What is a Website Menu?
Website Menu is the genesis of a good website. In addition, Web links (or URLs) are often quite long. Many companies use a custom link shortener to reduce the number of characters in a URL when they’re looking to share white papers, blog posts, and other content — and not just because it helps them stay under character count limits. Shortened links can be used to easily track and measure web traffic, clicks, marketing campaigns, and traffic sources. Among these is the site main lead called the Menu.
Custom Menus are a list of common links that are usually displayed as the main navigation for your site. The menu location can vary depending on your theme, and some themes offer additional menus such as social links menus. Did you know that your main menu is a part of your marketing? It’s true. What your menu says gives your visitors a small indication of what your website is about and whether or not they are in the right place. Main menu mistakes can lead to high bounce rate, low length of time on site, and low rankings in search engines. Worst of all, main menu mistakes directly impact the number of leads and sales from your website.
After my 7 active years in the website business, I still see the same mistakes over and over again. I don’t think there is a single day that I don’t visit at least 10 websites, of which half are making main menu mistakes. So, I started taking notes of all the main menu mistakes I see on a regular basis and organized them into this explainer blog post for you. Let’s get started.
Don’t be too Clever
When Steve Jobs said “Be Different”, he didn’t mean in your main menu. So to be clear, not to be clever in your main menu. Using phrases like “Get in Touch, “Let’s Chat”, or “Let’s Talk” is confusing. Many of your visitors are consciously or subconsciously looking for the good old “Contact” button. Don’t make it difficult to contact you simply because you want to be clever.
Blog ain’t a Menu
Your blog is a way for people to find your website. It’s not a destination once people get there. So, take it out of your main menu, unless your blog is the main part of the service you provide, or unless of course, your website is your blog. Place it in the footer so people can find it if they need it. But chances are, they won’t be looking for it.
List your Services identifiably
Remember, your main menu helps visitors understand your website. If possible, list your services in the main menu, instead of using a generic word like “services”. I realize this only works if you have a limited amount of services. But if you do this, it works like a charm. On one hand it informs people about what you do, and on the other hand, it gets them one step closer to your services.
Keep your main menu Short and Simple
Hick’s Law says that the more choices you give someone, the longer it will take them to make a decision. So help your visitors make a decision by keeping your main menu short, and therefore simple to understand.
Not too much Attention!
Your content should be your superstar, not your menu. Many websites have these massive headers with giant menus that draw the eye toward the top of your site, and away from your superstar content. Keep the main menu and the header simple and small. Don’t make it loud and obnoxious.
Make both your site and menu Responsive
Have you ever tried using the main menu on a cell phone that was not responsive? Frustrating! You have to zoom in and out and try your hardest not to click on the other menu options next to the button you’re trying to click. Responsive is the industry standard and typically converts your main menu into a drop down that is easy for mobile users.
Don’t tell them to go home, they already know
For years the industry standard has been to not include a “home” button in your main menu. The logo should be the link back to your main menu. Placing a “Home” link in your main menu wastes space and draws attention away from your important content. I have read in the past year that the home button is making a comeback, and some people are arguing that it should go to the main menu. I’m not convinced. So for now, keep in out of the main menu.
Clustering your Menu
Stop cluttering up your main menu with useless pages like faqs. Go through your analytics and see which pages in your main menu are most important. If some of those pages never or hardly get clicked then move them to the footer. Don’t forget Hick’s Law above.
Highlight your Menu
A simple way to make your website more usable is to remind your visitors of where they are at all times. Of course, you can do this with breadcrumbs, but it’s also important to make sure your main menu uses active states. In other words, your main menu should highlight or dim the pages you are on at the moment. This lets the user know where they are at all times on your website.
Site Menus are not Sentences
Your main menu links should not be sentences. At most, keep them to three words or less, but preferably 1-2 words. Surprisingly, many clients ask for this, and I find myself talking them out of that dangerous ledge as quickly as possible. Some of the more acceptable longer menu links are: “What we do”, “Who we are”, and “How it works”.