What’s In This Episode of the Website Wednesday Podcast?
Good website navigation is key. You want your website visitors to know where they’re going – just like those magical mountain cows that don’t need to be led to the summer turnout.
In this episode, Liz will walk you through some basic elements of creating easy-to-follow navigation on your small business website. You never want your website visitors to be confused about where to go, how to find something or what to do next on your website.
#1. Keep your website navigation simple
#2. Use clear call-to-action words
#3. Use page names that make sense to users and Google
Links & Resources
To learn more about host Liz Langford-Cobo visit britelime.co/about
HotJar – Website Heat Maps
The Website Workshop in Waco, Texas – January 16-19
Rate & Review the Website Wednesday podcast on Apple Podcasts
Episode Original Publish Date
Wednesday, October 12, 2022
Having good navigation on your website is key. You want users to be able to figure out where they’re going intuitively, kind of like those awesome magical mountain cows that just seemed to know how to find that mountain pasture.
Welcome to the Website Wednesday podcast. I’m your host, Liz Langford-Cobo of britelime Creative. I’m a website template designer and coach focused on teaching farmers, ranchers and rural entrepreneurs how to build better websites for their small businesses. Every day, you work hard and your small business, your website should work hard to in each 15 minutes or less episode, I’ll teach you a tip, trick or element of website design, management or growth. So whether you’re on the tractor, fixing fence, or folding laundry, this episode is designed to help you make your small business website better. Let’s get to it friend.
If you’re not sure what I meant by magical mountain cows, I’m talking about those few cows in every bunch when you have a mountain turnout that just seemed to know intuitively where they are going. I grew up in far northern California. It’s where I live now with my husband and daughter. And we live on my family’s cattle ranch, we have a Black Angus Simmental cross cow calf operation. And we don’t have a mountain turnout. But we have lots of friends with mountain turnouts. And throughout my life I’ve ridden on cattle drives, and always been amazed that when you get where you’re going with the big bunch of cattle, there seem to be cows that are already there.
And the old timers used to do this. And even the cattlemen today will open up their gates blade on in the spring as summer is coming on. And those lead cows will head on out and find that mountain turnout. And the cattlemen, the Cowboys, they don’t worry about them, because those lead cows and there’s a few and every bunch just seem to intuitively know where they are going. And knowing where you’re going is so important when you are using a website.
So today I want to spend a few minutes with you talking through the importance of good clear navigation so that your users feel like they are intuitively using your website. There are lots of different pieces that make up your website’s navigation. It’s not just that primary menu that is typically seen up at the top of the website. It’s not the secondary menu that you often find in the footer. But it’s also hyperlinks to other pages of your site that might be found within the content of the page. Its call to action buttons that are clear about what you want the user to do next, and all of it needs to be user friendly and intuitive to use.
Hey friend, do you remember back in the early days of your business when you were in love with the process of building that business, but over time, you’ve realized that you’re spending way more time working in your business than on it? That is a quick way to kill your love of small business entrepreneurship. If this is all sounding familiar, it might be time for reboot, a Business Reboot. The Business Reboot podcast is a weekly podcast focused on helping small business entrepreneurs fall back in love with their businesses.
Every Wednesday, hosts Melissa and Corry have a new episode with topics ranging from how to price yourself for generosity to how to stop doing business in the DMS. And of course my favorite episode, When to Call it Quits – not necessarily on your business, but on the parts that aren’t working or aren’t working anymore. You can listen to the Business Reboot podcast anywhere you listen to podcasts, and it will help you to fall back in love with the business of your business.
Let’s focus in on your primary navigation menu right now. So your primary navigation menu is probably going to be visible at the top of your website. I prefer to have that primary navigation menu be visible the entire time the user is on this site. You don’t have to do this with your website. Maybe your template is set up differently. I even have one or two templates in my template shop that have the menu the primary navigation menu in a different location. I have one where it’s down at the bottom and one where it is hidden.
So it’s really up to you what you prefer. But as a user, when I’m going through a website, I prefer to be able to navigate to other pages other sections within the site easily and being able to visibly see that primary navigation button at all times is really helpful. Now there are a few things that I think you definitely need to have in your primary navigation. A lot of websites have gone away from having a home link in their primary navigation. And the reason to do this is that you don’t want your primary navigation to be overwhelming.
You want it to be easy to understand and intuitive to use. And so having five or fewer links in that primary navigation menu is a great way to limit overwhelm and sort of analysis paralysis on the user end. So a lot of website designs have done away with including a home link. And instead, they make the logo of the website, a home link, so that you can click on that logo, on desktop, on mobile, from any page within the site and get back home.
Other common links that you would have in your primary navigation menu include about shop services, visit, contact, blog, podcast, those sorts of links, and you’ll need to decide what makes sense for your small business. Regardless of whatever platform you are using for your website, you should be able to change the name of those navigation links to those pages and change the name of the pages to fit what works for your brand.
Are you ready to build a better homepage for your website? Check out my free on demand webinar, Build a Better Homepage for your rural small business. In this free one hour webinar, I’ll teach you ways to create more engaging content for your homepage, how to improve user experience, and how to start converting your website visitors into paying customers. This webinar is video based, but you can absolutely hit play, put it in the pocket of your overalls and get back to fixing fence. That way my friend Nicole from Wilson Family Farms did to watch the build a better home page webinar and find other resources to help you improve your small business website, visit britelime.co/learn
As you’re deciding how you’re going to name those primary navigation links, and really any links on your site, I want you to think about being clear, concise, and not too cutesy. Using the word about or about us as your link for your about us page makes it really clear to the website user to your visitor, what it is that they are going to find when they click on that link. And that’s super important, we want to be very clear on our websites as to where that user is going to end up when they click on a link.
And when we get too cutesy, and say things like our story, or instead of using the word blog, we use journal, it can be a little bit confusing to the user. And anytime we are causing confusion, we are breaking trust between our small business and that user. And it’s not necessarily a big break. But it’s enough to sort of create a cause for pause. And we don’t want to do that we want to make sure that the experience on our websites is intuitive and easy and not a major load a major brain load for our visitors. In addition to checking your links and making sure that you’re using really clear verbiage on your website to direct your users to different pages and different elements of your site.
You could also look into using a tool like hot jar hot jar is a website tool that you install on your site. And it allows you to see what’s called a heat map of your site to see where users are going when they’re actually on your site. So Google Analytics is a great free resource and tool that you can use to see what pages and what links users are interacting with. But a heat map like the one you can get from hot jar will actually allow you to see where users are stopping with their mouse on your web pages. And that will help you to understand how the users are actually using your page, how far they’re getting on your page when they’re scrolling, and knowing that information can allow you to start making changes that will help you to adjust the dials.
If you want to know more about how to use Hotjar on your website, and they actually have a free version you can try out if you want to know more, go to britelime.co/friends and click on the HotJar logo. The best thing you can do for your navigation on your small business website is to keep it simple. Make it clear, make it easy for your users to use.
That’s it for this episode of the Website Wednesday podcast. Just remember, your website should work as hard as you do in your small business. For more tools, resources and to connect directly with me, visit britelime.co and follow me on Instagram @britelimecreative. I know you can build a better website for your farm, ranch or rural small town business. All you need is a little help. See you next time friends.
Download the Episode Transcript
Good Website Navigation is Like Magical Mountain Cows – Episode 003
October 9, 2022