Creating a Well-Defined WordPress Page Navigation Menu
If your goal is to create a really great WordPress website for your business, you’ve probably thought a lot about the design and what you want the site to look like, and probably spent lots of time compiling meaningful content. That’s a great start, and those are all important elements. But if you really want your website to shine, there’s one more piece of the puzzle to consider: your navigation menu.
What is a navigation menu, exactly? It’s the set of links, most often located at the top of a webpage, that point the user toward the various other pages and areas throughout the site.
It’s easy to take your navigation menu for granted, but it actually sets the tone for your entire user experience. It gives your site structure and helps your visitors find what they’re looking for. If your site looks great upon first glance, but your users can’t figure out how to find the information they’re looking for, all that incredible content you spent so much time working on is for naught. And, worse still, if you confuse or frustrate your visitors, they’ll leave the site before you can close a sale – and then probably never return. On the flip side, give them a site that’s easy to navigate, and you’ll keep them coming back for more. Consumers appreciate it when companies provide them with a good user experience, and all of those warm and fuzzy feelings often translate to greater trust and, ultimately, increased sales.
Creating an effective page navigation in WordPress takes a bit of thought and planning, but it’s totally doable and absolutely worth the little bit of effort it requires. If you’re wondering exactly how to create a custom menu in WordPress – one that is both organized and user-friendly – fear not. We’ve got you covered.
Best Practices for Creating a WordPress Navigation Menu
Before you open up WordPress, grab a pen and paper (or start a Google doc, for you twenty-first century folk) and think about the information you want to share with your visitors, as well as the information your visitors are most likely to come to your site looking for, and make a list of all the pages you’ll have to create to house that material. Once you have your list of pages in hand, your next step is to determine how to group them so that your WordPress navigation menu is intuitive and easy to navigate and requires the least amount of clicking possible.
To help you figure that out, ask yourself the following questions:
- Would you benefit from a multi-tiered navigation menu, or possibly even multiple menus?
- Which pages should appear at the top level of the navigation, and which should appear as sub-pages?
- Is a dedicated Home button required, or can you trust your visitors to know that your logo is the link back?
Then, as you start to work on the design and layout of the site, you’ll want to shift your focus to how your WordPress page navigation appears visually on the site.
- Where on the page would you like the menu to appear? Is the standard top navigation the best option, or would you be better off with a less common WordPress sidebar navigation?
- Do you want the menu to remain static and visible at all times, or do you want it to disappear as the user scrolls down the page?
- What sort of animation or interactivity would you like to see in the menu
The answers to the questions above are not one-size-fits-all. How you answer them is going to depend on the particulars of your content and the preferences of your users. But despite the variables, there are two characteristics that all navigation menus should embody, and they are consistency and mobility.
As with just about anything, consistency is key. Any menu features you decide to use on the home page should be applied consistently throughout the whole site. And just as importantly, if not more so: make sure the mobile version of your menu is just as user-friendly as the desktop version. Mobile browsing is dramatically on the rise, and you do not want to alienate your mobile visitors with an impossible-to-navigate menu.
For help optimizing your WordPress navigation, contact Paradigm Marketing & Design today. One of our web design experts will be in touch to help you get your site organized.