Website navigation bar tips

Imagine that you are looking for a specific product or service that you market. Now take a look at your website. Does your navigation make it easy to find the relevant item? Is it easy to understand? Is everything in the right order?

Here is a simple navigation bar:

Home
About
Services (or Products)
Blog
Contact

Notice that there are only 5 options.

in general terms, fewer is better.

An upper limit would be 9 items.

Use drop downs to reveal other options.

Ensure that the menu works well on smartphones and other mobile devices.

If the customer hasn’t visited your site before, they will be looking for something. If they can’t find it quickly, they will disappear.

Visitors will spend a few seconds looking for what they’re after. If it is buried or difficult to find, you’re making them work too hard and they will go elsewhere.

My first book was about writing words for websites. During the research for this book, I looked at hundreds of website navigation bars.

By the way, there is a trend away from navigation bars altogether. Here an example: www.marketingrobot.co.uk

Website development

You have 1 second to convince customers to stay on your website

Imagine that you are seeing your website homepage for the very first time.

The website has  1 second to convince you to ‘stick around town’.

Two types of people visit your site: strangers and friends. Strangers include people who are looking to buy and friends include customers and people that know you.

They are busy. They are on a mission. They want an answer to their question or a way to solve their problem and they want it now.

Online, first impressions count.  The customer’s heart will either sing or sink as they look at your site.

How many customers are you losing, by not passing the ‘1 second homepage’ test?

Website development

Writing for the Web tips and ideas

The Marketing Compass logoHow many websites do you visit, during a normal working day? How long do you spend looking at each site? Website visitors go foraging. Information foraging is an art which people learn when they use search engines. Some may say that they are lazy. Darwin would have said: “Why waste additional energy if you don’t have to?”

Clear thinking leads to clear writing

Are you clear about:
►  Your subject matter?
►  Who you are writing for?
►  Your objectives?

In a world where many of us have become content publishers, effective webcopy writing skills are in great demand. Here are some tips and ideas for you, based on on my experience so far…

Become your reader

When you are writing webcopy, focus on the reader. Write as if you were writing for one person. Use the word ‘You’ as much as possible.

Use ‘You’ four times as often as you use ‘I’ and ‘We’.

When people read your webcopy, it will come across as more personal and engaging.

Structure your content

You have one second, so make it count.

Website visitors are busy, just like you are. They have limited time and will only give you a moment or two to convince them to continue reading.

10 years ago, I used to tell my seminar audiences that they had four seconds. Five years ago, it was two seconds. Today, you only have one second to get the readers’ attention.

What goes through their mind, both consciously and sub consciously, within a second?

“Does the design look professional?” “Is this going to be hard work to read?” “What does the headline say? Does it look interesting? Is this a solution to my problem? Is it worth reading the first sentence of the text?” “Can I easily find what I want?” “How do I contact them to find out more?”

Signpost your content

Use clear signposting. What does this page offer the reader? Begin by arresting the reader’s attention. Then keep hold of it. Start by telling them what’s in it for them.

Give reasons to read

It is a good idea to use summary paragraphs. These act as ‘advertisements’ for the next section of text.

Give them the big picture

Give the reader the big picture for what lies ahead.

Think about the home pages that you visit. Some of them are hard to understand, aren’t they?

Extracted from Webcopy Writing by Nigel Temple

Copywriting training for digital marketing communication

Website homepage first impressions

During my internet marketing workshops and talks, I used to say that you had 4 seconds to convince a website visitor to stay on your website. Today, that number has reduced to 1 second.

Internet users typically visit dozens and sometimes hundreds of websites in a single day. If they haven’t visited your site before, they will be looking for something. If they can’t find it quickly, they will simply visit a different website.

Two types of people visit your site: strangers and friends. The latter includes customers, staff, suppliers, investors and other people who know your business. They tend to be more forgiving and will they will take their time to find what they want. On the other hand, strangers are first time visitors who have found you, for example, via search or a hyperlink. They are busy. They are on a mission. They want an answer to their question and they want it right now.

Imagine for a moment that you are one of these people and that you are looking for a product or service that you provide. Now take a look at your website. Can you find this product or service quickly? Is it contained within the main navigation bar? Is it mentioned within your homepage? Is there a search bar towards the top of the screen?

The first second on your site is all about first impressions. Does the page look professional? Is there anything that could put the visitor off? Does the page work properly on a smartphone? Assuming that you pass this test, the visitor will spend a few seconds looking for what they are after. If it is buried or difficult to find, you are making them work too hard and they are very likely to go elsewhere.

How many customers are you losing, by not passing the ‘1 second homepage’ test?

Associated blogs:

How many words should you write for your homepage?

38 ways to promote your website

Where do my website visitors come from?

Website review service

How to write website words

Writing the copy (words) for your website can be quite challenging. You need to be clear on your marketing strategy, market segments, points of differentiation, key messages etc before you start to write.

Here is a website writing checklist

  1. Decide on the purpose of your website
  2. Choose the market segments that you will be communicating with (i.e by looking at your marketing plan)
  3. Decide on the geographical footprint (local, regional, national, multi-country, global?)
  4. Write a list of all of the products / services that you sell
  5. Ask your customers what they would like to see, within your website
  6. Gather testimonial statements together and, ideally, get some new ones
  7. Think carefully about the main navigation bar, i.e. Home  About  Services  Blog  Contact (etc)
  8. Seven navigation bar items is fine; nine is the upper limit
  9. Ensure that you are well supplied with coffee, tea and biscuits
  10. Select the keywords and keyword phrases that you will be using
  11. Write the draft copy for the homepage quickly and set this to one side
  12. Now write the copy for the main ‘nav bar’ pages
  13. Refer back to the homepage copy (it will probably need changing)
  14. Write a batch of blogs for the new website
  15. Take a short holiday
  16. Incorporate calls to action throughout the webcopy
  17. Edit the words
  18. Edit them again
  19. Get someone else to read through it all
  20. Proof-read the webcopy
  21. Upload it to your website
  22. Use anchor text links to join everything up
  23. Lie down in a darkened room: you deserve it
  24. Study your website stats to see what people are actually reading
  25. Use this information + customer feedback to improve your webcopy
  26. Take a much longer holiday than you did at step 15

Alternatively…

Are you launching a new website or looking to revitalise your current site? I offer a website writing service with a difference. It combines over three decades of copywriting experience with my marketing consultancy knowledge (3000+ clients). If you would like to spend a day or two writing your website words with me, by all means get in touch. By the way, I never take holidays.

38 ways to promote your website

Here is a website promotion checklist, taken from 269 Ways to Promote Your Business:

App – create your own
Autoresponder messages
Banner ads paid for
Banner ads reciprocal
Blogging within your website
Blogging within other websites
Bumper stickers
Call back button
Corporate clothing
e-books, self-published
e-shots
Email nudges
Email signatures
Explainer video
Facebook adverts
Facebook for business
Google AdWords
GooglePlus
Infographics
Instagram
LinkedIn adverts
LinkedIn networking
LinkedIn group – launch your own
Marketing automation
Micro websites
Mobile phone ads (Mobile marketing)
Mouse mats
Multimedia Messaging Service MMS smartphone images / videos
Newsletter via email
Pinterest
Podcasting
QR Codes
Slidedecks – via slideshare.com
Twitter adverts
Twitter
Webinars
YouTube product or service demonstration
YouTube video blog

Written by digital marketing consultant, trainer and author Nigel Temple.

Here is Nigel’s Amazon author page:  https://www.amazon.com/author/nigeltemple

269 ways to promote your business by Nigel Temple Ver2

WordPress review

wordpress logoWordPress started life as a blogging tool and was released in 2003 by its creators, Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little. The software is free to use and it has developed into a popular Content Management System (CMS), which allows you to edit your own website. Some 23% of the world’s websites currently use the WordPress CMS. You login to it via a website browser, which means that you can edit your site from a desktop computer, tablet or a smartphone. WordPress has a community of 100s of volunteers who are continually improving it.

There are thousands of themes available (the theme governs the look and feel of the site). If you are tired of your website design, you can choose a new theme. At the time of writing, parallax themes are becoming popular.

Recent themes are responsive, which means that they work well with tablets and smartphones.

There are over 30,000 plugins available which provide additional functionality, i.e help with SEO, or the creation of a client portal.

The WordPress software is free and can be downloaded here: https://wordpress.org

You can instantly create a blog here: https://wordpress.com

Via the above link, you can also create your own site, however, there are some limitations with this approach, i.e. you can’t install your own plugins.

Alternatively, you can choose a website hosting service which offers ‘one click WordPress installation’.  A word of advice: choose one where you can pick up the phone and talk to somebody (as opposed to handling questions via email).

You can learn to build your WordPress website yourself, if you are technically inclined. Or can you go on a training course where you typically build your own site in a day. Most businesses usually use a third party website development firm which specialises in WordPress (ask me if you would like a recommendation).

WordPress is SEO friendly. ‘Permalinks’ are created automatically when you write a new blog post or web page. I like the way in which the software automatically creates the page Title tag for me and also the way in which I can toggle between Visual and Text view (the latter gives me access to the html).

With regards to blogging, you should categorise your blog posts (which is easy in WordPress). You can add Tags to your posts and create a Tag cloud if you wish.

I have been using WordPress for five years. I find it easy and intuitive to use and I write my blogs directly in the software. I like the way that I can upload and manipulate images, easily embed videos and create new pages whenever I want to.

I hope that you have found this WordPress review to be helpful. If you need help with your website, you can join The Marketing Compasssend me an email or call me on 01628 773128.