Website navigation menus are one of those website elements people only notice when done poorly.
Don't drive visitors to your insurance agency website only for them to stumble around and leave out of frustration.
Website navigation menus have a larger impact on the success or failure of your website than you might think. They affect traffic, conversions and how user friendly your website is.
Navigation mistakes are common, but solutions are simple. It's easier to update a navigation menu than it is to reorganize website content so keep the structure of your website in mind from the beginning of the design process.
Here are a few tips, examples and options to increase your website usability and ensure your navigation menu is not cluttered.
Organize your navigation menu by task or action, product, or target audience. However, don't include every possible page, product and purpose in your primary website navigation. It will be cluttered and confusing if you do.
Concentrating on the more conventional tracks, examples of tasks to include in your primary menu are Get a Quote, File a Claim, Make a Payment, Read Our Blog and Contact Us.
Product categories could include lines of business you offer, such as Automobile, Business, Health, Homeowners and Life.
For target audience, you could use New Visitors, Existing Customers, Agents and Carriers.
When considering what to include in your navigation menu, think about your audience and the best way to guide them around your insurance website.
Make sure your navigation items are grouped together and remain in a consistent area throughout your website. This allows your visitors to scan and identify items they need. You can also make sure visitors know where they are on your website by using a secondary navigation called a breadcrumb. This allows visitors to quickly access general pages but ultimately relies on an organized website layout.
Generic words like Products and Services can confuse your visitors about your actual products and services. Sometimes, it's that split second of confusion that can cause a visitor to leave your insurance agency website for your competitor's.
Excessive dropdown menus are also a deterrent. Studies have shown that once visitors move their mouse to a menu item, they've already decided to click it. A dropdown menu with too many options can cause another moment of friction. Eliminate those when possible.
Too many menu options is another recipe for disaster when it comes to navigation menus. The more options there are, the less important and prominent each one becomes. Challenge yourself to keep navigation items to a minimum.
The best way to know what you should make prominent in your navigation menu is to see which pages visitors land on the most. Use Google Analytics to identify the pages with the most conversions and the highest flow of visitors. Showcase these pages so they are easily accessed from your navigation menu.
If results show nobody is visiting certain pages, it may be because the pages are hard to find. In this case, you should address your website layout and think about adding these pages to the navigation menu for more exposure. Continue to test your navigation results, and use it as a way to influence customer behavior on your website.
The key to a great navigation menu is making sure your choices are grounded in data and visitor activity. With a good navigation menu that is easy to use and based on visitor activity, your insurance agency website is one step closer to success.
About the Author
Having always been a computer nerd, Kirsten Thornton works on the HTML and CSS that drives Insurance Website Builder websites. Before joining ITC in 2010, Kirsten had the unique experience of attending Loyola University in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit. The storm left the school with costly repairs and lower attendance so she switched majors to graphic design when computer science got cut. Kirsten balances a mixture of back-end coding, front-end designing, New Orleans culture, and Texas pride.More Content by Kirsten Thornton