Why is it that some websites gain great results and others do not? It’s the same reason why many feature-rich software programs fail. They are not easy to use the first time around. Some of these shortcuts can help make your website visitor friendly.
These basic navigation principals may seem obvious, however it is surprising how often most sites disregard them. Let’s review the movie “The PASSION of the Christ ” for our example.
Shortcut #1 Place Your Highlights on the Home Page
Most members will view the church website often but normally view it to see what’s new, so it’s important to display “hot topics” on the home page. We recommend not to waste home page real estate by sharing the entirety of the event on the index page, it should only serve as a lead-in that hyperlinks to a detail page about the event.
Shortcut #2 Consistent menu and Cookie Crumbs
Maintaining good navigation as the visitor moves from page to page is vital, the navigation bar whether located top, left or right should be remain consistent on every page so regardless of how far a visitor travels into the site they will never be lost. Another useful navigation tool are “cookie crumbs” all enable 1st time visitors to find their way around your site easily.
Shortcut #3 Two Click limit
A visitor should never have to search for a highlight item, it should be easily found on the home page and the corresponding detail page should not be more than two clicks away from the lead-in link (one preferred). We additionally advise to bring attention to the highlighted item with a picture and bold text.
Shortcut #4 Direct Links
The PASSION of the Christ website offered excellent communication tools that could be utilized through hyperlinks (creating a link to another webpage) one was a invitation tool called e-cards but most sites linking to this tool lost it’s effectiveness because they sent their visitors to unfamiliar website that required a visitor to navigate through several links before locating the e-card. When creating a hyperlink to another website it should link directly to the related page without any further navigation requirements.
The PASSION of the Christ website only shares its address on the home page address bar, on all other pages the address bar is not viewable. Without the knowledge of Shortcut #5 most sites can only send their visitors to The PASSION of the Christ home page requiring the visitor to complete the following navigation before sending an e-card HOME PAGE > ENTER SITE > SPREAD THE WORD > E-CARDS > CLICK ON IMAGE > SEND PHOTO AS ECARD > E-CARD (Desired direct link)
Shortcut #5 Locating addresses to pages without an address bar
When a page without an address bar is encountered, the address is still accessible by following this simple process. Mouse-over the webpage > right-click the mouse > click Properties and the pages address will display. The address can be highlighted and copied to create a Direct link to the page.
Shortcut #6 Most ourside Links Should Link to A Blank Page
When creating a hyperlink to a page outside your website it is normally best to set it up as a _blank page (opens a new browser for the link) so the visitor doesn’t loose your website.
Shortcut #7 Universal File Format
It’s great to make available a downloadable Word, Excel, PowerPoint or other type file related to an article but not all users have the required software to use them. For this reason it’s recommended to convert the files to a universal format of PDF. Converting your files is as easy as printing a page with the Acrobat PDF Writer software and Adobe provides Acrobat Reader software FREE making it the most universal format. It’s advisable to provide a link to the free download of the Acrobat Reader Software anytime a PDF file is offered.
Using all 7 Shortcuts enable visitors to locate and act upon the information with minimum click requirements, good navigation and great results. Implement these strategies to successfully promote your next Highlight message.