How To Fix Navigation Mistakes That Are Ruining Your Website

Your visitors must be able to effectively navigate through your website, if not, they might get lost, frustrated and scare them away.

Day 13: Escaping the Maze

Imagine you’ve built an amazing garden and opened it up to the public. It’s filled with exotic flowers and offers views people could have only dreamt of until now.

Problem is — your garden is a maze. So intricate that once customers are in, they can’t find their way out. The excitement they came with quickly disappears, to be replaced by anxiety then frustration and finally resentment.

PS. The maze is your website. But you knew that already, cos you’ve made it to Day 13 on this course.

Today we’re talking about orientation. Bad orientation never ends in a sale. Great orientation has a big chance to make a sale, just because it’s so easy.

What is bad orientation a symptom of?


Notice how all of them are “big”.

If you have even one of these conversion killers on your website, our testers will find it and talk about it. They hate them.

Big menus give rise to the “paradox of choice” which leads into “decision fatigue” — basically, big  menus means no sale. Big menus means “goodbye potential customer”.

Take this example of a navigation menu:

In short, it’s a mess.

Bad navigation is a trap that any business can fall into. The more products you have, the harder it is to fit them all nicely on a page.

How do I present them?

Should I link to every sub category in my nav menu?

How do I group products?

How do I make everything work on mobile?

So. Many. Questions.

But, as always, there’s a way out.

By now, you should already know your ideal customer, and the goals you want your site to reach.

The best way to start improving your navigation is to create a sitemap.

A good sitemap will show you where to place CTAs, how to link your pages together and how to make user flows as seamless and effective as possible.

Here’s a template you can use as an example to work on your own:

Use the template to structure your sitemap, keeping in mind your KPIs, your one goal and your avatar.

Ask yourself questions like:

Meanwhile, if you have the “mega menu” problem, here’s a few ideas you can play with:

Here’s some great examples of how simple = effective:

Your homework:

Create your own sitemap using the process we described. Try one of FlowMapp, Stormboard or Whimsical to do it. Or if you’re feeling lazy today, just sketch it by hand (in pencil, not pen). What’s important is that you take the time to think about it, and then use it to actually build the structure of your website.

This will save you countless hours down the road, and give you the peace of mind of knowing that your users will be able to find what they’re looking for without constant hand holding from you.