While high quality content is important both for search rankings and for user experience, if your users can’t find your content easily, they are likely to get frustrated and leave your site. This would lead to higher bounce rates and, eventually, lower search rankings. Therefore, you should make sure that your website is designed to help your users find what they are looking for.
Finding Your Website
So you have high-quality content you want users to see…but how do you get them to visit your website in the first place?
SEO and Search Rankings
Increasing your search rankings will naturally guide users to your website. Having a good SEO strategy can help improve your rankings for specific keywords. When users search for those words and phrases, the higher your site appears in their search, the more likely they are to visit your site.
Social Media Sharing
can be an excellent tool for getting your content out there. Maintaining a social media presence and engaging with users there can increase awareness of your content and can drive users to visit your website. You can share new content as well as resharing evergreen content to keep your social media presence active.
Navigating Your Website
Now that users have arrived on your website, how do you help them stay on your site and find more content?
The navigation menu at the top of the page is perhaps the most important element in helping users find what they’re looking for. It’s their guidemap to your site. Any page on your site that you want users to be readily able to find needs to be linked to the navigation menu. The menu also needs to be organized into categories that will make sense to your users. This can make your site clearer and easier to explore for users. Also make sure that your logo is a home button that will return users to your home page.
Internal links are important tools that can help you guide users to other content on your website that is relevant to what they’re already reading. These links can also be useful for SEO, since both the link and the anchor text are visible to search engines. Don’t overload your page with links, however – too many and users will be overwhelmed and ignore the links. Also, Google has a limit of how many links it will crawl, so it’s best to keep the number of links to only what’s truly relevant and to what is a logical next step for the reader. If you include external links, make sure that they open in either a new tab or a new window – you don’t want to navigate users away from your own page.
Another useful tool that can help users navigate your site is a search bar. There are some disadvantages to having a search bar. For smaller websites, it can look cluttered on your website. If users don’t use the correct search term, don’t include a space, or have a typo in their search, which then returns no results, they may be led to believe that your site doesn’t contain the content they were looking for rather than improving their own search.
However, especially on larger sites, a search bar can help users navigate directly to the content they’re looking for instead of having to look through a large navigation menu. Some search bar widgets actually use Google, which may result in more accurate results for users. Google’s algorithm may be better able to search within your site and to handle any mistakes users made in their search terms.