Stop selling yourself short, optimize your navigation menu the right way!
Brian Massey, the Conversion Scientist, has been experimenting with optimizing the main navigation of websites and has found out that most people are doing it wrong. Sites that let the information architecture drive the main nav are selling themselves short. In this episode of The Pe:p Show, I ask Brian why and how menu navigation affects your entire site and what you can do to improve your navbar’s conversion rate.
Peep: Hey, I'm here with Brian Massey the conversion scientist and he's been cooking up something really interesting recently. He's been experimenting with optimizing the main navigation of the website. So how does that work? Brian: So the thing we're discovering is that the main navigation has more task than just getting the person the right side, right part of the site. It turns out to be really important for communicating what sites about what we put in there with the bucket of value proposition messaging. So for instance if you have an ecommerce site the words that you pick, and the order that you put them in for that top navigation really can have a significant effect on all visitors. Let me give you an example we have a client that is, runs an ecommerce site, sells construction gear, work gloves, safety goggles, those
sorts of things. Boots to the people working construction, working in manufacturing, those which things. They have like what we would call a functional main navigation. So it was like product category rather than listing the products. So we tested switching that actually listing the products and what we tried a number of things. When we talked about gloves, safety wear, and specifically talk about the categories of products instead of a functional navigation, we found that there were no more people interacting with the navigation than before
the control, but we saw a thirteen percent increase in site-wide conversion rate. Peep: Just be more aware of what's in... Brian: That's right. Because our hypothesis is that we're doing a better job of communicating what the size about. That is certainly one of the first elements that anybody is going to look at when they come to a page for the first time and that happens to also be the first question they have am I in the right place to solve the problem to get the products that I wanted this case. Peep: So let's say I have a site I have something in the menu how would they figure out how to A: improve the wording and how do I figure out then the right order for the menu items? Brian: So order is pretty straightforward we'll often use heat map reports to see if people are more interested in a item that's more to the right. We read left to right top to bottom in the west and so we expect the left most items to have the most heat because they get the most attention. So we see one that has a lot of attention on it a lot of clicks on it further down then we develop hypothesis that that should be moved more to the left now in terms of picking the right words, I think what we did at Galeton was the first idea of changing from a functional to a product oriented or a category oriented
series of words for the for the navigation. I would also look at integrating offers into their so for an ecommerce site, having a clearance item there. For a blog for instance you could have sign
up for free updates as one of your menu nav items. If you have, one of our clients has a unique name your own price business model. So we're testing adding name your own price has one of the main navigation items rather than putting it as a a banner at the top or banner below the headline. So that that test is yet to run so we'll see how that goes but swapping things out like that and picking the right things because we also see a lot of inconclusive test and that so I
would plan to run a series if you've got the traffic to find that right combination of words. Peep: What are the top mistakes you see people making when it comes to navigation? Brian: Sites where they absolutely let the information architecture drive what's in the main nav are selling themselves Peep: For example? Short for all the reasons I just talked about. Well so we have a client that does lead generation and so they have products solutions apps and that's the way that the the
people who develop the website organized the content. So they start with this very logical like if I'm going to click down and go through a tree, it's the right way to do it. Most people don't do that. Most people are looking for something very specific and if they don't find it then they'll either abandon if you're lucky they'll check search, site search so be
willing to let your navigation break free of the logical construction of the website and you'll be able to do more of these tests where you're using navigation communicate value.
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