Engaging your online visitors and keeping them on your website requires creativity. Compelling content, beautiful design and intuitive navigation all add up to a positive user experience. But there are a few places where getting creative could work against you by stifling interaction and increasing bounce rates. Here are three places where being straightforward is the way to go.
1. Your Main Navigation Menu
Your main navigation menu directs visitors to the main things you want them to see, experience or do. These are the biggies you’ve identified as most important to share. Therefore, why make users hunt for the menu or question what to do next? At Station8, we recommend following certain conventions on the placement and ordering of this critical website roadmap. If you choose to have a “home” menu item, make it first, where consumers have been trained to find it. Make your logo link to home as well. Keep your “contact” menu item last, in the far-right position of a horizontal navigation menu, for example. Also, make the main navigation menu itself easy to find and consistent across all pages of the site. Users are used to seeing it at the top of the page or under a mobile menu icon (the three-lined “hamburger” symbol). Lastly, we like to keep the main menu visible when scrolling.
2. Your Navigation Button Text
Don’t confuse visitors by using creative text or cute names for the main navigation buttons. We advise our clients to be as clear as possible and say exactly what users will find when they click. Remember: clarity encourages action; confusion discourages it. Shoot for very few words – one if possible – for each menu button. Also, this is one list that doesn’t have to be consistent in its construction. When you attempt, for example, to use all gerunds (e.g. dining, shopping, visiting, staying), you’ll most likely box yourself into using something that doesn’t make sense (e.g. contacting). This is one place where accuracy trumps construction consistency.
3. Your Call to Action
What is the main thing you want visitors on your website to do? This is your call to action. Your website’s design, flow and messaging should draw users to it. State your call to action in active voice and, most importantly, give your visitors the chance to act right there, on the spot. Watch the video. Submit the form. Take the online quiz. See the stats. Add to cart. Contact us. Remember, you can have more than one call to action – and it can be creative. Just help visitors navigate to it in a straightforward way.