improve your WordPress navigation

If you want to build a quality website, you need to focus on more than just perfecting its appearance and creating top-notch content. You also need to make your site easy to use. And one of the best ways to accomplish that is to improve WordPress website navigation.

Website navigation may not get much attention from casual webmasters, but it’s crucial to providing an excellent user experience. By making it easy for users to navigate your site and find the specific content they’re looking for, you make it more likely that they stick around and become repeat visitors.

In this article, we’ll kick things off by talking about how improving WordPress website navigation can similarly improve your user experience as well. After that, we’ll provide you with several specific tips on how to improve your site’s navigation. Let’s jump in!

How a focus on website navigation can improve your WordPress site

An example of a simple navigational scheme to improve WordPress website navigation.

Often, all you need is a simple and clean navigation structure.

Your site’s navigation structure is made up of all the elements users employ to move around your website. For example, most websites like to stick with a simple navigation menu at the top of each page, as well as a few key links in their footers just to be safe. But navigation can also go further than basic menus to encompass even simple design choices like colors.

So how can focusing on your WordPress site’s navigation structure give you tangible benefits? Here are a few ways…

  • It will be easier for users to make their way through your site and find the content they’re looking for, which is essential because that’s what the vast majority of your visitors care about.
  • You may see a reduced bounce rate, which is always a plus.
  • It shows that you care about providing your users with a good experience, which promotes trust.

If you’re already sold on the idea of revamping your website’s navigation, then read on. We’ll provide you with a few tips on how to make improvements without having to start from scratch or implement drastic overhauls to your design.

Four tips to improve WordPress website navigation

If you’ve already got a site up and running, don’t worry. The advice in this section is easy to apply without setting up new menus from scratch. Instead of drastic changes, it’s mainly focused on usability.

1. Implement a visual hierarchy

A screenshot of Google Drive.

Google Drive juggles a lot of elements in its navigation, but they’re all clearly differentiated.

Visual hierarchies enable your visitors to grasp the structure of your navigation at a glance. You can do this by carefully considering the placement of each element, as well as its size, font, and even color.

Take the article you’re reading right now, for example. If you were to skim through, you should be able to quickly grasp its structure and content by keeping an eye out for the subheadings. This is possible because they stand out visually. The same concept applies to the elements of your navigation.

Along with making it easy for visitors to find the information and sections they want, a clear visual hierarchy should also help your site look more organized. Here are a couple of suggestions to help you pull off this combo:

  • Try to highlight the most important elements of your navigation by placing them in strategic locations.
  • Use subheadings to draw the eyes of your users to important sections throughout your content.

A great visual hierarchy is all about location and differentiation. That means making sure the key elements on your site are easy to find and stand out from the rest of your content. As long as you keep this in mind, creating effective navigation should be a breeze.

2. Optimize your navigation bar’s placement

Netflix's main menu.

Netflix’s main menu is easy to locate and stands out.

As we mentioned during the last section, placement is key when it comes to navigation. That means it’s doubly important when it comes to your primary navigation menu since that’s the main method people use to make their way through your site.

In most cases, a simple top-bound menu is all your site needs to be easily navigable. After all, it’s what people expect, and most visitors should understand how to interact with this kind of menu bar intuitively. That said, there are a few things you can consider to further optimize your main menu, such as:

  • Make it stick to the top of your screen, so users can access it at any time without scrolling back up.
  • Don’t hide your navigation bar behind a button, except on mobile devices which have less space to play with. In all other instances, your navigation bar should be easily accessible.

In short, you want to strike a balance between making your navigation bar easy to access, and not letting it detract from the rest of your site. This balance will drastically improve WordPress website navigation.

Additionally, your overall content structure plays an important role here too. Both in terms of user happiness and SEO. This is something we talked about in one of our recent posts. Check it out here. In a nutshell, improving your content structure will improve WordPress website navigation as well.

3. Use an eye-catching color scheme

An example of a striking color combination.

Orange and deep red make for a striking color combination.

So far, we’ve focused on how to improve WordPress website navigation through usability, but now it’s time to talk about style – and more specifically, color.

Using the right colors won’t only make your navigation menu look great, it will also improve your menu’s effectiveness. Using eye-catching colors with good contrast can help visitors identify important links and elements faster, as well as differentiate your navigation options from the rest of your content.

Naturally, we can’t tell you exactly which colors to use since that’s mostly a personal decision. What we can do is provide you with a long list of sites with eye-catching color schemes to inspire you, and dozens of striking color combinations to try out on your own website. A carefully chosen color combination will provide you with a natural way to improve WordPress website navigation by highlighting your menus and making them stand out.

4. Consider using breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs basically showcase your navigation hierarchy at the top of your blog. You’ve probably seen them on various WordPress sites – they usually look something like this:

Home / Category / Post Name

And according to Nielsen Norman Group, they offer “many benefits and no downsides”. Breadcrumbs show your readers their current location, as well as provide “one-click access to higher site levels”.

As an added bonus – in addition to helping you improve WordPress website navigation, breadcrumbs can also help improve the look of your organic Google search results.

And what’s really great is that, if you’re using Yoast SEO, you can enable breadcrumbs for your site directly from your Yoast dashboard. No need for a third-party solution!

Conclusion

A solid website navigation structure is crucial to providing an enjoyable user experience. Some visitors may not notice the effort you put into making sure your navigation is simple and intuitive, but they will reap the benefits nonetheless. They’ll be able to find the content they need more quickly, and chances are they won’t become frustrated in the process.

Here are a few tips to improve WordPress website navigation and make sure it hits all the right marks:

  1. Implement a visual hierarchy.
  2. Optimize your navigation bar’s placement.
  3. Use an eye-catching color scheme.
  4. Consider adding breadcrumbs to your site.

Do you have any questions about how to improve WordPress website navigation? Ask away in the comments section below!