Website Navigation: Getting from chaos to kickass

If you confuse, you lose, say marketing experts. When it comes to confusing & losing visitors, disorganized site navigation is a prime – but fixable! – culprit.

Good website navigation starts with good organization.

If you’re DIYing your navigation menus and maybe your entire website, no one tells you to first map out how you want to organize your stuff.

Instead you see flashy WordPress themes, ah-mazing color schemes, fancy-pants plugins and all sorts of other distractions. Things that are way more popular than website organization.

Once you make it past the initial insanity of getting your website up and running, you start hearing about all kinds of SEO crap you’re supposed to do. If you’re like most people, you then begin to obsess over that.

Still oblivious to website organization and navigation menus, or at least not intentional about it. Amiright? So what happens when your SEO obsession actually begins bringing people to your site?

Is it clear to your visitors that you offer what they’re looking for?

Can they easily find the info or product they want?

Have you organized what they see so it’s clear what your site is about & who it’s for?

Or do you throw everything you have out there and guess at whether it’s organized well enough? Like this, maybe:

When you make it hard for people to see your stuff, you’re gonna lose.

Oy. Bye, Felicia.

Not judging. It’s what most people do. We just want to help you see a better way, even if you DIY. Which brings us to…

DIY vs. pro

(or, basically, your time or your money)

Let’s just get that out of the way: Website navigation menus are totally doable, by you. Right now. They involve some time and thought, but not rocket science or code, even.

Whether you’re just starting a site or facing a jumbled mess of menus to organize, this is a place where you need to think and work like a pro. Which means investing either time or money to create website organization and navigation that helps make your site easy and intuitive to use.

When we work with you on a new website, we don’t just design the design-y things (LOL). We also design the site’s organization, a.k.a., information design or content hierarchy. Y’know – the part everyone who’s not a pro skips so they can play with widgets and such.

Professional website design should start with a content hierarchy like this, and use it as a blueprint to create website navigation.

But if you’re not yet where it makes sense to invest in professional design…

  1. we don’t want your money; and
  2. we want to help you to avoid (or fix) things that get in the way of that 6-figure year.

Poor website organization and nav menus are one of those things. And, as we may have mentioned, you can organize your website navigation on your own. For free. Yes, you.

Organizing website navigation, start to finish

April and Ken Pishna are bloggers, podcasters, YouTubers, nomads, and our friends and clients. Their Living A Stout Life Craft Beer Lifestyle blog is jam packed with stories and info on the numerous aspects of their life and business.

And, so was their website navigation. So much so that it was hard to find anything.

They knew this, and reorganized their site on their own several months back. It was an improvement, but TBH it was the equivalent of the messy boutique photo above.

The Pishnas agreed to appear as guests on our “KickAss Nav” Facebook Live, and we planned to work on their site organization and navigation during the broadcast.

We quickly realized a half hour wasn’t enough to tackle everything in a way that was helpful for both them and our audience. So, the weekend before our scheduled Live, we met virtually for an informal work session that we also happened to record.

The work session was an hour+ of getting clear on what they were trying to accomplish with Living A Stout Life, what was most important to them and their visitors (and where the two collided), and making tough choices about what should go into a limited number of top-level menu spots.

Watch that process below.

Together, we organized their site content and created a blueprint to take their website navigation menus from chaos to kickass.

Having us help them, and play devil’s advocate where necessary, provided the fresh set of eyes that got them un-stuck when it came to their content and website organization.

Hearing the questions we asked them, and listening in as we pushed them just a little, should help you see and organize your own content more clearly.

KickAss Nav Facebook Live

With the hardest work out of the way, we met for our Live to talk about where the Pishnas started with their website nav, the work we’d done together, and to answer questions from viewers.

Watch the replay of our Live here.

In case you haven’t joined us for a Live before, we always pop on ten minutes early to drink a beer, shoot the breeze, and wait for everyone to jump on. If you’re not interested in such foolishness, you’ll want to skip to the ten-minute mark.

Or maybe the eleven-minute mark, in this case 🙂

(Unless you like craft beer or living nomadically…in which case you might like our foolishness.)

Recap: The 3 Keys to KickAss Website Navigation

  1. Prioritize – If it all looks important to you, nothing will look important to your visitors.
  2. Streamline – Limit your top-level menu items to the 3 or 4 most important things.
  3. Be Clear – Think of menu items as labels; 1 to 3 words that clearly describe what’s beyond.

p.s. – Why this is important to people who need to make $

Compare the two images below. All other things being equal, better organization = better experience = better sales.

Links! We have links!

Visit our friends the Pishnas at Living A Stout Life, follow @LivingAStoutLife on Instagram, and listen to their Craft Beer Travel & Adventure Podcast wherever fine podcasts are available.

“If you confuse, you lose” is the mantra of Donald Miller and his team at StoryBrand. We like their stuff and think their book Building A StoryBrand is super helpful for people like us trying to figure out marketing.