psychology edition: website navigation

Believe it or not, the navigation on your website is really important.

Do you think someone is more likely to make a purchase when they have 10 offers to choose from or when they have 1 or 2 to choose from? Most people instinctively think think the answer to that question is 10 offers. More offers must mean more customization or differences between the individual offers. And since different people prefer different things, there’s a person out there willing to buy each offer, right?

But what actually happens when someone is presented with a lot of offers?

The paradox of choice

Let’s talk about the paradox of choice. What it is, what it means, and how you can apply it to your website navigation to increase sales.

the study

There’s a famous jam study where 754 shoppers were split into two groups and were observed purchasing jam from a grocery store. Group one was given 24 varieties to choose from and group two was given 6 varieties to choose from.

Group one, while showing more interest in the product, rarely made a purchase. Group two, the group that was given 6 varieties, converted at almost 900% more than group one. Why? Because group one was overwhelmed with choices. There were too many jams to choose from so instead of picking one, many shoppers walked away empty handed.

what is the Paradox of Choice

This is an example of the Paradox of Choice.

When you’re presented with too many choices, your brain can’t easily make a decision. And instead of stressing out or getting overwhelmed, your brain protects you by not making a decision at all. You most likely don’t realize it all. You may even think that you didn’t make a choice because you didn’t like any of the options. But if there were less options, statistics show you would be more likely to make a decision.

So while a lot of people believe the more choices the better (because one size doesn’t really fit all), that’s not actually true.

your website navigation

What’s the one thing everyone is guaranteed to see when they land on your website?

Your website navigation.

No matter what page someone lands on, the homepage, your about page, a blog post… the navigation is there. (The only case this wouldn’t be true is if it’s a sales page where the website navigation is intentionally hidden. Which is a good thing to do!)

And since 10 out of 10 times your website visitors will see your website navigation, it’s critical your navigation isn’t turning people away.

applying the paradox of choice to your website navigation

Here are a few tips for applying the paradox of choice to your website navigation:

Don’t Include “Home” in Your Navigation

Did you know that your logo links to your homepage on almost every single website platform? WordPress, Squarespace, WIX… the logo links to your homepage and it’s pretty well known that this is the case.

Since your logo should always be in your navigation (building that brand recognition), why be redundant by including “Home” in your navigation, too? That is taking up valuable space and it’s being redundant.

Plus, you want people to make a decision that will further them down the sales funnel – to either go to your sales page, read your blog, or contact you and none of things are the homepage.

So do not, I repeat, DO NOT include a link to your homepage in your website navigation!

Limit the Links in Your Navigation

Be sure to limit the number of links you have in your website navigation. Your top navigation should be reserved for links that drive people deeper into your sales funnel.

About page? Sure thing! The more someone can get to know, like, and trust you, the more likely they are to purchase from you.

Sales pages? ABSOLUTELY! These are your money makers! If you have 3 or 4 different sales pages, figure out how you can consolidate them into dropdown menus so that your main navigation remains clean, clear, and easy to understand from an outsiders perspective.

So maybe you have 2 one-on-one services and 3 online courses. You could include “1:1 Programs” and “Online Courses” in the navigation. “1:1 Programs” would be a dropdown with links to your 2 one-on-one services and “Online Courses” would be a dropdown with links to your 3 courses. Clean, clear, and easy to understand!

Blog? Yes! Your blog is basically a free resource that shows your knowledge! People want to know that you know your stuff before they invest in your services or courses. So including “Blog” in your navigation is a must.

Portfolio, Facebook groups, contact page… these are optional. If your Facebook group is your big money making platform – something that seems to be really high-converting for you, then absolutely include it in your website navigation. But know how to tell the difference between what is high-converting and what isn’t.

I have a lot of people ask me for links to my portfolio when there’s a link right in my navigation. This goes to show that PORTFOLIO just doesn’t stand out enough in the navigation for it to be useful there. I’ve taken that information and chosen not to include “Portfolio” in my main navigation anymore.

What’s a good rule of thumb? Try not to include anymore than 6 navigation links in your main navigation. 5 is ideal though!

When in Doubt, Add it to the Footer

So what do you do with those other pages?

Link to them from other pages where it makes sense. And always include them in the footer navigation. If someone chooses to scroll all the way down your page and still hasn’t clicked a button, make it really easy for them to select another page by having a footer navigation that includes all of your website pages.

This is the perfect place to link to your portfolio, Facebook group, contact page, etc. Anything that isn’t high-converting but is still important should always be in the footer.


The Paradox of Choice doesn’t only apply to your website navigation. In my FREE guide, I chat about another way you can apply the Paradox of Choice to your website and services. Plus, I share two other consumer psychology studies and teach you simple ways to apply them to your website.

Download the FREE guide here and start generating more money from your website!

If you can’t get enough of the subtle changes you can make to your website, sign up for my online course Web Design Classifieds – a course for web designers who want to build high-end websites and charge more for their services. We dive into the psychology behind color, copy, and design so that every website you design is a high-converting website!

Sign up here!


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Kristen Leigh | WordPress Web Design Studio | March 2019 Review Monthly Review of My Web Design Studio | Website Tips | How to Set Up Your Website Navigation for Ultimate Conversion
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