In every website building process, the creation of the website menu stays one of the most crucial aspects. This is because this part of the webpage drives user experience and makes navigation easier. And the best website menu in 2022 does more than that. It also increases bounce rates and ranks your SEO higher in search engines.
The huge responsibility of creating an effective website menu then lies on webmasters and developers. And with more websites opened and running every day, the competition gets tougher and the stakes higher.
But it’s not as difficult as it sounds. With the right combination of tricks and navigation expertise, you’ll find yourself a master at website menus in no time!
In this blog, we’ll be discussing everything there is to know about website menus in 2022. And to help you out, we’ve broken everything down into comprehensive sections, including:
- Website Menu: The Fundamentals?
- Keeping It Different with the Various Types of Website Menus?
- The Perfect Formula for a Responsive Website Menu?
- Web Menu Hacks for the Webmaster Novice?
- Ready for Publication?
Ready to kickstart your website menu and navigation as soon as possible? Read on now!
Website Menu: The Fundamentals
If you have no idea what a website menu is, that’s not a problem! We’ll make it easy for you.
Every web page has a website menu, and this feature contains the navigation buttons that take users to different pages of the website. It may either show up vertically or horizontally. Sometimes, it opens into a pop-up window when the right button is clicked. Or stays in place at the very top of your layout even as you scroll down a certain page.
Just like a restaurant menu, your website menu provides an insight into the kind of business you have and what you can offer your users. If users couldn’t figure out what they can obtain from your web pages, they leave. And you don’t want that to happen.
Additionally, you want search engines to draw you up to the top of results, so traffic and conversions remain high. Then, your website is more likely to end up on many individuals’ screens and garner attention from potential customers. To make it short, the type of navigation you host can change the future of your business.
Interesting, isn’t it? But we’re telling you: we are only getting started.
Keeping It Different with the Various Types of Website Menus
Over the years, webmasters have accumulated various types of website menus that work on many web platforms. And though many websites have gone unconventional with their menu bars, these menu types are still the preferred choices by many web experts worldwide.
To make things uncomplicated for site owners who need a navigation boost, here are the most used website menus:
Classic Never Runs Out of Style
The classic menu is the most widespread website menu type typically seen in the header area of a webpage. Set horizontally, it can easily feature many links and tabs, making it one of our top choices for web navigation menus.
When Is It Preferable?
For any website, really! It’s called a classic for a reason. Site owners who prefer an easily accessible navigation menu can find an ideal partner in a classic menu type.
The Only Hamburger You Don’t Eat
The hamburger menu is another widely spread web menu type that utilizes an icon to open another window or sidebar for the full navigation set-up. It’s a handy icon that keeps link lists organized in one “drawer” for user convenience.
When Is It Preferable?
For sites with secondary navigation links or those that aren’t considered the main pages/sections of the webpage. Since hamburger menus are known for their low discoverability, it makes sense to keep them an organization option for less important tabs.
If in Doubt, Keep It on the Sidebar
Another web menu type you may have seen on famous web pages like Wikipedia is the sidebar menu. This menu shows a side column full of navigation links set vertically, as opposed to the classic menu bar.
When Is It Preferable?
For heavy-content websites. Site owners who would also like a twist to the standard horizontal bar may also like the vertical view of the sidebar menu.
Don’t Drop Out of Rankings with a Dropdown
A dropdown menu is one of the go-to web menu options that a lot of webmasters employ. It offers options within a certain link, usually opening another menu with which it is included.
When Is It Preferable?
For websites with a variety of services and products. Dropdowns can easily organize options for service or product collections, making it convenient for users to find what they’re looking for.
Things Are About to Get Sticky
Last but not least is the sticky menu, which is a menu option that uses the classic menu with an added quirk: it is fixed! It remains in the same position, whether in the header or to the sides, even when users scroll down the page.
When Is It Preferable?
For long-scrolling home pages or web layouts. If you have a CTA button placed at your navigation bar, a sticky menu is also ideal.
Now that you’re familiar with all the kinds of navigation bars, it’s only a matter of time before you choose one or a combination of more among these. But before narrowing down your options, let’s first take a look at what your website menu should contain.
The Perfect Formula for a Responsive Website Menu
Deciding on a menu option that works on the overall look your website is going for is easy enough. Deciding what to put and how to put them can be tricky. Here’s where we come in.
Your web navigation tools, most especially your menu, should be optimized for search rankings and analytics. And this should go well perfectly with the brand you portray in the industry. An unresponsive or ineffective navigation bar can easily be buried by large, well-known enterprises in the same business niche. So, you must ensure your web menu stays relevant to industry trends and interesting enough to stand out from your competitors.
Here are the following elements your web menu must contain:
Concise But Not Basic
Your choice of words in your website menu plays a crucial role in how your users interact with your website. Typically, if users feel bogged down by too much information by looking at your website menu, that’s already a bad sign. The same goes for one-worded label choices that users may not understand without clicking on the links.
A healthy balance is to go for widely-used labels for the main pages, like the Contact Us and About Us page. At the same time, you do not want to be generic with some of your other supplementary pages. Names like “Products” can sound basic and overly saturated; instead, use your specific product types or collections as labels. This way, users get hints of what you can offer them, and you eliminate the risk of less traffic and conversion rates.
To Icons or Not to Icons
A general rule of thumb for website menu icons is to use them only for social media links you want your users to check out. Your website menu labels should be simplified enough not to need icons to fit all your links. Also, icons can make way for misinterpretation and confusion, and this doesn’t go well for your target audience.
This isn’t the same for websites using the hamburger navigation option, though. You need an easily noticeable icon or symbol where users can click to find your navigation. And the exit button should have the same noticeable feature, too.
Match Colors and Typography
This is a no-brainer, but as part of your web design, your menu must correlate with your color scheme and typography. Avoid fonts/colors that dull your navigation bar or excessively brighten it that all other contents become background information. Users need to know where your destination labels are located. But they shouldn’t be too distracted by it, lest they don’t pay attention to other more important content.
Also, if you’re using a sticky navigation menu, pay attention to the pictures you use. Chances are, they may blend in with the color you use for your website menu. This defeats its purpose of remaining visible throughout the layout, so you might want to watch out for that.
Structure Is Still a Must
A website menu that’s all over the place can be a turn-off. To ensure that you stay organized, create a sitemap for all your web pages. Then, sort them according to importance and purpose. Generally, company information or history web pages come second to home pages, and Contact Us pages come last. If you have separate pages for featured products, make sure to prioritize their links over your other product pages.
Mobile-Friendliness and ADA Accessibility
With most websites going mobile, going mobile-friendly shouldn’t be an option anymore. Search engines resorting to mobile-first indexing also indicates the importance of maneuvering a mobile-friendly website. But make it so that the user experience for anyone using any device doesn’t fluctuate.
This goes the same for ADA Accessibility. You don’t want your visually-impaired users to have difficulty navigating your website. This ensures increased engagement rates for a wide variety of audiences and promotes non-tolerance for discrimination.
Now that you’ve learned about the vital elements of a website menu, do you feel ready to start drafting your website menu? For an additional boost to your expertise, we’ve also compiled a few tips and tricks that can aid you during the development process. It doesn’t hurt to widen your knowledge, right?
Web Menu Hacks for the Webmaster Novice
Utilize your web menu functionality to the maximum with the following hacks:
Use Your Footer Area for Website Menus
One of the most underrated parts of a web page is the footer area. To improve user navigation, take advantage of your footer to insert web menu links. This is highly encouraged for websites that don’t employ the sticky navigation menu option.
Footer areas can be your user’s go-to platform when they can’t find what they are looking for in your website menu. So, to increase user satisfaction, have your footer contain page links or, if you want, a single link to your sitemap.
Separate Home Labels and Logo Links
While other experts may disagree on this, having a separate home label and logo link is beneficial to your users. But this depends on the layout you have chosen for your web pages. If your logo is especially distinct to imply that it directs to the home page, this rule may not apply. But for most websites, having a separate explicit label for the home page is the best way to go.
Our suggestion? Have both! Have a Home label and a logo that’s both linkable to your home page to avoid confusion.
Information-Based vs Action-Based Labels
Though this can be optional, some websites use action-based labels for their website menu. This is a direct contrast to information-based labels that most businesses use for their web pages and can be a fresh take on classic tools.
If you aren’t sure what your labels should be based on, study your business nature and target audience. If your website entices users to take action, like “donate” or “apply”, action-based labels can come in handy.
Emphasize Hover Effects or Clickable Labels
Hover states or effects are key features added to a button when the cursor is directly placed on it. This may come in the form of circles, underlines, or a font style or color change. We recommend incorporating hover states for your website menu to keep it interesting and striking.
Having these effects can also help users differentiate between what content is clickable and what’s not. For mobile usage, apply the hover effect by making links different from regular content. This is to say that they should act like hover effects without the presence of a cursor.
Ready for Publication?
We’ve established the importance of website menus today and how they can upgrade your website. Moreover, we’ve touched on the various menu types available for your discretion. And lastly, we shared a few tips and tricks we think may assist you in your website menu building process.
Now, we ask: are you set for your web menu creation and development? We hope you are! After all, you never know until you act on it. Good luck, then!
If you have problems with your website building process, reach out to us now! Proweaver remains one of the most trusted web development companies of the present generation. You can get in touch with us through the following numbers: