Optimizing Website Navigation Labels
any companies pour a lot of money into designing a catchy website only to overlook the basics. Take navigation labels, for instance. They’re one of the most important elements of a website; after all, it’s crucial your patients find the information they are looking for quickly and easily. But too many companies rely on the same generic navigation labels on their websites, a practice that may cost them business.
What’s in a Label?
The problem with using the same generic labels that everybody else uses? There is no differentiation between companies, and those labels eventually lose their meaning. Look at virtually any B2B company’s website and you’re sure to see the same old tried-and-true but generic labels: Products, Solutions, Services, and Resources. Let’s face it, they all sound pretty much interchangeable, and that’s a problem for consumers who really don’t understand what each one means. What you consider a product somebody else might view as a solution, a service, or a resource. If your target audience has to think about which button to click for too long, they may grow impatient and move on to another site. And that may very well be a competitor.
This is a very real problem, according to a recent study by Tank Design, a branding, design, and marketing agency with locations on both coasts. The study found that clients were reluctant to move beyond these firmly entrenched labels thanks in large part to an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. But a survey of 217 respondents found no consensus when asked to provide their best guess about where specific content would be located. Regardless of gender, age, geography, income, education, and other demographic factors, the result was “total digital chaos” with at least five percent of respondents choosing every different label in each question.
In order to combat this problem, it’s important to make your navigation labels as clear and specific as possible. After all, the average consumer spends less than 60 seconds on a website; that’s not a lot of time when looking for information hidden behind generic labels. Another advantage to using very specific labels: search engine optimization. Because consumers are not searching for “products” or “services,” creating specific navigation labels more relevant to actual searches will land you a higher Google ranking. Opt for labels that are similar in length and style and unambiguous. Looking for inspiration? Check out British Swimming’s website for a great example on how to get it right. Labels are clear and concise, and there is no doubt where each click of the button will take you.