Daily Prompt, reviews, thoughts, writing

Blogging Don’ts: Bad Navigation

Bad Navigation

Bad Navigation

What annoys me about your blog number eight:

Bad Navigation.

Original post here

Disclaimer: Again, these are only my thoughts and opinions based on my twenty years of web design. Your thoughts and opinions are welcome even if they oppose mine and especially if they are well thought out and not just abusive.

Would you take a hike through a forest full of trees, bushes, caves and caverns without a map?

Of course not, (but I got the daily prompt word hike in to my post).

So why do people expect their web site/blog viewers to do the same?

Bad Navigation

Bad Navigation

Navigation is one of the most important aspects of your blog. Whether it’s the navigation menu at the top, optional menus in the side bars or even just the breadcrumbs that lead the viewer to previous or related posts without such navigation your viewers will quickly lose interest.

Top Menus:

It’s not hard to understand the importance of a good top menu, most blog themes have one but not everyone bothers to update theirs. It does take a little bit of effort and a ‘learn as you go’ attitude to play with the WordPress menu system but it’s one of the most important. As a web designer who is used to making his own menus I think the WordPress menu system is one of the worst automated menu designers ever made but unfortunately for most people it’s what they are stuck with

Wordpress Main Menu

WordPress Main Menu

Spend a little time looking at your pages, looking at your posts and looking at your categories. Decide what can be grouped together, what shouldn’t and the order you want them displayed then make your menu accordingly. A few minutes spent planning can not only make the design easier but it can add to the viewer experience, and a happy viewer is more likely to stay on your site than an unhappy viewer. Your menu doesn’t have to be fancy, functionality always out ranks fancy.

Secondary menus and Breadcrumbs:

If secondary menus serve a purpose to your site there is no reason not to have them, but on too many sites the secondary menu is a clone, in part or in full, of the main menu. Does your site need two menus with similar or the same content? Probably not.

Side Menu

Side Menu

Breadcrumbs, the links that appear at the bottom of posts linking to related material etc, are also an important part of navigation. Breadcrumbs can be used for all many of things, some themes utilise them quiet well, others don’t. It may take some work but if you find your breadcrumb links not being as useful as they could be (I.e. linking to material that’s not related etc) get rid of them. If they can’t be turned off in the theme options research the theme website and see if they can be removed with something like CSS editing.

No matter what menu systems your site use, no matter how they are designed and no matter how many links you have, the single most important thing I can say about menus is. KEEP THEM UPDATED.

Actually there is one other important thing to say about menus. Make sure your menu is responsive and resizes on smaller screens. As discussed in an earlier post most WordPress themes do this but it takes so little too make sure that yours does there is no reason not to.

2 Comments

  1. I’m getting smarter with each post. Didn’t know those things were called breadcrumbs, nor that they could be removed. So much to learn.

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