No – not rocking and rolling – but the on screen equivalent! Someone, somewhere made a ‘rule’ that you should be able to arrive at the page you want in no more than three clicks. Then someone else also made a ‘rule’ that said a menu should not have more than nine or ten tabs on it. If you have a website with a great deal of information the three click rule isn’t going to work here!
Then there’s yet another ‘rule’ that says that people won’t read more than two screens down a web page – so that means that pages have to have a small amount of information. Besides, who decides how big the reading screen is? In today’s world of smartphones, tablets, wide screens and notebooks how long is a screen? Establishing where the ‘fold’ occurs is almost impossible.
So what is a poor website owner to do? Here are my tips:
1. Think carefully about the structure of your website before you start adding content (ideally before you ask a designer to create the visuals).
- What is a logical arrangement of pages so that people can find what they are looking for easily?
- More clicks are better than more menu tabs, which many people just find overwhelming.
- However, the subpages need to be found under main menu choices that are obvious.
2. Ensure you are clear on the purpose for each page .
- What do you want your website visitor to DO when they’ve looked at the page?
- How much information do you really need to give them in order to persuade them to do that?
- Only include the essentials – people don’t need to know how you do what you do, only what they get.
- And don’t forget your call to action.
3. Don’t bury key pages in sub menus
- You should include Home, About and Contact on the main menu.
- Also anything that you want people to find easily – FAQs, Case studies, blog. It doesn’t mean that you can’t also link to these pages from other pages further down the pecking order on your menu, but if you think people will want to get to those quickly, put them where they can see them.
4. Don’t fall into the trap of clever page names – stick to the obvious, it cuts down on people having to think about whether that page is what they think it is. Some may not bother!
5. If you have five services don’t create a page where they are all on a single page, one below the other.
- If they don’t see what they are looking for in the first screen or two, some people won’t bother to scroll any further and you could miss out on a lead.
- Blogs and articles can have longer pages – people expect to see these on a scrollable page.
Just because tablets and smartphones are easier to scroll on don’t assume that everyone is viewing your site on one of these. Acknowledge web-users comfort zones. Make it easy for people to get around your site and it will work much better for you.