How to create effective navigation for your online store

Good navigation systems make it easier for customers to find the information they need quickly and efficiently. It also improves your store’s overall success. Your website has only a few seconds of attention to grab visitors’ attention. You need to guide them to the right information as soon as possible!

Your customers’ ability find the right products can be affected by even small changes in your primary navigation. They’ll leave your site if they don’t know where or what to do.

How can you make your online store’s navigation more effective and increase sales?

Navigation Menu Best practices

1. Use clear and meaningful language

Your primary navigation menu is located in the header of your website. Make sure that your labels are clear. Site visitors should be able to read labels and know what products are within a particular category. Although it may be tempting to make your words more creative, this could confuse your customers and not encourage them to click.

The fixjeiphone.nl primary navigation menu is clear and has meaning. Before you click on an item, you can get a great idea of the content and products that will be found on each page.

FixjeiPhone customers also need the items in the navigation menu. They know that customers visit their site to purchase parts and accessories, to read manuals or to purchase a refurbished phone. Site visitors will know exactly where to go if they have specific needs.

2. Get top-level items clickable

Top-level navigation items on websites may only trigger a dropdown and not link to a new webpage. This can make it difficult for visitors to the website, especially if they are having trouble opening the dropdown.

Consider linking product categories to your main category page. Include subcategories in dropdowns. This gives customers more options for finding what they want or browsing entire categories.

Absoluteantibody.com does a great job at this. You can access all their information on antibodies by clicking on the “Antibody Resource” link in their main navigation menu. You can also click on the dropdown to access more resources.

3. Dropdown Indicators

Absolutelyantibody.com and fixjeiphone.nl also implement dropdown indicators in their navigation menus.

Dropdown indicators usually add an arrow to each navigation label to indicate that the menu item expands. These indicators help website visitors see that there are many options, without them having to hover over each item.

You can usually find this option in your theme settings. However, you could also use a plugin such as Menu icons or edit.

4. Stick to the Standard Locations

It’s a great way for your website to stand out among the rest. However, creativity can lead to confusion that could result in customers losing sales and customers.

It is a good idea for your navigation to be placed in a location where people are likely to find it. Web-tracking studies have shown that web visitors tend to look at the top of a webpage first. Keep your main navigation in the header, and place the most important items on the left side, such as the home page.

For navigation, users also check the sidebar and footer. You might consider linking to key pages in your footer. You might include links to similar products and other categories on your category and product pages.

Although “hamburger” menus are great for simplifying mobile menus by clicking on a three-line icon, they can be confusing on desktop computers.

Website visitors can easily overlook the icon because it is small and hidden in the corner. It doesn’t highlight your most important menu items, and visitors will need to go one step further before they can find what they are looking for.

Breadcrumbs: How to Use Them and Why You Should

Breadcrumbs are secondary navigation systems that display a user’s current location on a website. Named after Hansel and Gretel who dropped breadcrumbs to help them find their way through the forest, the name is derived from this story. This navigation method is particularly useful if you have many pages or products.

Usually, a breadcrumb menu appears under your primary navigation just above your website content. It makes it easy to use them by not having to scroll.

The Craft Can Directory website uses breadcrumbs in order to show customers which page they are on and how to return to their starting point. They can go back to one page or skip multiple pages without having to click the “back” button repeatedly.

This can also be useful for shoppers who are browsing products or comparing different items. They can click back to the Mixed Cases category if they don’t like what they see.

Learn more:

Why breadcrumbs are important

Your customers will not get lost on your website if they have breadcrumbs. It’s much harder for customers to navigate to the previous pages and categories if they don’t have breadcrumbs. Instead, customers would need to navigate back through the main menu, search for pages, or click on the “back” button.

Google loves breadcrumbs as they help to outline the structure of your site. You can include breadcrumbs in search engine results to increase the likelihood of potential customers finding your pages and clicking through.

How to add breadcrumbs to your site:

You can turn breadcrumbs on or off in many cases. This functionality is built into the WooCommerce Storefront theme for pages, products, categories and many other things.

There are two options to add breadcrumbs to your website if your theme does not include them or you wish to customize them further.

1. Use a plugin:

You can turn on breadcrumbs by using a variety of plugins. Jetpa HTML3_ k allows you to add breadcrumbs to website pages but not to product pages or category pages.

Each plugin allows for different levels and configurations. The WordPress plugin repository contains a complete list of options.

2. Add breadcrumbs to your Custom Code

You can display WooCommerce breadcrumbs by using the php woocommerce_breadcrumb()?> snippet. This allows you to control where your breadcrumbs are output.

Filters and arguments can be used to control things such as the breadcrumb separator or the home text link.

This custom parameter will alter the breadcrumb separator and the HTML displayed before it:

/* Remove breadcrumbs separator '/', "before" => "after". __( "This is where You Are:", "woothemes" ) ?>

This filter will alter the default home text to what you specify:

/* Change Home Text in Breadcrumbs */ add_filter( 'woocommerce_breadcrumb_defaults', 'mm_change_breadcrumb_home_text',20); function mm_change_breadcrumb_home_text( $defaults )  $defaults['home'] = 'Store'; return $defaults; 

This filter will modify the home URL link.

/* Replace the home link URL */ add_filter( 'woocommerce_breadcrumb_home_url', 'woo_custom_breadrumb_home_url' ); function woo_custom_breadrumb_home_url()  return 'http://woocommerce.com'; 

To help you customize even more, check out the custom codes snippets in WooCommerce docs.

What about Mega Menus?

Mega menus are very popular for online shops. These allow you to offer your customers many options in your primary menu and add photos or videos.

It is important to categorize products and content in the right way. Use parent categories, subcategories, or hierarchies to group related products. This allows potential customers to quickly find the products they are looking for, and also lets them see different options and segments of products at once.

The Craft Can Directory is an example of how a mega menu can be used to guide customizers to the products that they are interested in.

img alt=”Screenshot of Craft Can Directory with their mega menu.” src=”https://woocommerce.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/blog-Mega-Menu@2x.jpg”/>
Photo (c) https://craftcan.directory/

You can hover over the “Craft Beer Shop”, in their primary menu. The parent categories will be highlighted in bold font. Subcategories will be displayed in a body font below each parent category.

Customers could find the mega menu more confusing than a standard navigational menu if they weren’t organized in this way.

WooCommerce provides a mega-menu extension for users of the Storefront theme.

Effective Footer Navigation

Your website’s footer should not be an afterthought. It’s important to highlight your most important pages since it will be displayed on every page and product of your website.

While you shouldn’t have a huge footer with dozens of links, it is important to maximize the space. Your footer should be a catch-all. What information would a website visitor find most useful if they read all of the page content and then scrolled to the bottom?

It could even be the same as your primary menu links. These options can be added to your footer to help people find what they are looking for without having to scroll back to the top.

Don’t forget to include the pages and other content website visitors expect to find in the footer section of an online shop. Take this example:

Photo © https://www.yubico.com/

Yubico.com provides a great example for a footer. Yubico uses a similar approach to their main navigation menu. They organize important links and content into categories so that website visitors can easily find the information they need.

You may only need one or two of these options depending on how big your online store is. It is not about how many links you have, it’s about the strategy behind them.

Do not forget about your navigation

The most important aspect of an online shop is its website navigation. It is often overlooked and taken for granted. Effective navigation starts with identifying the most important elements for your customers.

What can you do to make it easier for them to search your content, products, or offerings? Which information would they find most useful? A mega menu would make sense if you have many products.