Setting up the navigation structure on your website is one of the most important decisions you will ever make when it comes to running a successful online business. This is because the navigation can tell visitors and search engines a lot about your website. It enables them to get a clear sense of how well organized the business is, how much content you have, and how easy it is to access that content.
Choosing the Right Theme
The main starting point for great navigation is the WordPress theme you select. There are thousands of themes to choose from, but some will be a much better choice than others when it comes to the navigation structure.
Some of the themes are very modern looking compared with traditional website design. Many are more visually based then text based. A lot of them look like photo portfolios, or photo blogs (plogs), with very little writing and no navigation. Others templates look like magazines or news headline sites, with articles and small thumbnail images scattered all over the page.
While these may look very attractive, they are not practical when it comes to functionality and navigation. It is all random in most cases, with the most recent content showing, and older content pretty much invisible unless it is specifically looked for using a search box.
With navigation, on the other hand, the visitor can see a list of categories that they can browse so that they don’t have to rely on the search box for everything. By navigation, we mean an area of the page where there are links to topics, tags or categories in the blog that a site visitor can click on to easily move from one area or post in the website to the next. They can scroll down and get a clear idea of everything that is at your site and all you have to offer.
The Importance of Persistent Site Wide Navigation
In addition to helping humans, you will also be helping yourself with the number one search engine, Google. Google rewards sites that have what they term “persistent site-wide navigation” – that is, every page at the site has the same navigation, so visitors don’t get confused.
It is important to pay attention to their preferences as well if you want to get all of your great content discovered. The Google search engine robots, or spiders, index or spider a site written in English from the top left of each page, to the bottom right corner of the page, starting with the left column if there is more than one column on the page. So it will go from top to bottom on column 1, then back up to the top and down column 2, 3, 4, and so on.
If you place your navigation on the left-hand side of the page, the spiders will read all of your categories first. This can make it seem like every page is identical on your site. Google penalizes duplicate content.
On the other hand, if you choose a WordPress theme that places the navigation on the right, then the unique content for each blog post or page you create will be seen by the spiders first, then the navigation bar, and there will be no risk of duplicate content issues, which means more of your site pages will appear on Google.
Multiple-Column Navigation Format
Some WordPress themes have three, four or five columns, with navigation spread over two or more columns. This is confusing to people and search engines alike.
Pop-ups and Other Accessories
Many site owners add pop-ups, ads and more, which block the user from seeing or being able to access the navigation at the site. Maintain a clean design so visitors can navigate as needed.
In conclusion, when it comes to WordPress, choose a theme that is two-column, with navigation on the right, and see what a difference it can make to your traffic and the length of time visitors stay.