Common Website Navigation Mistakes to Avoid

Common Website Navigation Mistakes to Avoid

Let us assume that you are opening an offline electronics showroom and want people to know about it. You decide to advertise the grand opening in newspapers and billboards. One thing that you’ll want to cross-check in the ads is the address or location of your showroom. After all, you’d want to ensure that potential customers are able to easily navigate to your location.

Same is the case in the digital world too. If you have a business website or an online store, you should ensure that your website visitors are able to reach the information or product page they are looking for in the easiest possible manner. A great website relies on many different elements but navigation is one of the most important.

Poor navigation could significantly impact your website traffic, search engine rankings, and conversions. This is the reason why a professional eCommerce website development company lays a major emphasis on website navigation.

If you do have a business website or are planning to create one soon, here are some common website navigation mistakes that you should avoid at all cost-

1. Getting Creative with Navigation

It is possible that you have decided to create your business website after going through a lot of digital marketing blogs and websites. One common advice that you might have come across is being different and creative with your online marketing efforts. But the same does not apply when it comes to the navigation of your website.

While there is no navigation rulebook, a few practices have become so common that people now expect them on every website. For instance, a vertical navigation bar should be on the left or a horizontal one should be at the top of the web page. Anything different can be annoying for the visitors and can increase the bounce rate.

2. Options Galore

You might have definitely come across websites with infinite options and links in their navigation menu. This is one of the most common beginner’s mistakes where one tries to be as comprehensive about website navigation as possible. But rather than helping the visitors, it confuses them and makes the selection difficult.

Once a website visitor experiences something like this, it won’t take him/her long to exit your website and find what they are looking for somewhere else. So, when designing the primary navigation of your website, make sure that the menu only features options that are actually important. Fewer options will help your website visitors quickly reach where they want to.

3. Navigation Inconsistency across Devices

People now use many different types of devices, like laptop/PC, tablet, smartphone, etc. to access a website. So, it is very much possible that someone who regularly visits your website through their laptop/PC is now very comfortable with its navigation. But if that someone ever visits your website from a smartphone or tablet, the navigation experience could be entirely different and confusing.

Most websites do not consider the inconsistency in navigation when the website is visited from different devices. While it is completely alright to have different submenus for your desktop and mobile website, the primary controls and navigation should remain the same so that people who visit your website from different devices find the navigation familiar.

4. Using Hidden Navigation on Desktop Website

The minimalist design is getting increasingly popular among websites. Such websites only feature a large high-definition image related to the company/brand on the homepage with as few options as possible. But in the process of keeping things to a minimum, a lot of websites hide navigation, mostly under the hamburger icon.

While this practice is fine for a mobile website as mobiles have smaller screens, it should be avoided on desktop websites. As per a study by Nielsen Norman Group, the hamburger icon is used less as compared to a visible navigation bar and is mostly preferred on mobile websites. So, why put something that visitors don’t really like using on a desktop website? Look for WordPress expert for hire and they can help you get that minimalist design with visible navigation too.

5. Tug of War between CTAs

Call to action or CTA buttons like “Buy Now”, “Sign-Up Today”, “Refer a Friend”, etc. are very important for driving conversions. But use several of them on a single page and you are sure to make it confusing for the visitors to select one. Businesses believe that having multiple CTAs will increase the chances of people clicking on at least one of them. But this is never really the case.

Focus on what you are actually trying to do with your website and what your current marketing strategy is. If your current aim is to get more email subscribers, do not use other CTAs that conflict with this goal. If you have recently started a referral campaign, highlight CTAs related to this objective so as to get maximum conversions.

6. Neglecting Scrolling

A lot of websites do not consider how scrolling affects the placement of CTAs. Is your CTA visible on the screen when a visitor scrolls to the end of a webpage on your website? Maybe not! If someone scrolls right till the end of your website or even halfway for that matter and likes what you are offering, he/she will have to again scroll back to the top if the CTA is only available at the top.

Every additional step that a visitor needs to take impacts your conversion rate. This is the reason why a large number of websites nowadays make use of scrollable CTA buttons that move along with the screen. Alternatively, you can place your CTAs at strategic locations on the webpage so that a visitor is not required to make a lot of efforts to convert.

7. Illegible Website

This mistake is not directly linked to navigation but a number of factors related to it. If you have been running a website for some time now, you might already know the importance of content optimization. Even professional SEO experts consider content optimization as one of the most important aspects of an effective SEO strategy. But all of the hard work can go in vain in case if the website is unreadable.

Using multiple fonts and font colors on the same page, excessive visuals, conflicting color schemes, large content blocks, etc. can prove very disastrous for your website. If you are creating a business website, it should look like one. Be smart with color selection, fonts, CTAs, menus, and visuals so that your website is not only easy to use but aesthetic too.

8. Complicated or Long Checkout Process

The shopping cart abandonment rate on online stores ranges between 60% and 80%. One of the most common reasons for people abandoning their shopping cart is complicated or long checkout process. It is very important to make sure that the customers are required to click as fewer times as possible for completing an order.

If there are miswritten or hidden navigation buttons which the customers are required to click for completing their purchase, this can negatively affect your sales. You can analyze the navigation of your website to check at what stage are people abandoning the checkout page or cart. A reputed company offering Magento web development services can definitely help you fix such issues.


With the increasing popularity of platforms like WordPress, a lot of businesses prefer building their website on their own. But while creating something like a blog on your own is completely alright, you should always consider hiring professionals if you want to build a business website or an online store.

Not only the navigation issues like the ones discussed above but problems related to the design of your website, its appearance, optimization, and more could be well taken care of by experienced professionals. Look for a reputed website development company if you want to ensure that your online presence helps you further grow your business.

General FAQs

1. Are drop-down menus bad?

It is said that drop-down menus discourage visitors and can also be annoying. The additional options when someone scrolls on to a menu item can be confusing for some people. Moreover, they can also be bad for SEO as search engines might not be able to crawl through the menu options.

2. What are some of the best practices when it comes to navigating a website?

Some of the things you can consider are-

  • Not being overly creative with navigation
  • Navigation menu should be short but descriptive
  • Add the search function
  • Stick to the same navigation style for your desktop and mobile website
  • Checkout process should be quick and easy
  • Choose your CTAs smartly and place CTA buttons strategically

3. How many links should you have in your main navigation?

It is said that the short-term memory in humans can only hold up to 7 items at a time. So, when creating the main navigation menu for your website, try to make sure that there are not more than 7 links in it.

4. What is sub-navigation on a website?

Once the main navigation menu is created, sub-pages or child pages are added to the items in the menu for creating different content sections. For instance, if you are a service provider, the main “Services” menu option can have sub-navigation leading website visitors to all the different sub-services you offer.

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