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ELEKTRONIKPRAXIS column: Part 022: The 7 steps to optimal navigation of your website


In this part of his series on strategic internet marketing in B2B, Sanjay Sauldie looks at the navigation of a website. Navigation is an important sticking point for search engines and for people. The expert for internet marketing shows how to create an optimal navigation structure for your website in 7 steps.

Step 1: How to get good navigation

Do you know Post-Its? Yes, those little yellow pieces of paper that you can pin almost anywhere. Take them in sufficient quantity and start brainstorming all the topics that should have a place on your website and write them randomly on these pieces of paper. If you like, get your team or good friends involved as well. This work has to be done once, because the more ideas that come in, the more time you will save later and you won’t have to restructure. So now collect all the topics, headings and write them on the yellow slips of paper, one topic per slip.

Step 2: The law of 7 decisions

My clients love to take a big table and lay out a big sheet there. On this sheet, draw a table with 7 columns. Perceptual psychologists have found that users consider up to 7 alternatives acceptable when making decisions, anything above that creates stress. Websites of companies with more than 7 headings (links) in the main navigation have a particularly hard time being perceived by the target group.

Now distribute the Stick-Its in these columns, according to generic terms and subtopics. Play a little and let someone join in. This is fun and at the same time you ensure that not only your logic (you as an expert are thematically pre-loaded, your visitor may not be!) prevails.

When you have distributed all the slips of paper, look at your work and sort until you are really satisfied. Please just take your time for this. It’s worth it, even if your website might have to be rebuilt. But you should not think about that just yet.

Step 3: Naming the main sections

Do you know websites whose main categories make you wonder? Often you will find websites of even renowned companies on the net where you cannot navigate well. Click here. Self-explanatory?

Make sure that your rubrics support two essential features:

  1. Clear labelling for people to find their way around.
  2. Try to include key terms in the main navigation.

Search engines rank text that appears in the navigation higher. Google recognises in the source text which text is a link and pays up to three times more attention to the words in the link text than normal text. The navigation is therefore an ideal place to place your main search terms.

Last updated on 7. February 2023

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