising, Facebook, or other platforms? Your customers may learn about your products from a Google search, YouTube videos, or paid ads. On the other hand, they may actually purchase after signing up for your email list and getting a series of messages.
  • Monitor social media. Social media monitoring or listening lets you find out what people are saying about your business, your competitors, and your entire industry. While data is essential, it’s also good to actually read and listen to what your customers are saying. It also allows you to monitor influencers and find out which ones are connecting with your audience.
  • Watch the competition. Your competition often provides useful information about your customers. You may notice that a certain competitor has a large following on YouTube, for example. If you’re not doing video marketing, you may consider starting your own channel to reach your customers and perhaps steal some from the competition.

Engage With Customers

One of the biggest differences between traditional outbound marketing such as print and TV advertising and inbound marketing is engagement. Website visitors and social media followers shouldn’t be seen as passive viewers but as active participants. When you elicit feedback from people, you make them feel more connected to your brand. You can also use engagement as a metric to determine which channels are most advantageous for your marketing. Use your website and social media pages to create an online community. In addition to posting informative content, encourage your readers and viewers to participate. Here are some community-building and engagement tactics:

  • Ask questions and invite people to share their opinions.Ending a blog post or entry on your Facebook page with a question is a simple way to get people to respond. Questions also make provocative tweets.
  • Start a forum on your website. This requires a bit of work as you have to manage it but with today’s technology, it’s not difficult. Once a forum picks up some momentum, members do much of the heavy lifting for you.
  • Post polls and surveys. This helps you learn about people’s preferences for your products and customer service as well as for your website and social media.
  • Create a rewards or loyalty program. Everyone likes to earn rewards and discounts. Almost any type of business can find a way to reward frequent customers.
  • Hold contests. Social media contests are another powerful tactic to build community and engagement. They also provide more helpful data to help you gauge the effectiveness of channels.

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Take a Multichannel Approach

Whichever channels you use in your marketing, it’s essential these days to implement an integrated approach. While some campaigns will prove more effective than others, you have to recognize that your customers are now using multiple devices and channels.

  • Maintain a consistent brand identity. The key to implementing a successful multichannel strategy is to make sure your efforts are consistent and coordinated. You naturally have to tailor your approach to each platform. At the same time, you want your tone, images, and overall message to be the same across channels.
  • Integrate your departments. If you have different individuals or departments handling email, social media, blogging, and paid advertising, they should be in constant communication to ensure an integrated approach.
  • Link your channels. Make it easy for people to move from one channel to another. Additionally, give them reasons to do so. Entice Facebook followers to visit your blog or video channel. Make sure your website has highly visible links to your other platforms. Email is always a good way to promote your various channels as well.

Keep Your Goals in Mind

To accurately measure your results, however, you have to keep your objectives in mind. Certain efforts, such as blogging and building an email list, don’t always produce immediate sales but are good for building your authority and brand recognition. Social media can be useful for engaging with people, educating them about your products, and providing customer service. In order to know how well you’re doing in any given area, you need clear objectives to measure your results against.

Observe and Adapt

All of the above guidelines are designed to help you create a successful multichannel approach to digital marketing. You need to constantly track your results and determine which platforms are bringing you the most traffic, engagement, and sales. With tools such as Google Analytics, Facebook Analytics and various paid tools and services, you can identify which channels are providing you the best results.

Always be open to testing new options for reaching a wider audience. For example, you may find that podcasts, webinars, or live stream videos are a valuable addition to your marketing repertoire. Businesses today need to reach out and meet their customers wherever they are spending time. By constantly testing, engaging, and adapting you can develop a strategy that makes the most of your most effective channels.