Readers have found your blog – but now what? Although they’ve made it to your site, if your webpage isn’t well marked, offering the equivalent of posted house number signs, letting them know where to go to find your best content. Without clear markings and a solid navigational or wayfinding system, you’re doing your site a disservice.
What can you do to make your site more easily navigable for users? These four tips will have readers moving smoothly through your site.
Master The Menu
Strong menu organization is one of the most important aspects of building a site. It allows your readers to quickly navigate to the content they want to find, which is absolutely vital to your site’s success; when readers can’t figure out where to go, they leave your site without connecting with your content.
Currently, hamburger menus, which are easily hidden and then drop down, are very popular with site designers. Readers are also comfortable with this menu style, making it a good option.
Hype Your Headlines
After the menu, the things that readers look to first when trying to navigate your site are your post headlines. These headlines need to be descriptive in regard to your content, but they should also promise a kind of takeaway. That’s why studies show that headlines that open with “X Ways To” are among the most effective at inciting readers to click on them.
Why do readers like this headline style so much? They know exactly how many reasons or strategies for undertaking a particular activity they’ll encounter when they click, and there’s a kind of satisfaction in that.
Show A Snippet
Another thing that helps users move smoothly through your site are post excerpts. Unfortunately, too many blogs use a default excerpt length that’s too short, preventing users from determining whether or not they want to read the post.
How can you fix this? If you check the code for your site, you can increase the excerpt length so that readers can get a fuller sense of each post from your main page. Then they won’t find themselves endlessly scrolling, hoping a post screams out to them in the first four words, or clicking aimlessly on links that end up not being of interest.
Highlight Internal Structure
Once you engage a reader with your post, you aren’t home free. If you don’t provide appropriate wayfinding tools within your posts, you can still lose your readers. That’s why using subtitles and bullets help readers stick with your posts – they give them guidance on what each section of a post will be about, allow them to backtrack and review the overall content, or skim quickly through to find the most important points.
Of course, these aren’t the only things you can do to help readers navigate your website more effectively, but all of these factors will help. Anything that helps to clearly mark what you’re trying to communicate, groups that content in effective ways, and allows readers to move quickly and easily between different types of content will make your page more reader friendly and increase views and even profitability. Wayfinding is the way forward.