There is nothing more frustrating for customers than visiting a website and being unable to find what they are looking for. While some users may persist for a short time, the majority of users will ultimately leave a website if they cannot locate what they need.

When designing a website, either in-house or through a consultant, careful thought should be given to content. This will help pinpoint the essential components of the navigation menu.

Keep your customers in mind and think about how they will want to use your site. Create the content they want to see and then decide how to link them to it.

Consider the following to create a helpful navigation menu:

1. Keep Navigation Uncomplicated

When designing a navigation bar, avoid trying to get fancy. Being creative is a plus, but fonts should be readable, layouts should be logical and link names should be straightforward. Offer no more than seven options per navigation bar, because too many options will cut into readability and may lead to confusion. Also, keep page names as clear and as short as possible.

2. Create Navigation Based on Content

Website content should be developed first, so that it can be easily organized and structured before embarking on the design process. Always remember the three-click-rule, which says that most users will not click on more than three links to get to the information they want. So, every page on your website should be reachable within three clicks.

3. Choose Your Menu Location and Type Properly

The most common navigation locations are as follows:

' Top Menus: The menu bar is usually located directly below the page header graphic containing the site logo. These menu items may be single links, drop down menus, or expanding menus.

' Left Side Navigation: These are typically implemented as either a column or text area on the left top portion of the webpage. Like the top menu, each item can be a single link or an expanding menu.

' Right Side Navigation: Right side navigation is rarely used, but when it is, it is implemented as a column or text area on the top right side of the webpage.

' Bottom Menus: Bottom menus typically appear as either a menu bar or footer. Menu bars use either graphics or text links while footers almost exclusively use text links.

A good navigation system can increase the numbers of pages viewed by each visitor. In turn, this can increase signups, customers, sales, members and, of course, your bottom line.

Copyright 2012 dzine it, Inc. web design company All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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When creating a landing page for a website, it is important to make sure that it is visually appealing, easy to navigate, and free of errors.

The landing page of your website fulfils many functions. It's like the front door to your website.

A website's landing page should do the following:

' provide users a snapshot of the company's product or service
' feature a visual design that conveys professionalism and trustworthiness
' provide links that support the structure and content of the overall site
' offer content that reflects attention to detail and dedication

Because a landing page needs to convey so much, it is important to get it right. So, there are five rules to consider when designing a landing page.

1. The inclusion of media. A landing page should always include a picture or video, because a visual representation of your product or service helps the user to see what you have to offer. It also helps to break up text which, when to dense, can scare a user off. Of course, the picture or video should be relevant to the website and the business that it represents.

2. Avoid Clutter. Make sure that the topic of the landing page is focused, keeping links to a minimum in the body text of the main content area. Use designs to frame your content and to fill in blank spaces, but keep them simple and unobtrusive.

3. Use perfect grammar and spelling. Nothing will turn users away more than spelling errors or poorly constructed sentences. Users often attribute spelling and grammar errors to the author's lack of skill, expertise and authority.

4. Build effective link structures. Make sure that users recognize where the links on your page are located, what they link to, and how they relate to the links around them. Effective linking is the cornerstone of good navigation, particularly when it coems to landing pages.

5. Use colors wisely. Colors have an effect on users.

' Blue conveys trust and reliability.
' Red is exciting, but can also be a warning to stop.
' Black can be evil, but also modern, or stylish.
' Yellows and oranges are fiery, flashy, and bold.
' Green is natural and calm.

If you take your time and pay attention to all these simple rules, you will go a long way to creating a landing page that is professional, inviting and effective.

Copyright 2012 dzine it, Inc. web design company All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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As a small business website owner, you recognize that the purpose of your website is to generate leads. Even with a stellar SEO campaign, a beautiful website design and low bounce rate, your online presence will not be successful without a well-planned contact strategy bolstered by one-on-one conversations with potential customers.

You can't leave it up to your visitors to provide you with information. Most people don't want to give their phone numbers or email addresses to you because of the fear of spam.

People don't want to wait for a return phone call to answer their questions. Instead, they want to get the answers they need with as little effort as possible.

Consider the following tips to make your business more approachable and gain the trust of potential customers:

1. Create a flow for your visitors. When it comes to website design, it is all about usability.

Follow proven design strategies to ensure that your users can move through your site as easily as possible. For example, the phrase 'contact us' may sound generic and boring, but it works. Remember, visitors are not reading your website, they are scanning it and they have been trained to instantly recognize those two words.

Place your contact information at the top, right corner of the page, where it's expected.

2. Make things easy for your visitors. This can be done by keeping contact forms simple and giving visitors a clear call to action.

Once a user has overcome the fear of sharing personal contact information, it is your job is to remove as many obstacles as possible.

3. Consider an instant chat feature for your website. Instant chat has been around for a while, but is only beginning to become more widely used.

The lowest website threshold is instant chat. It requires the user to supply very little personal information and allows you to provide quick and personal customer service. Everyone wins.

Copyright 2011 dzine it, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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